Outdoor Life Magazine 2008

National Geographic Adventure 2007

Outdoor living's easy in

A national magazine blew Lewiston's cover as an undiscovered outdoor paradise.

Lewiston ranks second nationally on Outdoor Life's list of the top towns to live in for access to hunting and fishing. Mountain Home, Ark., is the No. 1 place to live, and Pocatello landed the No. 5 spot on the list. Orofino was ranked second on a companion list of the top whitetail deer towns. The lists appear in the April edition of the magazine, which hits newsstands March 20.

The magazine's editors considered not only hook and bullet opportunities when compiling the list, but also quality of life issues like jobs, crime rates, housing prices and weather.

"We looked at all the stuff on the sporting and the livability side of the towns and ran an equation on it and came up with our list," said John Snow, executive editor of the magazine. "Clearly on the fishing side you guys are just through the roof in terms of what you've got in the Snake and Clearwater steelhead runs. You've got terrific access to public lands, as well as deer, elk, bear, the whole nine yards, and the place is covered with turkeys and you have excellent upland bird hunting."

The magazine's profile on Lewiston boasts of the town's many boat ramps on both rivers, close proximity to national forests and calls it the sunniest city in the Pacific Northwest.

"Bottom line: Steelhead dominate the headlines but hunting for upland birds - chukar, pheasant, and grouse and quail - is terrific."

The profile also mentions the area's less well known but diverse fishing opportunities for species like sturgeon, small mouth bass, catfish and salmon, as well as hunting opportunities for big game species like elk, deer and bighorn sheep.

The ranking follows last year's article in National Geographic Adventure magazine that put Lewiston in the top nine towns in the nation for water-based recreation, an article by Kendra Todd listing Lewiston as one of the best places to buy a home and another recognition from an insurance group for the town being the sixth safest and secure place to live.

Such rankings are putting Lewiston on the national map, said local economic development and tourism officials.

"To get Lewiston ranked in something as important as Outdoor Life Magazine, especially to the demographics we appeal to, is just absolutely great," said Deb Smith, tourism coordinator for the Lewiston Chamber of Commerce. "We will use it as we talk to people on the phone who ask about relocation and outdoor recreation."

Chamber Director Keith Havens said economic development starts with tourism. People might come to town to go fishing, hunting or boating he said. That could be enough to get them thinking about moving here.

"It all starts with them seeing what a great community we have through tourism," he said. "When we have tourists coming through, maybe they think they want to live here and maybe they want to move their company here."

Bob Tippet, executive director of Valley Vision, also said the ranking could be helpful in recruiting businesses looking at relocating. It might not be the first thing they look for, but he said it could be the tipping point.

"If you have some guy who loves to fish and hunt and he lives in downtown Los Angeles, I guarantee he would be interested."

Lewiston has long attracted people looking for a good access to hunting and fishing. Jack O'Connor, the famed outdoor writer and gun editor for Outdoor Life, relocated to Lewiston from Arizona in the 1940s. Others, like Fred Trevey of Lewiston, chose Lewiston after a West-wide search for a place to retire. Trevey is the Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner representing the Clearwater Region. He learned about Lewiston when he served as the supervisor of the Clearwater National Forest in the late 1980s. After he retired as supervisor of the Flagstaff, Ariz.-based Coconino National Forest in 1998, he and his wife Becky looked for a place to spend the rest of their lives. Hunting and fishing, as well as the climate's suitability to gardening, landed them in Lewiston.

"We looked all over and we just kept coming back to this part of the world," he said.

But those who already live here might not be thrilled to have Lewiston on the list. If the town gets discovered by hunters and anglers across the country, steelhead holes could be more crowded, bird hunting spots could be lost to wealthy hunters willing to pay for hunting access, and there could be more deer and elk hunters combing the woods.

"They are letting our secret out," Trevey said.


Barker may be contacted at ebarker@lmtribune.com or at (208) 848-2273.

Top 20 places to live and enjoy the outdoors as ranked by Outdoor Life Magazine: 1. Mountain Home, Ark. 2. Lewiston 3. Sheridan, Wyo. 4. Cody, Wyo. 4. Pocatello 6. Lewistown, Mont. 7. Marquette, Mich. 8. Dillon, Mont. 9. Page, Ariz. 10. Bismarck, N.D. 11. Richfield, Utah 12. Logan, Utah 13. Livingston, Mont. 14. Fort Collins, Colo. 15. Cedar City, Utah 16. Helena, Mont. 17. Rifle, Colo. 18. Williston, N.D. 19. Bemidji, Minn. 20. Rogers, Ark.

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