Colorado Politicians Enter Bid to Host the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show

Ten days after the Outdoor Retailer trade show said it would no longer host its biannual event in Utah, other states are rolling out the welcome mat.

Colorado’s top politicians on Monday sent a letter to Emerald Expositions, the owner of the industry expo, in an attempt to entice it to move to the Centennial State.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, along with state Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, said Colorado “offers tremendous business opportunity for the outdoor recreation community, and we want to emphasize our ongoing commitment to protect the public lands that support a robust outdoor recreation economy in our state.”

In particular, state leaders highlighted that 80 percent of its residents regularly participate in trail-related activities, and that outdoor recreation is good for the local economy — to the tune of $19.9 billion in Colorado’s gross domestic product.

Executives from Outdoor Retailer said earlier this month it would end its two-decade relationship with Utah in 2018 after it held a pivotal conference call with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert about the state’s plan to rescind the national monument status of the Bears Ears National Monument.

Industry executives from Patagonia, REI and The North Face didn’t like the outcome of the call, and reportedly felt Utah’s policy position would jeopardize public lands.

“We are doing the work necessary to procure an alternative location for Outdoor Retailer,” Marisa Nicholson, show director for Outdoor Retailer, said a day after the call. “Though we may wish it different, this is far from a snap-of-the-fingers thing to make happen. Convention centers and hotels are not sitting idle. In every instance at every potential venue, there are hurdles that have to be cleared, and that simply cannot be done overnight.”

Some states, though, are aiming to make the process go smooth.

“[Our] collective values regarding our public lands complement a healthy economy and make Colorado an ideal location for the Outdoor Retailer show,” read the letter from Colorado officials. “We encourage you to come visit the many trails, lakes and rivers, and mountains, including on the Western Slope and the Front Range. As you consider investing in Colorado, we assure you that while our state will continue to grow and change over time, we will remain steadfast in our commitment to maintain and protect our public lands, for Coloradans and all Americans.”


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