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The most remote place in the 48 states

Brief by Allen Best

Geography – June 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Want to get away from it all? If remoteness is defined by the absence of roads, then Hinsdale County, located in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, is the most remote place in the lower 48 states.

This distinction is based on new computer technology developed by the U.S. Geological Survey. Traditional tools for analyzing roadless space have ranked a plot of land one mile from a road the same as one several miles from a road, explains Discovery News. But this method ignores the fact that the farther a place is from a road, the less it is affected,

Using this new technology, the Geological Survey created three-dimensional pictures that finds Hinsdale County, between Gunnison and Silverton, is the nation’s most remote. Although heavily mined, it has several wilderness areas, plus five 14,000-foot peaks.

The county is also among the least populated, with a 2002 census of 790 full-time residents, more than half in the county’s only town, Lake City.

The county also has one of the highest rates of second-home owners in the nation, a large number of them from Texas. The county is also remembered as the locale for the cannibalism of Alferd Packer.

Other notably remote areas, according to the new road-based technology, include the southeast corner of Yellowstone National Park, but also some wet places: swamps in Louisiana and lakes in Minnesota. At the opposite end, the most roaded place in the nation is Brooklyn.

In a lovely polarity, The Denver Post found somebody who grew up in Brooklyn and worked as a New York City firefighter before moving to Lake City two years ago. The two places aren’t so terribly different, said Louie Bevilacqua. He said Lake City is a very small, tight community — just like the one he left in Brooklyn.