Dallas Is the "Least Outdoorsy" City in America, Apparently

Categories: Park and Rec

bushwhacking-dallas.8235125.87.jpg
Tin Salamunic
Clearly, the editors of Outside have never met Jim Schutze.
Maybe, just maybe, Dallas has shaken its reputation as the country's worst city for cycling. Bicycling magazine hasn't mentioned it in a couple of years, anyway.

The city has, however, earned another not-so-welcome distinction. It's the "least outdoorsy" city in America, according to Outside magazine. We are, apparently, less outdoorsy than Cleveland. Less outdoorsy than Detroit. Less outdoorsy than Memphis.

See also: The Bushwhacker's Guide to Exploring Dallas

Outside reached this conclusion by considering several variables for each of the 50 most populous cities (its Park Score Index, the Siemens Green City Index, the number of bike shops per capita) and "rel[ying] heavily upon our in-depth knowledge of these cities."

Here's what their "in-depth knowledge" tells them about Dallas:

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.

The driving stuff is on-point, but beyond that it doesn't seem that anyone from Outside has ever visited. Houston is the "oil industry's heart and soul," and the Trinity River Corridor Project isn't a bright spot but an enormous albatross that came into existence only so the city could choke off its most valuable natural asset with a toll road.

See also: Help Settle a Bet: Which Recent Dallas City Hall Screw Up Was Worse?

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).

True, there are fewer bike shops in Dallas than would be ideal, but how much does that really say about anything? Might we suggest that next time around Outside rely a bit less heavily on its "in-depth knowledge"?

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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59 comments
Observer
Observer

I've worked with Outside and Greg Melville. He's a douchebag, first off. And Outside...jeez, let's see: Arrogant, screws their writers, egomaniacs. I could go on. So take this with a grain of salt, Dallas.

stevepappy81
stevepappy81

Most time in the summer it's too dangerous to be outdoorsie

Frank
Frank

And what is the author's "in-depth knowledge" of Cleveland, Charlotte, Detroit, etc...or is he just a homer?   Dallas topography (or lack thereof), driving culture, and ridiculously hot summers all are contributing factors in it's non-existent outdoors culture.  Sorry Eric. 

skeeterskier1
skeeterskier1

As a Dallasite, I drive to Colorado to do my "outdoorsy" things.

don.abbott
don.abbott

I've ridden my bike to Casa Linda from the M Streets for a year, 6 days a week.  On the way to the gym, I've seen rabbits (tons), skunks, eagles, owls, coyotes, raccoons, possums and enough birds at the lake to make Tippi Hedren have several martinis.  Full moons, shooting stars and snow flakes have filled the skies.  Most of the six million people surrounding the Santa Fe trail are still asleep just before daybreak.  They have no idea.  Neither does Outside Magazine.  I'm glad.  

markmelton
markmelton

Do we really need more bike shops? Can't we just drive to the ones we already have?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Seems like just another person bitching about Dallas not being a "walkable, bikeable, new-retro-urban planning neighborhood".  We hear that enough from UP writers without them needing to import walk-bike bitching from someone else.

alexaudi06
alexaudi06

There is another way to move around Dallas, and that is something that has been increasing and increasing over the years..... SCOOTERS..

That's right.... Especially in the Downtown, M Streets, Oak Cliff, Deep Ellum, Uptown. 
Tired of Valet parking or not fiding a parking spot?
Simple, get a scooter.

I work for Vespa Dallas, and we sold an average of 345 scooters over the past 3 years with 2012 being our best year with 400.

More and more people are commuting to work on their scooters as people are moving closer to their work place, and some ride year long in any kind of weather.


TexasWheels
TexasWheels

I love how all of the comments are people disagreeing with the Author, but it's 100% dead on. The only outdoor things people in D do are sit on patio's to have margarita's and try and look pretty. I used to go to Grapevine lake daily and there were more people at the lake next to my small Oklahoma town in the Winter than there was at a lake next to a metro-plex with a larger population than the whole state of Okla in the middle of summer. 

