January 06, 2004:
Lone Pine's town sign used to say "Little Town, Lots of Charms." Men's Health magazine called it one of the fifty Healthiest Towns last year. Then Lone Pine was one of the one hundred "2003 Tourist Destinations" of the American Bus Association.
Now Lone Pine has earned the title of one of the "West's 100 Most Western Towns." The cowboy bars, western films, ranches and sauntering cowboys have given the town an official new definition. Undoubtedly, the Lone Pine Film Festival has helped. Of course, Lone Pine has always worn its western traditions proudly. We didn't need a magazine to tell us that.
The magazine, True West, made the selection to include Lone Pine in its April 2004 Travel issue. We will have to wait to see what they have to say about the town.
This is not the first time the magazine which says it is "celebrating the American west," has awarded Lone Pine as part of a "best" before. In the December 2003 50th Anniversary Issue, Best of the West section, the magazine editors chose as the best "Scenic Road Trip Under 500 Miles" Yosemite National Park to Lone Pine, California. Anyone who has driven that trip would probably agree.
The editors wrote, "The drive from Yosemite Village alongside the Merced River will have you craning your neck as you attempt to take in the towering granite walls that define Yosemite Valley." The story continues, "Once on U.S. 395, heading south toward Lone Pine, you'll think you're in Switzerland as you gaze at the Sierra Nevada Mountains rugged eastern escarpment."
The magazine has already explained how they choose their most western towns. "We started with the town whose links to western history are so strong, they could pave over Boot Hill and still belong on the list. None have, of course, because they honor and respect their heritage. Many capitalize on their history for the benefit of new generations…. When we talk Western towns, we mean places that are proud of the title."