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Outdoor Retailer Trade Show Pulls Out of Utah After Unproductive Conversation With Governor

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The lucrative Outdoor Retailer show is looking to leave Salt Lake City after organizers failed to reach agreement with Utah Governor Gary Herbert on public-lands issues.

The twice-annual show has been in Utah two decades, bringing in about $45 million a year. In a statement on its website, the Outdoor Industry Association, which represents more than 1200 businesses nationwide, says industry representatives talked with Herbert on Thursday but concluded that the governor “has a different perspective on the protections of public lands from that of our members and the majority of Western state voters. . .” The association notes that Utah’s elected officials, including Herbert, the congressional delegation, and the state legislature, “have all actively embraced the idea of transferring America’s public lands to the state,” a move the association says resulted in the sale of certain lands or restricted access. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that a spokesman for Herbert called the outdoor show’s decision “a gross ingratitude” and said it perpetuates a false narrative that Utah’s leaders do not value public lands. The Tribune says Emerald Expositions, which owns the show, is requesting proposals from alternate host cities. Denver is reported to be very interested. Emerald Expositions also announced that it will not consider Utah to host its annual international bicycle exposition now held in Las Vegas.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal, and was the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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