Here we go again. The Outdoor Retailers Show is threatening to abandon Utah because of a dispute over public lands policy. Our "Political Insiders" are divided over whether to take the threat seriously.
The twice-yearly show brings millions of dollars into Utah's economy, but organizers are upset that Utah is pushing President Trump to scuttle the newly created Bears Ears National Monument. Lawmakers rushed through a resolution during the first two weeks of the 2017 Legislature advocating that course of action. In response, at least four companies said they would no longer participate in shows held in Salt Lake City.
Most of the Republicans on our panel do not believe the threat to leave, while Democrats and our readers say they expect the lucrative convention to look for another host city.
- 62% of our Republicans say the Outdoor Retailers Show will stay.
- 75% of the Democrats who responded said the show would leave as did 81% of our readers.
Selected anonymous comments:
If they have major retailers leaving the show, they will leave the state. Who can blame them?"
They have been bitching and whining for years. They have been a great partner for decades, but there comes a point where you can no longer listen to their yapping like a poodle. Goodbye.
I thought protecting Bears Ears was intended to preserve a Native American sacred site. Now it's about outdoor recreation?
I doubt they will. Seems like just another/latest liberal temper tantrum since Trump won.
I think this might be the final straw.
Unbelievably arrogant. What are we up to on public lands now? 67%? Is that not enough? They have absolutely no idea what that means to Utah. Let them try to find a better state with more open recreation space and less expensive to host their stupid show. They won't. It would reduce their profits. When they see that, they'll make some lame excuse about deciding to stay. I'd love to see us refuse their business but that should never happen. It sure feels good to imagine it, though.
A few years ago, Outdoor Retailers threatened to leave without a new convention center hotel. Now they are upset about the politics of the state. The convention center hotel won't be here anytime soon, but Outdoor Retailers remains. It seems difficult to believe the political issue is more pressing than the hotel.
I really don't care if they do. They're here for one week and want to run the state.
OR is a business proposition. The conventions carry political clout. They will do what is best for their business. They won't find a better place, but they may find a better business deal.
There are increasing numbers of reasons for an outdoor based company to leave SLC. You have the pollution, the attitude toward public lands in general (not just Bears Ears), and the increasing support for a federal government that appears to think that protecting the environment is nothing more than a liberal conspiracy designed to harm businesses. Utah has a long history of outdoor tourism driving our economy (so much so that the state funded our national parks during the last shutdown) and yet our elected officials seem to forget that when it comes to making any decision. Utah business is dependent on our outdoor quality as much as our business regulations. We need people to want to live here if we need them to want to work here.
I hope they do leave so they can realize how great they had it here. Then they'll return unless their egos get the best of them.
They like to threaten, but there isn't another location in the US that offers a major city base camp with easy access and proximity to so many different outdoor activities. It is the same reason so many of us live here.
I have spoken to a dozen or so exhibitors of the OR. They love SLC for our ease of transportation downtown, mostly good proximity to hotels and the mountains/desert. Most of them said that the folks at Black Diamond and Patagonia don't speak for them, nor the majority of the exhibitors. They don't want ever to leave.
The Outdoor Retailers Show would be dumb to leave Utah. Utah is the best state in the country for outdoor recreation. Regardless of whether the outdoor retailer industry may disagree with som policy stances of Utah's elected officials, it doesn't change the incredible access to high-quality recreation found in the Beehive State. I may disagree with almost everything California's legislature does but that doesn't stop me from going to Disneyland. Likewise, political disagreement should not stop the Outdoor Retailers Show from coming to the best state for their show.
The nice part about this being a free country is that you can do business when and where you would like. They picked SLC because it was a nice fit and met their needs. As Utah continues to be much happier privatizing land and supporting the dying extraction industries, the show is free to look for a location more in line with their business. The interesting question is why a state would do so much to support an industry that does so much environmental damage and hires so few workers.
