Party Over Policy? Rubbing Salt in the OR Wound

Gone are the days when flannel shirts, beards, and Subarus flock to Salt Lake City for the annual granola festival at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

It’s so interesting that the state of Utah – projected to be one of the top states for businesses – would not care about one of its largest industries. And so the Outdoor Retailer show has decided it is time to move away from its Salt Lake home for greener pastures and a state that cares about human-powered recreation.


By Palacemusic - Prise de vue personnelle, CC BY-SA 3.0


I can’t say I’m surprised by this outcome. The outdoor industry has to start throwing its weight ($$$) around as an industry or it won’t ever be seen as one. And if Utah bowed down, they would be seen as weak and unable to withstand pressure from corporations, causing a domino effect leading to more industries doing the same. That’s the political world we live in. No compromise or caring for what is better for the majority of people, just doing what the ideology insists we do.

For those unaware of why this happened, Utah legislatures have been hard at work to change federally-managed public lands into state-managed public lands. Why do they want that? It’s a long story. I’ll admit that on the emotional-level there is validity to both sides. But research, facts, studies, and all manner of things simply don’t align with the state to show that this is a good idea. Public lands are better left up to federal management.

It sucks to see the OR show leave, but I’m glad they did and stuck to their word.

Will I miss the ease of attendance I’ve enjoyed for the past few years? Totally. It was very convenient to hop on the Red Trax Line and be there as I needed/wanted to, have a meeting and then come right back to work. I got to stay in my own bed at night, see my family, show my friends who come each time where I recreate. It was awesome.


The author and his daughter (in a Kid Carrier, of course) at Outdoor Retailer.


Now I have to travel to Denver. Ugh!

The people that are going to miss it the most in SLC are the downtown businesses that struck it rich every six months when a large portion of the 6.1 million American outdoor industry employees dropped in for a few days and spent almost $50 million downtown.

It really sucks for them that their “business-friendly” politicians put party over policy.

Be sure to check out other posts from Keith Howells.

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