The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) recently recommended that the Outdoor Retailer Shows, the two major events (for Summer and Winter) showcasing outdoor recreation gear, be moved from their location in Salt Lake City to a new city. This was in response to the governor of Utah’s policy that some public lands be sold off to private interests, and that the recent designation of Bears Ears as a National Monument be rescinded. The OIA and key outdoor company’s requested in a phone meeting with the Governor that the State of Utah be more supportive of public land, which he declined to do. A decision was then made to hold the 2017 Shows as scheduled, then look for a new location for the Outdoor Retailer Shows for 2018.
Ultimate Direction supports this decision. We love Utah and have always enjoyed being in Salt Lake City, and are saddened that political decisions made by the State adversely affect its largest City. Of more importance however, is that public land preserved for the enjoyment of future generations is one of the greatest ideas this country has given the world, and is one of the principals that has made America great. This should not be a partisan or political issue; supporting public land is a defining American value held dear by generations.
It is also a practical decision: people depend on public land to recreate, and so it is natural that the outdoor industry support a city whose policy is to support public land. Rather than the old and incorrect “Jobs vs the Environment” politics, Utah in particular is the beneficiary of the reverse: The outdoor recreation economy contributes to this state alone: $646 billion in consumer spending,122,400 jobs, $3.6 Billion Wages and Salaries, and $856 Million in tax revenue.
Public land benefits the economy, and should remain in public hands.