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A surfer braves turbulent water and waves at Stony Point between Duluth and Two Harbors in October 2013. (Andrew Krueger / akrueger@duluthnews.com)

Duluth claims victory in magazine's 'best outdoors town' competition

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Duluth Minnesota 424 W. First St. 55802

Congratulations, Duluthians. You live in the best outdoors town in the country.

That’s the verdict after six rounds of online voting came to an end late Sunday night in Outside magazine’s annual “best outdoors town” competition.

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Duluth cruised to an easy victory over Provo, Utah, in the final round of voting, accumulating about 66,750 votes to about 54,850 for Provo. Duluth had earlier beat Columbia, Mo.; Athens, Ohio; La Crosse, Wis.; Minneapolis; and then Asheville, N.C., in head-to-head competition to reach the final.

Throughout the contest, the city’s hiking, skiing, biking, kayaking and other outdoor assets were promoted by an active social media campaign, with a “VoteDuluth” tag being used on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Now, Duluth will be featured in an upcoming issue of the magazine — and the city also will be able to use the title to promote itself to prospective visitors, residents and businesses.

The city previously was featured in Outside’s “Best Towns” list in 2007, and was on the magazine’s list of “Dream Towns” in 2001.

Duluth Mayor Don Ness said Sunday that winning an online vote may be “nothing earth-shattering” on its own, but he said Duluth’s victory in this competition carries some greater significance.

“I think it’s important to note a very real and significant change in our city that has resulted in this victory — a fundamental shift in how people think about Duluth,” Ness posted to Facebook on Sunday as the outcome became clear. “Over the past month, we saw people from all over the country weigh in and proclaim how much they love this city. ... The recognition of the change in our city in recent years is important and it is significant.”

The outdoors and adventure-oriented magazine’s annual “best place to live in America” winner was chosen by online voting this year, with 64 communities starting the competition in May.

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