Outdoors blog

Outdoor retailers give Utah ultimatum on wilderness

The Outdoor Retailer show has for years convened at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. The Outdoor Industry Association has been a supporter of conservation. in 2013, members threatened to move the biannual expo of outdoor gear manufacturers out of Utah unless Gov. Gary Herbert changed course on environmental issues. (Associated Press)
The Outdoor Retailer show has for years convened at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. The Outdoor Industry Association has been a supporter of conservation. in 2013, members threatened to move the biannual expo of outdoor gear manufacturers out of Utah unless Gov. Gary Herbert changed course on environmental issues. (Associated Press)

PUBLIC LANDS —The outdoor recreation industry is flexing its economic muscle—some $640 billion spent annually by Americans on gear, travel and services—to push for wilderness protection in Utah, threatening to pull a lucrative biannual trade show if the state doesn't change course on environmental issues.

According to a story in the Denver Post, the industry last week gave Utah's governor an ultimatum: give up on a threat to take over federal land in the state or risk losing the Outdoor Retailer outdoor gear show that draws thousands of visitors and injects more than $40 million yearly into the state economy.

The outdoor industry and related services represent a sizeable chunk of Utah's income—roughly $4 billion a year, or 5 percent of the state's gross product, the Post article says.

It's not the first time the 4,000-member-strong Outdoor Industry Association has threatened to take its business elsewhere.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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