Politics behind Outdoor Retailer show’s move from Utah to Colorado

People walk through the Outdoor Retailer show at the Salt Palace Convention Center on Jan. 11, 2017. (Photo: AP)

People walk through the Outdoor Retailer show at the Salt Palace Convention Center on Jan. 11, 2017. (Photo: AP)

Politics has been cited as one of the main reasons the nation’s largest outdoor recreation show will be moving from Utah to Denver next year, the Associated Press reported.

The Outdoor Retailer trade show, which puts on two shows per year, will be leaving Utah after 20 years and moving to Denver due to Colorado’s more progressive political climate.

The show’s organizers said they had considered moving due to Utah’s Republican state leaders’ opposition to more liberal public land policies.

Specifically, show leaders cited Republicans’ opposition to former President Obama’s designation of 1.3 million acres of land in southeastern Utah as Bears Ears National Monument, land considered a sacred site by local Native American tribes.

The move to Colorado was then solidified when Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution aimed at getting rid of the new monument.

“We chose Denver because of Colorado’s long-term commitment to protecting and nurturing public lands,” said Marisa Nicholson, director of the Outdoor Retailer trade show.

Colorado will now have three major outdoor trade shows, one ski-industry show in January and then two Outdoor Retailer shows in July and November.

Pate Maysmith, head of Conservation Colorado, said Utah politicians had hurt their own state’s spending funds by taking stances in opposition to those held by many in the outdoor industry. By losing the show, Utah will lose an estimated $45 million in annual spending.

Thee years ago, Colorado found itself in the same sort of position as Utah does this year, when magazine manufacturer Magpul Industries moved to Wyoming due to Colorado’s magazine limit.