Backpacker Wins General Excellence National Magazine Award

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There are good days, and then there are good days: Last night in New York, Backpacker Magazine won the American Society of Magazine Editors National Magazine Award for General Excellence. This is like winning Best Picture in the mag world, so first thing's first: We'd like to thank the Academy, er, Society!

In our circulation bracket, Backpacker faced tough competition from more-than-worthy rivals Cookie, New York, Wondertime, and W, but we pulled through with a combination of luck, pluck, and — oh, right — a pretty damn fine magazine. But enough blather from me; let's hear what the judges have to say:

With stories ranging from how global warming affects our national parks to the proper way to hang a bear bag, Backpacker feeds its readers singular and voracious passion for the trail. Smartly designed, with field-tested gear advice and regionally specific trail and event guides, Backpacker is the essential magazine of outdoor adventure.

Backpacker specifically took home the Ellie for last year's April, May, and September issues.

Speaking of online, Backpacker's uber-talented map team, led by map honcho Kris Wagner, deserve special props for their work on Bicycling.com's GPS Rides Tool, which won Best Interactive Feature. From the judges:

The GPS Rides Tool on Bicycling.com is a rare combination of high-tech, smart, and useful, bringing together the technology of allsportGPS.com, the mapping ability of Google, and the passion of cyclists. The tool allows riders to map their favorite routes using their handheld GPS units, upload them to the site along with commentary and photos, and share them with other riders.

You can find similar trailside GPS features here on Backpacker.com, but keep your eyes peeled: You never know when those evil geniuses on the map team might drop brand new apps and tools on our site to satisfy your trail lust.

At the end of the day, we've only got two things to say: 1) Congratulations, magazine and map teams; you've truly raised the bar, and 2) Watch out, Ellies — we're coming for ya.

— Ted Alvarez