It may seem an odd combination, but the biggest influences on the community of Arco come from traditional farming and ranching, association with the INL
(Idaho National Laboratory) and its nuclear programs, and the mountains and lava lands that attract so many visitors. With such different influences at work, it has always been difficult to put a finger on the identity of this town of less than 1,000 people.
Farming and ranching have always been the cornerstones of the Arco economy and culture, and there is a tradition of meeting all challenges here.
Arco is not a town where you hear its name and automatically associate the place with a particular trait or feature. Arco is more a collage of different attributes. It's a true farm town with a tradition of raising spuds, a few sporadic acres of wheat and barley, and a lot of alfalfa. Closely associated, ranching is also prevalent with cattle and a few remnant sheep grazing surrounding lands. Arco also has close ties to the nuclear industry, twenty-something miles away at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
. Established in 1949, INL is a source of jobs for the area.
As the first city in the world to be powered by Atomic energy and the gateway to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
, it depends on tourism to support many local businesses.
But most of all, Arco is a place of transition, where the desert plain meets the mountains, blue streams disappear into black lava, and the urban of Idaho gives way to the wilds of Idaho.
People come to Arco because their families live here, they like living in a small town where a western heritage still thrives, or because they are passing through.
Today, as it has been for over a hundred years, if you need to get around Idaho, sooner or later you will pass through Arco. Arco is a great place to stop and stretch your legs or stay awhile and explore. Welcome we’re glad you’re here!