NEW YORK, N.Y. — Outdoor Life magazine has released its fourth annual list of the “Top 200 Towns for Sportsmen,” an exhaustive list of the best places to live for those who love the outdoors.
In its news release of April 20, the magazine scored the cities using an extensive set of criteria — topping the list were access to abundant fishing and hunting opportunities, a high quality of life and suitability for families. The magazine also gave greater consideration to towns that boast low unemployment rates, high household incomes and low cost of living. The list appears in the May issue of Outdoor Life.
The city of Bend, Oregon, population 80,000, leads the list as the country’s top town for sportsmen. Rising in rank from sixth on last year’s list, Bend nabbed the top spot for attributes including access to millions of acres of Forest Service land, grassland and wetland, as well as its hundreds of miles of fishable streams and rivers.
The area’s unique landscape presents a bounty of both upland and big game hunting, and legendary waterways provide anglers with year-round opportunities. The city’s 300 days of sunshine per year also helped boost its ranking, as did a thriving economy that has pushed household income up 30 percent over the past decade. In total, 13 Oregon cities made this year’s Top Towns list.
More details on all 200 towns are available at OutdoorLife.com/besttowns2011
Other leading towns on this year’s list are Pinedale, Wyo., in second place. The community boasts incredible trout fishing and exceptional mule deer and elk hunting opportunities. At third is Rapid City, S.D., — first on last year’s list — remains a sportsmen playground thanks to its proximity to the Black Hills National Forest and local reservoirs. Kodiak, Alaska, came in at fourth, and Saratoga, Wyo., was fifth. Cooper Landing, Alaska, — the state’s second city to rank in the top 10 — came in at sixth, and Lewiston, Idaho, and Pendleton, Ore.,., took the seventh and eighth slots. Rounding out the top 10are Sheridan, Wyo., in ninth and Bismarck, N.D., was 10th.
“The towns on this list are the dream places to live for outdoorsmen,” said John Taranto, Senior Editor of Outdoor Life. “They’re all outstanding places to hunt and fish, but they’re also truly livable places where you can raise a family and live comfortably.”
The following towns rounded out the top 20 list in this order: Mountain Home, Ark., Chamberlain, S.D., Pierre, S.D., Rawlins, Wyo., Lander, Wyo., Cody, Wyo., Williston, N.D., Heber Springs, Ark., Marquette, Minn., Loa, Utah.
Outdoor Life editors evaluated cities for the 2011 “Top 200 Towns for Sportsmen” based on more than 20 criteria. Forty percent of a town’s rank was based on its Quality of Life score, which includes factors such as population and population growth since 2000, median household income and home value, cost of living and unemployment rate.
The Quality of Life score also accounts for access to quality healthcare, cultural institutions and higher education. The other 60 percent is based on the Outdoors score, which reflects each town’s performance in categories like Gun Friendliness, Fishable Species, Huntable Species, Proximity to Public Land and Waters and Trophy Potential.