Friday, July 07, 2017

Denver snags vast outdoor show from Utah over public lands politics

Calling open public lands the "catalyst" behind the move, state and Denver officials on Thursday formally announced the high-profile Outdoor Retailer show is coming to Colorado. News of the announcement was reported by Colorado Politics and other outlets on Wednesday, though the pomp and circumstance came on Thursday morning at a news conference with elected leaders, organizers of the trade show, and outdoor recreational industry organizations. "Our announcement today solidifies Colorado's place as the leader in the outdoor recreation industry," said Luis Benitez, director of Colorado's Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, who was joined by Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. Estimates call for 85,000 people per year coming to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, with an annual direct and indirect economic impact of about $110 million per year. It is the world's largest trade exhibition for the outdoor retail industry. State and Denver officials began heavily lobbying for the show to move from Utah to Colorado after some attendees of the event became frustrated with the position Utah leaders have taken on public lands. The show had been in Utah for more than two decades. Pete Maysmith, director of Conservation Colorado, said Colorado has an overall friendlier approach to public lands than what was heard from some Republicans in Utah. Conservation Colorado launched a campaign to woo away the show, including ads in the Salt Lake Tribune and the Desert News. But Colorado Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, cautioned against taking too hard of a jab at Utah Republicans for a policy position that contributed to losing the lucrative show. Grantham reminded Democrats that gun control laws passed in Colorado in 2013 caused Magpul Industries, one of the country's largest producers of ammunition magazines, to leave Colorado. The company last year announced a deal to supply magazines to the Marines, which could have been a boon for Colorado. "It cuts both ways," Grantham said. "Beggars can't be choosers, and we're glad to have them (the Outdoor Retailer show) here. I would hope the other side would be as willing to change their politics to welcome back in Magpul."...more

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