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SLC council asks Outdoor Retailer to come back, join public-lands strategy

Published March 8, 2017 5:24 pm

Environment • Salt Lake City leaders issue pro-public-land statement, ask group to reconsider move.
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Salt Lake's City Council has a message for the organizers of Outdoor Retailer, who announced last month that their customers could not reconcile their differences with Utah's policymakers over public lands policy: Call us.

Three weeks after a messy breakup that ended in a phone call between industry representatives and the governor, council members urged show runners to rethink a departure after their contract ends in 2018.

Tuesday's ceremonial resolution stressed the like-mindedness of the council and outdoor industries and asked "that the Outdoor Industry Association join the City Council in a long-term strategy to protect and preserve public lands which are precious to all Utahns and people nationwide."

The February split was based on industry leaders' objection to Utah lawmakers' efforts to rescind the late-December designation of Bears Ears National Monument.

A February report from the University of Utah's Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute that was provided to the council found that nearly 32,000 people visited Salt Lake County as a result of Outdoor Retailer's summer show in August 2016, spending $32 million and generating $3.1 million in local taxes.

Another 21,000 visitors and $20 million in economic impact had been expected prior to January's winter show.

What's more, Outdoor Retailer owners Emerald Exhibition had recently signed a nonbinding letter of intent to expand from two shows each year to five.

The state's public lands policies also cost its chance to land the Interbike show, an Emerald Exhibition-owned cycling exhibition that annually attracts 20,000 attendees in Las Vegas and is seeking a new host.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski said in a mid-February news release that she, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell had met with Gov. Gary Herbert prior to the show owners' decision and had hoped to be involved in further discussions.

"I am disappointed OIA did not take the time to meet with me as I understand OIA's concern and the difficult position they faced with many in the outdoor community," Biskupski said in the release. "We all have a responsibility to protect and defend wild lands and the environment for future generations, and like OIA, this is an ethos Salt Lake City takes seriously."

Asked if there were any recent developments, Visit Salt Lake President Scott Beck said through a spokesperson Tuesday that he had "nothing new to report."


Twitter: @matthew_piper






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