Close, Durango, but no cigar.
In a surprise upset, Richmond, Va., was crowned Outside magazines Best River Town in America on Thursday.
More than 20,000 people submitted votes this summer through Facebook. Durango finished fourth (out of 10 finalists) with 8 percent of votes cast, but paled in comparison to Richmond, which took home nearly half of all votes.
Outside partnered with American Rivers, a freshwater conservation nonprofit, to winnow the initial list of 50 cities to 10. To qualify, cities highlighted their fervor for water-based recreation and environmental stewardship.
After tallying votes, a panel of Outside editors considered subjective measures like enthusiasm and creativity to counteract the sheer numbers advantage enjoyed by larger candidates.
But in the end, Richmonds commanding share of the vote was too much to ignore. Outside editors praised city planners for rehabilitating the James River, historically plagued by industrial chemicals, heavy-metal toxins and tobacco-plantation runoff.