After an unsuccessful meeting with Utah Gov. Gary Herbet of Utah, outdoor industry leaders who are heavily involved with the twice yearly Outdoor Retailer Trade Show (OR) have announced their intentions to leave the state as soon as possible.
OR, held bi-annually in Salt Lake City, Utah since 1996, is one of the world’s biggest gatherings of outdoor gear and apparel brands.
The decision comes on the heels of a string of public policy decisions, including the proposed delisting of Bear’s Ear National Monument as a federally protected national monument, that many in the outdoor industry view as harmful to the overall state of outdoor recreation in America.
According to a written statement from the Outdoor Industry Association:
“It is clear that the governor indeed has a different perspective on the protections of public lands from that of our members and the majority of Western state voters, both Republicans and Democrats — that’s bad for our American heritage, and it’s bad for our businesses. We are therefore continuing our search for a new home as soon as possible.”
A spokesman for Gov. Herbert Paul Edwards called the decision “offensive” and condemned it when specking with the Salt Lake Tribune.
“It perpetuates the false narrative that Utah — a state that derives much of its inspiration and identity from its iconic public lands, a state that invests tens of millions of dollars into the protection of and access to its public lands — is somehow hostile to those public lands,” Edwards told the Salt Lake Tribune late last night. “It shows how a political agenda, rather than reason or merit, seems to have captured the decision-making at the Outdoor Industry Association.”