I ultimately believe they will remain here. There's a lot of bluster and noise coming from a few companies, but Utah's present elected officials have signaled they are in no mood to negotiate and won't be held hostage by corporate activism. Utah sells itself as the ultimate destination for their show.
The hubris of Herbert, Bishop, Chaffetz, Stewart is why they will leave. It's too bad for SLC and SLCo, which really have no decent representation due to gerrymandering. I mean, when was the last time Chris Stewart did ANYTHING positive for SLC, the city he supposedly "represents?"
They know a good thing when they see it, and Utah has bent over backward to make their show less costly and well attended. It is political posturing, and I for one am tired of it.
Our Governor & members of our National and local legislators do not represent the opinions and stand of the majority of our citizens. We should protect our public lands and prevent the oil and gas exploration and developers from needless destruction of our national treasures.
This time it will stick. And watch for several outdoor-related companies to follow them out the door.
Every year Peter Metcalf thinks he can dictate pulblic lands and recreation policy for the state and especially rural Utah. It's about time he decides if he is Utahn and can do what is best for the State or if he wants to be a thorn in the side of the good people who are elected to lead the State unless they submit it his black mail to have Outdoor retailers move. I have seen and met with him many times and he seams to want to be another outsider trying to dictate Utah policy. Its time to tell him to become part of the solution and work within the system. Right now his ideas about what should happen in rural Utah couldn't, garner 10 percent of the votes in an election. The tail should not be wagging the dog even if the retailers leave. He has no idea how he is viewed by policy makers when he keeps making these threats and getting others to support him.
The fact that Utah makes billions on outdoor tourism is lost on our extractive politicians.
Emotions drive leftist decisions, not logic, so a move out would make them feel better. Same thing Nordstroms did when they dropped Ivanka Trump's line of products.
I think OR will find a more supportive environment for their biannual conventions and I think that will be an appropriate response to Utah's awful public lands positions. However I'm not sure it wouldn't be more effective for OR to remain in UT and continue to demand better policy from state leaders. If the outdoor industry abandons UT more broadly, nobody will remain with an effective voice for public lands, because Utah leaders do not listen to their constituents who disagree with their positions on public lands.
I'm not sure. A lot may depend on how or if our State and Congressional leadership handles the Bears Ears issue when push come to shove. If an amicable solution can be arrived at, even if the size of the National Monument is cut down in size a bit and our State officials have some ownership in the process, and other interested parties can buy in, that may show that Utah is not just a bunch of yahoos. Then, seeing that our State leadership is open to conservation "within reason", the sponsors of the Outdoor Retailers Show might decide to continue their long and honored relationship with Utah. There is so much "knee jerking" going on that some of the parties involved may become toothless for no reason.
I wish that they wouldn't leave, but I expect them to. Salt Lake City does a fantastic job of hosting the trade show. Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County have invested massive resources into keeping the show here. Unfortunately, Governor Herbert and the State Legislature have tarnished Utah's image to the point that the damage may be irreparable. It's a shame that their actions will do so much harm to Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County, even though most of those residents do not share those extreme views.
They have been a thorn in the side of the State since Governor Leavitt's days -- outsiders wanting to tell Utah how to live and always agitating for an agenda that doesn't compute with common-sense Utahns. They are led by extreme enviros who think that backpacking is the only means to a robust economy. Their departure will be a bit of an economic hiccup, but another show will soon take their place. So long, and don't let the door hit them on the way out.
The Legislature and Governor did not need to pass the resolutions. President Trump already knew the views of local government officials.
I attend the outdoor retailer show twice a year and there is definitely some anger at the way Utah Republican representatives do not value our public lands that are here for everyone, not just for those who want to sell off the lands to the highest bidder.
Let them go. They constantly try to hold the state hostage. I understand it's big, and I've walked the rows of exhibitors booths, and it great, but we can't let the "tail wag the dog." Other events will come, while not as big, it will help cover part of the economic hole.