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Duluth mayor pushes for outdoors crown

During an outdoor news conference with Chester Creek babbling in the background, Duluth Mayor Don Ness made it clear Tuesday morning that he doesn’t want his hometown to finish in second place now that it has reached the finals in Outside Magazine’s contest for “the best outdoor lifestyle city in America.” And Ness views winning the title as much more than an opportunity to grab some meaningless bragging rights.

“Claiming our rightful title as America’s premiere outdoor city will help in our efforts to bring jobs and investment to our city,” he told reporters.  

Ness said he believes Duluth has a strong case to make, based on its natural beauty, its wealth of green space and its freshwater resources, including a multitude of streams, the St. Louis River, and of course Lake Superior itself. He also pointed to 40 miles of the Superior Hiking Trail that pass through the city, the 100-mile system of single-track mountain bike trails that’s being developed and which will be soon be connected by the Duluth Traverse trail, the recent extension of the Lakewalk to Brighton Beach, and the ongoing efforts to link the Lakewalk with the Munger Trail on the west side of Duluth.

Ness said these features and others have helped make people passionate residents of Duluth.

If Duluth prevails in Outside Magazine’s competition and emerges from a field of 64 communities as “the best outdoor lifestyle city in America,” Ness said the designation will serve as “a tremendous calling card.”

“Whether we’re talking about an entrepreneur starting a business or a young family deciding where to live, we want to be their first choice,” Ness said.

The mayor urged residents to help push Duluth ahead of Provo, Utah, the other finalist in the magazine’s competition. To link to the online voting site, people may visit