Outside Magazine Editors Hate Dallas. Do You Care?

They call out city the "least outdoorsy" in the country.

See, White Rock Lake isn't too bad.
See, White Rock Lake isn’t too bad. (photo:John McStravick/Flickr)

As Eric Nicholson has pointed out, the editors of Outside magazine have declared Dallas the “least outdoorsy” city in America. And while only the extreme fringe of civic boosters would claim that Dallas can compete outdoors-wise with cities like Portland or Seattle, how can anyone claim our city is the absolute worst?

Eric ran through the criteria that Outside used and demonstrates that the numbers don’t add up:

Curiouser still, Dallas’ Green City Index and Park Score put it firmly in the middle of the pack among U.S. cities. Among the five “least outdoorsy” runners up, Dallas has the highest Green City score, besting Cleveland and Detroit by enormous margins and squeaking by Charlotte (Memphis and Fresno, Outdoor‘s two other worsts, aren’t even included on the index). Dallas’ Park Score ranking (26) is one spot behind Cleveland, tied with Detroit, and better than Fresno (50), Charlotte (47) and Memphis (42).

The other two criteria were bike shops per capita (in which Dallas at least outdoes Detroit) and the editors’ own “in-depth knowledge.” So it’s clearly that “in-depth knowledge” alone that puts Dallas atop the list. Here’s how Outside uses its “in-depth knowledge” to describe our city:

Dallas is the sprawling place of ten-gallon hats and gleaming ten-miles per gallon SUVs. It’s the oil industry’s heart and soul (if it has a heart or soul), where only half of the residents are within walking distance of the tiny smattering of parks within its borders. Not that people walk in Dallas—or take advantage of the paltry public transportation system, or even bike on the scant number of bike lanes. The only way to get from point A to point B is generally to drive, and given the oversized amount of space, the route is hardly ever a short one. As for the park lands that do exist, one—the Mountain Creek Lake reservoir—is prohibited by the state health department from letting you from eat the bass or catfish caught there, because of PCB contamination.

One bright spot: Trinity River Corridor Project is a 10,000-acre preservation and reclamation area that spreads 20 miles along the Trinity River. About 60 percent of it is forested, and the park includes a nature center, more than 12 miles of trails and an equestrian center.

I’m guessing they haven’t heard about the Trinity Tollway, or they might not have given us even that much credit.

Does this make you laugh or make you angry?


  • LeslieRadial

    Yeah, yeah, Trinity Trails are great – but I can ride my bike or run from the Deep Ellum trailhead for Santa Fe Trail all the way up to the Sam Rayburn Tollway on nearly continuous multiuse paths.

    There are just a couple of very short breaks where you have to switch to streets or sidewalks.

    And you’re traveling right through the middle of the city.

  • Waterboy

    Outside should have mentioned that 80% of the lakes are rivers in the United States are too polluted for swimming or eating fish. Just sayin’.