SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah News) – Backpacks, base layers, jackets and trail shoes, all outdoor products perfect for Utah, were on display Tuesday for Day One of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market but the CEO Emeritus of Utah-based ski company Black Diamond Equipment Peter Metcalf said the state’s politicians threaten the lands where people use them.
“I believe strongly that the state’s political leadership has really started a all-out assault on the integrity and the sanctity and the protection of our public lands in this state,” Metcalf told ABC4 Utah News Tuesday.
This week’s show brought 22,000 people to Downtown Salt Lake City. The Outdoor Retailer show brings an estimated $45 million to our local economy each year.
Metcalf says leaders like Governor Gary Herbert, Senator Mike Lee and Representative Rob Bishop oppose public lands like the newly-designated Bears Ears National Monument and even though he helped bring Outdoor Retailer here 20 years ago, Metcalf said he’s willing to see it go to a more public-lands friendly state.
“Why are we here?” Metcalf asked. “We are in the birther state of these anti-public land policies that have metastasized and exported elsewhere in the West. We need to stand up to this power to power, truth to power and tell the state: We will not stay here with our trade show if you do not change these policies.”
Governor Herbert did not respond to Metcalf but in a written statement his Deputy Chief of Staff Paul Edwards, said: “There is no all-out-assault against Utah’s public lands. Gov. Herbert has been clear that Utah is, always has been, and always will be a public lands state. What concerns Gov. Herbert is the process that has been used to make public lands decisions.”
Most attendees ABC4 spoke to Tuesday agreed the outdoor industry needs to stand up to anti-public lands policies, even if that means moving somewhere like Las Vegas, Anaheim or Orlando.
“These policies are important to our outdoor industry,” Mike Davis said. “To not allow oil or gas or mining resources or any of those types of things to just come in and take more.”
The Outdoor Retailer Winter and Summer Markets are contracted to be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center through 2018.