Utah wants in on the Outdoor Retailer bid process, even though it was uninvited.
Utah knows it wasn’t invited to the bid party for Outdoor Retailer, but it has submitted an unsolicited proposal anyway, according to Salt Lake City news outlets.
“We know political winds can change,” Scott Beck, Visit Salt Lake president and chief executive officer, said Thursday, according to the Deseret News. “Since we don’t control political winds, we know it’s in the best interest of (Salt Lake City) to be prepared.”
In February, after a conversation with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, the Outdoor Industry Association, and leaders from outdoor brands, Emerald Expositions said it would not include Utah in the request for proposals process for future Outdoor Retailer trade shows. Officials from the state of Utah criticized the decision as unfair.
The dispute between Utah and the outdoor industry lies over a difference of opinion in managing Bears Ears National Monument. The outdoor industry applauded former President Barack Obama’s midnight designation, while Utah’s elected officials have asked President Donald Trump to rescind the monument. They say they agree the land should be protected, but that Obama’s designation was too broad, too last-minute, and did not involve enough input from residents who live nearby and would be affected by land use restrictions.
Outdoor industry leaders have argued, in return, that threats to Bears Ears threaten the Antiquities Act, which presidents have used for decades to protect large swaths of land. In many cases, those monuments have become national parks.
Outdoor Retailer brings an estimated $40 to $50 million each year to the Utah economy, and residents rely on that income. Salt Lake City businesses and hospitality workers have made it clear they don’t want the show to leave.