I haven't driven my car to/from work in over a year now and people freak out when I tell them that. They act like it just shouldn't be possible for someone to not drive everywhere all the time. I don't know how anyone that lives in the DFW area could even try to argue that DFW is a outdoors town.

manny64
manny64

Does a pub craw in Downtown Dallas count for being outdoorsy?

Americano
Americano

I've lived in the DFW area my whole life and NEVER seen a 10 gallon hat.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

I've known some of those Outside contributers. They're some of the guys responsible for littering the hell out of the area around Mt. Everest.

Threeboys
Threeboys

This article is not at all fair.


My gleaming SUV gets 15 MPG.

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

Too bad he never visited all of the fine paved bicycle trails we are building or the great DORBA trails.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

Memo to Outdoors: when doing snark, always mind your grammar.

WylieH
WylieH

[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 can't wait until it gets that 530 foot wide toll road, so i can get in my F250, put the windows down, and let 'er rip while I cruise through the floodway at 70 mph with the radio blasting... I love nature!

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Outside Magazine is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the "City Different".

They hate Texans and all things Texas.  35% of that town does not live there year round.  Mostly trust fund babies from the NE Seaboard.  If your point of origin is Texas, lose the accent.  Say you're from Canada.

Texas Confederates captured Santa Fe and held it for a couple of years.  Santa Fe's crowning achievement is when some Colorado Yankees ambushed a Confederate supply wagon at the Battle of Glorieta Pass, just outside Santa Fe.

I've tried to tell them Dallas voted Democrat but they'll have none of it.  

It really is visceral.  Some are okay with me.  Others have gone postal.

I was sitting at an 8-top having dinner with a group, some of which I had never met.  This woman told a standard joke about loudmouth Texans and the people that new me later apologized for the rude characterization.  

A woman called in to the local talk show.  She said she was just cut off by a guy with Texas license plates.  It sparked a 30-minute call-in show with Santa Feans telling their worst Texas jerk stories.  It doesn't take much to get them started. 

They aren't all like that, but the racism invective is alive and well in Santa Fe.

Oxtail
Oxtail

He did not even mention the wonderful outdoorsy area under I-345 where people hangout. 

BobLowlaw
BobLowlaw

These studies should be called "Cities which the Author of This Article Hates."  How could Dallas be less "outdoorsy" than, say, Chicago, under feet of snow for half the year?  Anyone who thinks Dallas isn't outdoorsy has never been to White Rock Lake Park after work or on a weekend.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Grapevine Lake is crowded as it can be in the summer. Full capacity, more or less, like all DFW-area lakes.

The reason these lakes are quiet on a weekday is because people work. You'll find the same in with Florida and California beaches, etc.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Americano  

The were popular after Billy Jack in discos during the late 60s.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@RobertStinson Shhhh.  First rule of DORBA trails is don't talk about DORBA trails.  There are no off-road trails anywhere around here...

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@JimSX

It's Outdoors.

Ahem.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@holmantx The entire state of New Mexico has an inferiority complex vis a vis Texas.  Bunch a frigging losers.  My daughter went to UNM in Albuquerque.  She spent 4 years listening to that poor ass state's residents telling her why Texas sucks so much.  Funny thing is that about half of them had to move to Texas to get a job after graduation.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@holmantx

Ditto Colorado, especially Durango/Pagosa/T'hellyaride.

On any average ski weekend, the entire parking lot at Wolf Creek Pass is Texas plates. Locals often get attitudes about their chief sources of income.

I once had this conversation on the lift:

"where y'all from?"

"Vermont"

"Beaumont?"

No, Vermont, it's near Boston"

"Austin?"

And so on...

The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley
The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley

@BobLowlaw  

Because even "under feet of snow", Chicagoans still go outside.  Compare and contrast with the television and queso binge that takes place in North Texas when we get a light wintry mix.      

