Using such measures as access to outdoor adventure, healthy eating options, green spaces and unemployment rates – among others – Outside magazine has rated Anchorage one of America’s best outdoor towns in its September issue. The
measures also included median incomes, and an editor’s choice variable to summarize how livable a place is. Anchorage received 83,601 votes from readers and an “O-score” of 83 (with 100 being perfect). That left Alaska’s largest city fourth in the survey, trailing only Minneapolis, Provo, Utah, and winner; Duluth, Minnesota. Readers cast 1.5 million votes in the competition, which began as a 64-town bracket.
The story quotes Alaska Dispatch News columnist Erin Kirkland, explaining part of Anchorage’s appeal: “Summer…is when Alaska really comes alive. ‘Where the city ends, the wilderness begins,’ says Kirkland. There’s not a single sport you can’t do here, be it sea kayaking at Resurrection Bay or mountain biking at Kincaid. ‘It’s pretty amazing to live in that.”
Winning towns don’t necessarily celebrate, according to Outside.
“Every year . . . the editors receive threats from residents of places like Bend, Ore., and Missoula, Mont., suggesting they will cause bodily harm for encouraging hordes to move to their personal paradise,” said Outside magazine editor Chris Keyes. “But the passion of people who really care is turning once-forgotten mill towns and depot stations into vibrant towns boasting elegant bistros, art galleries, elaborate trail systems, restored rivers, and tremendous open spaces.” ◆