Monday, July 6, 2009

Rolla recognized again as top outdoor town in U.S.

The July 4th weekend marks the peak of summer fun for many who take advantage of the vast outdoor recreational and sporting opportunities that abound in and around the Mark Twain National Forest and Meramec Valley Region.

So it was encouraging to see that Rolla was included, for the second year running, in Outdoor Life magazine’s list of top 200 outdoor towns to live in the U.S. for hunting and fishing. Outdoor Life magazine used data to score 200 towns on available sporting opportunities and quality-of-life measures like good homes, schools and jobs. The list appears in the June-July issue and online at

With more trout streams than any other county in the state of Missouri, numerous crystal clear rivers and streams, and an array of hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and boating opportunities, Phelps County has more than its share of outdoor treasures and scenic beauty.

But it still doesn’t hurt our City’s or Phelps County’s regional or national image from a tourism, quality of life or economic development perspective when we are recognized by a national outdoor magazine as one of only 200 of the top towns in the U.S. for hunting and fishing.

According to a recent online article by 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,” Smith said.

What makes this recognition all the more significant is that Rolla is often included among other “Best Of” lists. In 2007 the City of Rolla was showcased and featured as one of the country’s most unspoiled places to visit, live and play in the recently published book “101 Best Outdoor” towns by Sarah Tuff and Greg Melville. That same month Rolla was the number 9 top ranked college town in the nation for communities with a population of 19,999 or less by ePodunk College Towns Index, a private company that provides in-depth community profiles on 46,000 communities around the country. In 2008 ranked Rolla No. 2 in the Top 10 Midwest Region and No. 13 among America’s 577 “micropolitan” areas in an “America’s Dreamtown” study. Rolla was also ranked as one of “13 Missouri Boom Towns” by author Jack Schultz. The most well known perhaps, and highly published reference to Rolla as a great place to live is included in Norm Crampton’s “The 100 Best Small Towns in America” – A Nationwide Guide to the Best in Small-Town Living.

Regardless of how you might be spending your Independence Day weekend in Rolla, whether you are enjoying a mouth-watering funnel cake at Lions Club Carnival today, cooling off at SplashZone – Rolla’s outdoor water park (don’t miss Independence Dollar Day today from 12-noon to 4 p.m.), or having a picnic with friends and family members, I hope you have a memorable and safe July 4th weekend. And let’s not forget to keep all of the men and women serving in the Armed Forces throughout the world in our thoughts and prayers as we enjoy our freedoms, family gatherings and celebrations throughout the Fourth!

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