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@BobLowLaw

Chicago's lakefront path is heavily frequented by pedestrians, bikes and rollerbladers. Many of those bikers and rollerbladers are female, a disproportionate number seem of hearty, large-breasted Midwestern stock.

In several areas, notably by the Navy Pier, the path is quite bumpy, so it draws lots of spectators. So, it's pretty outdoorsy in a way.

ttracker
ttracker

@RobertStinson


I will email him and say that he got the whole equestrian center thing wrong too. Here in Dallas that address is known as a Muslim animal sacrifice center and carcinogen dump, Dallasites are too smart to run it so we hired a pile of folks from Collin County to run it into the ground for us. Then, the citizens of Dallas to be more outdoorsy, are paying $12 million so that Highland Park residents who lack the pedigree to play at the DCC can play at the Trinity Forest CC. I get all that right?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@holmantx

I thought that particular style was for pinheads.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@PlanoDave @holmantx  

We paid them back.

we discovered Hatch green chiles roasted in turning cages out in the supermarket parking lot.

25 million Texans can put a little demand pressure on the New Mexican green chili market (ha!).

Next we need to get Texas A&M to cross 'em - make 'em hotter and turn them red quicker (ha!).

I do believe that would make their heads explode.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@TheRuddSki Meh, depends on where you go in Colorado.  I grew up on the West Slope, an hour or so west of Steamboat.  We loved Texans, especially the ones who would go hunting there.  They could tell the difference between a Mule deer and an Elk, and more importantly, a cow.  You rarely had to remind a Texan to close a gate after driving through it.  They generally had to get used to actually hunting, vs sitting on their asses and having someone drive the game to them, but once they did, they hardly complained about all the walking.  I did have one mention to me that if they'd flatten Colorado out a bit, it'd probably be bigger than Texas, but he swore me to secrecy on that one.

Oxtail
Oxtail

@TheRuddSki  Well we gave Vail to the government to pay off our debt when we joined the U.S. And while a Texan can draw the ire of the occasional Santa Fean,  (where I spend a lot of time since childhood) as well as the Colorado person, they will emphatically tell you that Californians are 10X worse.  The Californians move in and physically churn their land into some crazy California wannabe land while us Texans are just sorta obnoxious to talk to.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  New Mexicans won't ski at Ruidoso, Red River or Angel Fire.

Too many Texans.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ttracker

Be sure to mention that Dallas is up to our asses in goat bones.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@holmantx

My daughter said drunk Indians were a problem in Ruidoso

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@holmantx  You might be onto something there.  I never did trust people living in a state where it looks like God just dumps trash in random piles around the state.

And Santa Fe is the most pretentious place I have ever visited.  There were some nice people in Madrid, but Santa Fe people have a very inflated self image.  Take away indian pottery and jewelry and the place is nothing but over-priced restaurants.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@PlanoDave @holmantx  

I thought it might be the altitude.  5,000 ft and above the people seem to be just mad about everything.  Even the kids who man the convenience stores and fast food restaurants.  Sullen, mouth breathers.

Cross that border and pull into the nearest truck stop either side of Amarillo and it is night and day.  West Texas kid breaks a big smile and commences to carry on a conversation.

They have no idea how that reinforces the bias of the afflicted.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@holmantx Too funny.  I love hearing NMians bragging about how much better their "chili" is than ours.

I do love me some Blake's, though.  And Sadie's is the bomb.  Gotten sick every time I've gone to Los Cuatos.  There's something wrong with that place.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Oxtail

Californians can be a bit much. Even in California. There's that whole Valley/Malibu thing, and Californians think California is the best thing going.

I actually have to agree, Cali is one diverse state. If they had Carribbean-like water, I would have never left.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@holmantx

Ruidoso, RR, AF is where my ex-wife and family skid, all Texans.

My daughter lived in Ruidoso for a year, said her a Texas plates drew scorn LOL.

It's the same all over. I've always lived in resort type places, and my comments to locals who scorn tourists is "I take it you don't travel much".

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