Report: Outdoor Retailer shows to leave Utah
SALT LAKE CITY — A coalition of major outdoor companies this week ramped up a threat to get a lucrative outdoor trade show to leave Utah unless the governor and elected officials back away from policies they say threaten public lands.
Gov. Gary Herbert and Co. did not back away. And, according to reports, as a result, Outdoor Retailer shows will leave Utah after more than two decades in the state. The last show in Salt Lake City will be the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in the summer of 2018, according to reports, which also said that Denver, Colo., is a possibility to replace Salt Lake City as host.
Leaders of Black Diamond Equipment, Osprey Packs and 28 other outdoor companies sent a letter to the Republican governor that said Utah leaders were threatening the outdoor industry by pushing back against federal land control and management.
“We see all of these actions as an existential threat to the vibrancy of Utah and America’s outdoor industry as well as Utah’s high quality of life,” the letter said.
This effort was the latest in a string of moves the outdoors industry has made to protest Utah’s stance.
Organizers of the lucrative, semiannual Outdoor Retailer trade show had said this year that they were considering moving the event after two decades in Utah. Some companies said they would boycott the show as long as it remained in the state.
The letter was signed by CEOs of companies that pledged to boycott the show, like Patagonia and Arc’teryx, and others that had pledged to keep attending, such as The North Face and REI.
In the letter, the outdoors CEOs called on Herbert and Utah officials to stop pushing for the recent declaration of the Bears Ears National Monument to be rescinded and to stop pushing for state control of public lands currently owned by the federal government, among other actions. “If that is something that you are unwilling to do, we are publicly and emphatically urging our trade group’s leadership to have our show depart,” the letter said.
Speaking about the dispute earlier this week, Herbert told reporters that both sides of the issue need to calm down and understand each other.
Herbert and Utah’s Legislature recently approved a resolution calling on President Donald Trump to repeal the monument. Utah’s congressional delegation is also pressing the Trump administration on the issue.
Herbert and local officials object to President Barack Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act to sweep the area into a national monument. They say the area is too broad and does not allow for a mix of purposes in the area, including development and drilling.
Officials have also sought to limit a president’s powers under the Antiquities Act, and the state has floated the idea of launching a $14 million lawsuit against the federal government to gain control of about 30 million acres of forests, rangelands and more acres in U.S. government hands.