SLC: Our outdoor legacy endures

It is disappointing that the Governor’s Office and the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) were unable to find a path forward which would keep the Outdoor Retailer shows where they belong, in Salt Lake City.

In a meeting earlier this week I spoke with Mayor McAdams, Mayor Mike Caldwell and Governor Herbert about the concerns the Capital City had and shared. I left our meeting knowing we needed more time and further conversations with key members of OIA at the table.

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. 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.

For years Salt Lake City has led the way in taking action to protect the environment, including passing one of the most progressive clean energy resolutions in the country. For nearly one hundred years, Salt Lake City has vigorously protected the land and streams in our area’s delicate watershed—including this year when they once again came under scrutiny by land speculators. And Salt Lake City is proud to be the international gateway to five National Parks and beautiful landscapes in southern Utah, including Escalante National Monument and the sacred lands of Bears Ears National Monument, which deserve protection.

Salt Lake City will continue to work with the outdoor recreation industry, and other allies, to make clear we share the industry’s ethos and work to promote those values both locally and nationally.

While this decision creates a significant economic impact to businesses in our city and revenues that help sustain services Salt Lake City provides, I have the utmost confidence in Visit Salt Lake and others to attract new conventions to the area.

I am truly concerned about those in Salt Lake City who relied on the Outdoor Retailer shows for their livelihood, but had little voice in this conversation. These include servers and bartenders, restaurant and shop owners, and even local artists, many of whom rely on those two-weeks for much needed income.

As we move forward, I hope all leaders—both government and industry—prioritize people over politics, and work harder to find common ground on these contentious issues. Leaders must work together to create the path forward that serves us all well.

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