Friday, February 09, 2018

Politics prompted outdoor retailers to leave Utah. New poll appears to back them up

Rocky Barker

Western politicians on both sides of the aisle ignore public land issues at their own peril, said Amy Kleiner Roberts. Roberts was a key campaign staffer for former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt in the Republican’s 1994 race for governor. Now executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association, she spent four days in January at the Colorado Convention Center for the Outdoor Retailer & Snow Show — relocated from Utah for the first time in 20 years. Colorado College has sponsored its Conservation in the West poll for eight years. It used the show to release its latest version, which for the first time includes Idaho. The results: 84 percent of the 400 Idahoans surveyed see themselves as an outdoor enthusiasts, compared with 74 percent of the overall 3,200 people polled across eight states. Seventy-six percent of westerners viewed themselves as conservationists, a 13 percent jump from the poll’s findings in 2017; Idaho was similar. “I think the poll shows the issues of public lands and outdoor recreation are going to be on voters’ minds in the midterm elections,” Roberts told the Statesman. They’re already on her organization’s mind. The Outdoor Retailer show left Utah after leaders there refused to back off two issues: their call to transfer federal public lands to the state, and their opposition to Bears Ears National Monument. Utah’s strident positions, followed by President Trump’s reduction of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, have left the outdoor industry feeling justified in its decision to protest through economic power. And many downtown Salt Lake businesses are paying the price. Outdoor Retailer brought 29,000 people to Denver last month. It packed 7,500 retail buyers from 60 countries and more than 1,000 brands into that convention center, the largest event it has ever hosted. After two more shows this year, the group’s 2018 economic impact on Colorado is expected to be more than $110 million, Roberts said...more


Anonymous said...

Only let the retailers in that sell Ariats, Stetsons, Resistols, Wranglers and the old-style Rocky Mountain jeans.

...Cruel Girls don't impress me much.

Dave Skinner said...

All the money was spent in TOWN. That matters.