Outdoor Retailer Trade Show Is Leaving Utah

After a meeting to address the recent disparities between Utah’s state government actions and the ideals of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), the outdoor industry’s biggest trade show is leaving Utah. The meeting did not alleviate recent tensions between the Utah state government and the outdoor industry, and the search for a new venue is underway.

Outdoor Retailer, held semiannually in Salt Lake City brings in 400,000 visitors and $50 million a year to the state. The potential revocation of Bears Ears National Monument and Utah’s additional lack of support over public lands led to unrest in the community, with major brands like Patagonia, Arc’teryx, and Polartec pulling out of the show in protest.

Pressure from these brands and other voices in the community led to the meeting between Utah Governor Gary Herbert and representatives from outdoor recreation businesses. Salt Lake City has been the home of OR for nearly 20 years, and it will be a significant undertaking to find a venue and city that can suit the needs of the show.

The show has become a large-scale gathering of retailers, brands, organizations, and media in the outdoor industry. As a whole, it can function as a collective voice for conservation and action that directly affects public lands and the businesses that depend on them.

“As swiftly as humanly possible, we are doing the work necessary to procure potential alternative locations for Outdoor Retailer.” OR Show Director Marisa Nicholson stated in a recent press release. “Outdoor Retailer is the only gathering where the entire industry comes together to conduct commerce, share best practices and exchange ideas. There is no other event where the most respected iconic brands and retailers… show up en force.”

The show will remain in Salt Lake City for July 2017, and updates on future location will be noted as they are made available.


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Comments 5

  • Tim : Feb 17th

    I am an avid outdoorsman, but I have to side with the Utah government with this one after hearing their side of the argument. It’s not fait to say they don’t supoort public lands, rather they don’t support the federal takeover of their state land. Can you blame them for being concerned about the feds wanting to control more of their resources? Bear Ears is land that could have been a state park or even a private conservation park which could be managed better and even generate revenue for the local economy, but now it is in the hands of the federal government to do who knows what with.

    It is really hard for me to support a new national monument after the last one I visited, which was Russel Cave in Alabama. The natural beauty and access to the cave was managed terribly. The entrance walkway was dug up from an old project and abandoned, left surrounded by ugly orange fencing. No more tours, no more cave access. A total waste of time. If that’s howbthe feds are going to manage sites then I’ll support state ownership from here on out.

    • Bobland : Feb 24th

      I guess I am confused about these comments – my understanding is that these were already Federal Lands mostly under the BLM. So how could they have become a state park? I don’t think anyone wants a private conservation park this would mean the lands would have to be sold off to a group like the Nature Conservancy.

      As for your last comment about Federal management – if Congress would stop cutting the Forest Service’s and BLM’s budgets every year maybe there wouldn’t be a back log of projects.

    • Reilly : Feb 24th

      Tim; you make an excellent onservation. Like you, I favor management of such natural resources as the treasures that they are. Whether this is best handled by state administration or federal, I truly don’t have any strong feelings. Whichever agency provides the best protection, and also the maintenance of which you speak should carry the responsibility.

  • Paul Nehlson : Feb 17th

    A big loss for Utah, and it’ll be a big loss if Bears Ears National Monument gets overturned. I’ve taken my kids backpacking in Cedar Mesa a half dozen times, and it’s a true gem–still relatively unspoiled. http://www.gearferret.com/best-led-lantern-2017/

  • Uriah : Feb 25th

    I reside in Southern Utah most the year, and many of us here simply don’t trust the feds, particularly this latest administration. However, we also know that our state politicians are about as corrupt as they come. (Corrupt politicians, can you imagine that?!). What the state fails to understand is that these federally protected areas are a godsend economically, not to mention ecologically. These tracts of land aren’t solely for human benefit. Good on Obama for having the gumption to see this, and to see ahead in this myopic, crowded, oily world.


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