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Bemidji ranks high on Outdoor Life's Top 200 towns of 2009

Bemidji made Outdoor Life's list of America's 200 best hunting and fishing towns for 2009.

Bemdji ranked No. 31 on the list, which appears in the June/July issue.

While Bemidji's rating was high, it was topped in this list by two other Minnesota cities. Roseau ranked No. 20 and Rochester was ranked No. 9.

The magazine used extensive data to score 200 towns on available sporting opportunities and quality-of-life for its second annual rankings.

Last year's second-place finisher, Lewiston, Idaho, moved up one place to score the top spot.

To determine the 2009 "Best Places to Live," Outdoor Life started with the 200 towns from the previous year's list and added 50 additional locations from readers and colleague suggestions. Towns were ranked based on more than 20 criteria, with Outdoor-related factors given slightly heavier emphasis in computing the results than Quality-of-Life factors.

Outdoor factors considered included gun-friendliness of each town's state, huntable and fishable species nearby, the town's proximity to public hunting land and fishable waters, and the potential for taking a trophy-caliber game animal or fish nearby.

Quality-of-Life factors considered included population growth since 2000, median household income, median home value, cost of living, unemployment rate, mean commute time and amenities (schools, hospitals).

Certain socio-economic categories were weighted more than others to determine the overall Quality-of-Life score, which was combined with the overall Outdoor score to reach each town's rank.