A large coalition of outdoor industry companies are going on record opposing a plan to move the gigantic annual Outdoor Industry Retailer Show back to Salt Lake City, Utah.
The show, which is produced by Emerald Expositions, was moved from Salt Lake City to Denver in 2017 after Utah state officials decided to ask the federal government to change the boundaries of the newly designated Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments in Utah. The monuments were originally designated during the Obama Administration.
24 national companies say no to Utah
The business coalition of at least 24 national companies is saying they oppose moving the annual show back to Salt Lake City and won’t attend any trade show event in the state if its elected officials continue their attacks on national monuments and public lands protections.
“In 2017, REI Co-op strongly supported the decision to move the outdoor industry trade show out of Utah when the state’s leadership refused to protect duly designated national monuments and natural treasures,” said Ben Steele, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for the REI Co-op. “Although those protections have since been restored by President Biden, Utah’s leaders are again aiming to undermine those monuments and their protections. As a result, REI will not participate in any Outdoor Retailer trade show in the state—nor will we send members of our merchandising or other co-op teams—so long as Utah persists in attacking our public lands and the laws that protect them.”
Utah would love to have the show back in Salt Lake City, since it adds about $45 million to the local and state economy. The two protected monuments have received widespread public support, including from the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and more than three million American citizens who submitted public comments five years ago.
The companies in the coalition protesting the show are still angry that Utah Governor Spencer Cox continues to try to strip the federal designations from the lands, while at the same time trying to lure the trade show away from Denver and back to Salt Lake City.
The entire kerfuffle puts show producer Emerald Expositions in a tough spot. If it decides to move the show back to Utah, they won’t have several key players participating.
Outdoor companies currently calling on Emerald Expositions not to return the show to Utah include…
- REI Co-op
- Patagonia, Inc.
- The North Face
- Public Lands
- KEEN Footwear
- Oboz Footwear, LLC
- Sierra Designs
- Peak Design
- NEMO Equipment
- Backpacker’s Pantry
- Helinox USA, Inc.
- U Energy Labs
- La Sportiva N.A., Inc.
- Alpacka Raft