An open letter from Utah to the Outdoor Retailers

Jordan GarnDear Outdoor Retailer,

As I sit here pounding my second bottle of (alcohol-free) Martinelli’s and trying to piece together this farewell letter through cloudy vision, I can’t help but reflect what a great twenty year run we had. As Roxette first sang in the 80’s, it must have been love, but it’s over now. 

I wish I could say it’s not you, it’s me. But that would be as disingenuous as you were during recent negotiations with Governor Herbert.  And while your break up was as painful as a Donald Trump press conference, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t see it coming. For years you’ve been threatening to leave. The grass always seemed greener to you in another state, environmentally speaking.
I saw your texts to Colorado and the multiple phone calls to an Atlanta area code. Never mind that Atlanta is as outdoorsy as the Kardashians. I even saw your Facebook search history where you were checking out salacious pictures of Las Vegas. Really?!  That Jezebel?!
I was never enough in your eyes. When you wanted the Salt Palace augmented, I did it. For you. I was comfortable with the size of my assets but wanted to make you happy. It wasn’t enough. 
Shortly after that, you wanted a convention center hotel to stay with me. All I had to do was pony up $75 million of taxpayer dollars, and we’d spend our twilight years bickering at each other like any other happy couple does. I sacrificed friendships with hotels who had invested so much in our relationships. All for you. 
And before the ink was dry on the bill authorizing the hotel, you started barking up my tree about public lands. Never mind I have as many National Parks as “Patagonia” has syllables. Now you’re courting states whose idea of a national park includes monkey bars and a swing set.  Good luck finding a state with more than 70 percent of its land under federal ownership. 
I know I haven’t been perfect. My alcohol laws are more awkward than a lip kiss from your grandma. My beer is as weak as your penchant for compromise. The Zion Wall makes as much as sense as having to make sure your seat is upright before landing. Then there is my intent to dine law: Alcohol is bad for your body so I thought it would make sense to offset that with nachos or French fries.  
I’m working on these issues. I’m going to counseling. I know I have daddy issues, the product of a paternalistic upbringing. I’m trying to change. 
And if you change your mind, I’ll be right here waiting. In the meantime, you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone. 
Editor’s note: Andy Stephenson contributed to this letter.