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Counties Rank as Best for Outdoor Activities in America

06/12/2015 07:18AM ● Published by Kevin

U.S. 50 Overlooking Lake Tahoe Basin, Near South Lake Tahoe, California. Photo courtesy of Ken Lund via Flickr

Niche, a local communities expert, recently compiled a Top 100 list of counties in America for outdoor activities. Placer, El Dorado and Sacramento counties ranked within the top 55 on the list.

"The Best Counties for Outdoor Activities ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of the overall quality of the environment and accessibility to designated outdoor spaces at the county level," the site explains. "This grade takes into account key indicators of a location’s environment and surroundings, including air quality, local weather, and access to natural amenities and outdoor recreation, in an attempt to holistically measure an area’s quality of and access to the outdoors."

At the time of analysis, 3,221 counties were assessed. Of them, 2,224 were ranked. Categories ranked included: Nearby National Parks (20% weight), Access to Campgrounds (10), Access to Recreational Goods Rentals (10), Health & Fitness Grade (10), Nearby National Forests (10), Nearby Skiing Facilities (10), Weather Grade (10), Nearby State Forests (7.5), Nearby State Parks (7.5), Air Quality Index 90th Percentile (5).

National parks and forests are recorded within a 200-mile radius, while skiing facilities and state parks and forests are recorded within a 100-mile radius.

Placer County ranked 36th on the list with 2 national parks, 11 national forests, 18 skiing facilities, 1 state forest and 24 state parks within proximity. Recreational facility rental access, health & fitness grade and weather grade were all given an A+, while access to campgrounds was given an A-. Air quality index was 80%.

El Dorado County ranked 49th on the list with 2 national parks, 10 national forests, 19 skiing facilities, 1 state forest and 22 state parks within proximity. Recreational facility rental access, health & fitness grade and weather grade were all given an A+, while access to campgrounds was given an A-. Air quality index was 90%.

Sacramento County ranked 55th on the list with 2 national parks, 10 national forests, 15 skiing facilities, 2 state forests and 45 state parks within proximity. The weather grade was an A+, while recreational facility rental access and health & fitness grade were given an A. Access to campgrounds scored a B+. Air quality index was 97%.

Overall, 18 California counties were on the Top 100 list. The remaining are: Calaveras (24th - highest ranking in California), San Francisco (34th), Orange (41st), Amador (45th), Nevada (47th), Yolo (50th), Mono (57th), Shasta (58th), Ventura (71st), Sutter (78th), Santa Cruz (80th), Los Angeles (86th), Tuolumne (90th), Napa (95th), and San Luis Obispo (97th).

Colorado amazingly took the entire top 11, as well as 13. Overall, the state boasted an astonishing 25 counties on the list.

To read the full report, click here.

About Niche

Niche is transforming the way people make big life decisions. By providing reviews and insight from everyday experts, we make choosing a neighborhood, college, or K-12 school a more transparent process. Founded in 2002 by Carnegie Mellon University students as CollegeProwler.com, we’ve since grown into one of the largest content startups in the country. We’re obsessed with providing students, families, and professionals with best-in-class content and deep insight into big life decisions. Every year, we help millions of people find their niche and thrive within it.

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