Magazine ranks GJ outdoors hot spot

'Dream towns for sportsmen’ on list

We’re No. 77! We’re No. 77!

At least that’s what Outdoors Life magazine says in its most recent survey of the Top 200 sporting towns in the United States.

The list, which was released Tuesday, puts Grand Junction in the 77th spot, smack between No. 76 Orofino, Idaho, (pop. 3,073), and No. 78 Butte, Mont. (pop. 31,695).

Colorado had three towns in the Top 20: Carbondale at No. 10, Granby at 14 and Colorado Springs at 19. Meanwhile, Rifle was No. 28, and Montrose ranked 46th.

“Outdoorsmen want world-class hunting and fishing, but like everyone else, they also want to have a high quality of life,” says Todd Smith, editor-in-chief of Outdoor Life. “The towns on this list offer the best of the outdoors as well as decent homes and schools and good-paying jobs. They are truly dream towns for sportsmen.”

Lewiston, Idaho, No. 2 on the list a year ago, moved up to No. 1 this year. Lewiston, said Outdoor Life, deserves the top ranking for its “access to world-class hunting and fishing, as well as the economy and industry of the Pacific Coast and Asia.”

Lewiston, the self-styled “Gateway to Hells Canyon,” offers its 31,794 residents access to public lands and waters and a wide variety of fishable species, including whitetails and mule deer, turkeys, elk, black bears and mountain lions nearby.

In second was Marquette, Mich., the easternmost town in the top 10.

Towns were ranked on more than 20 categories described as either outdoor factors or quality-of-life factors. These included cost of living, unemployment rate (Grand Junction was tagged at 5.9 percent), proximity to public lands, fishable and huntable species (five and seven, respectively) and gun laws (Grand Junction rated an A).

Other Colorado towns in the top 200 were Fort Collins (38), Evergreen (70), Durango (90) and Gunnison (129).


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