Officials say poll is unattractive
By RANDY GONZALES
Richard Smalley was both amused and frustrated last week when he learned of a poll that knocked the Sunflower State.
Of the 50 states, the one with the worst scenery was Kansas in a Business Insider poll, according to 12 percent of the respondents. Next in line was New Jersey.
"It was really meant to be entertainment. We got a good chuckle out of it," said Smalley, tourism and marketing manager for the tourism division of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, who added his office plans to do nothing in response to the poll.
Still, there is that here-we-go-again feeling when it comes to Kansas.
"There's a bit of frustration," Smalley said. "People think Kansas is dry and flat and boring. Those are obviously people who have never been here."
Smalley said residents of the state have responded on the Internet and social media with pictures to prove the poll wrong.
"There's just some stunning stuff that's been posted online," he said. "That part of it's great."
Most travelers just see Kansas from Interstate 70, Smalley said.
"All across the state, there's great things to see and do," he said. "Our biggest problem is getting people off the interstate and seeing the real Kansas, that you can't see from I-70."
Jana Jordan, executive director of the Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau, admitted she does get some feedback from time to time from visitors who pop into her office.
"I'll tell you the truth, people will come to the Visitors Center and go, 'Oh my gosh, it's so flat, you could see forever.' That's one of their big comments," Jordan said. "It's everybody's taste. I think the countryside, especially when you're driving on I-70, is so diverse."
Jordan said a traveler can go from the rolling hills in the eastern part of the state to the flat prairie out west.
"Really, I think the sunsets and sunflowers, it's really pretty as you drive across Kansas," she said.
Colorado was deemed the state with the most beautiful scenery. People who don't like western Kansas would find the same scenery in eastern Colorado, Jordan said.
"Colorado has just kind of called that the outback, eastern Colorado," Jordan said.
People just don't know what they're missing, Jordan said.
"Everybody has their own taste, I guess," she said. "I'm sorry that people didn't find Kansas very pretty, but I do find it very beautiful. To me, I like the wide-open spaces."
The poll had different questions, from which state has the drunkest people (Louisiana), to the rudest and most arrogant people both in New York. The nicest state is Georgia.
Hawaii is the best vacation spot, the poll said.
There's also the state with the weirdest accent (Massachusetts) and the state with the best food (New York) and worst food (Alaska). Massachusetts is the smartest state, while Mississippi is the dumbest, according to the poll. New York has both the best and worst sports fans. The most overrated state is California, while the most underrated is Alaska.
Poll respondents said the state other than their own that was their favorite was California, and the least favorite was Texas, which also was the state people would like to see kicked out of America.
California also was deemed the craziest state and the one with the hottest residents. The state with the ugliest residents was Alabama, which gave some solace to Jordan.
"At least we didn't get the ugliest people," she said with a laugh.