This Thursday and Friday I once again will have the pleasure of attending and covering the Outdoor Retailers Show for the RVFTA Podcast Network. This show has been in my city for 22 years, but only recently have I had the ability to attend and each time I am consistently amazed. Nowhere else can you find this many outdoor industry related products. It is almost a bit overwhelming but a challenge that I have looked forward to for the last few years.
Earlier in the year, there was a stand-off of sorts relating to the Bears Ears National Monument, which ultimately resulted in Outdoor Retailers picking a new home in Denver. As I prepare to head out to the OR Show, I am saddened by the fact that this may be my last one. I am sad that the parties involved could not reach a mutual agreement and that it resulted in them parting ways. Some companies have even chosen not to attend the OR Show this year as a show of support for leaving Utah.
I was pleasantly surprised, to see the full page ad that was taken out by the Outdoor Retailers Show in the local paper today which I have quoted below. Over the past 22 years, we have grown a huge industry and that will continue to live on and is something that we can all be proud of. While the discussions around public lands may have been hostile and not resulted in a good ending, I think that this letter truly speaks to the spirit of the outdoor industry.
Here is to another great OR Show!
Salt Lake City
To the people of Salt Lake City – the hotel staff, housekeepers and bellhops; the taxi and bus drivers, the rickshaws; everyone at the Salt Palace, in the restaurants, cafes and at the resorts; everyone who keeps the city running; the shop owners and staff; the guides and outfitters; the residents; the first-responders; and everyone who makes up Salt Lake’s unique culture:
When we came to you 22 years ago, none of us knew what to expect. We knew you cared about the outdoors the way we did, and your city welcomed our show with open arms. That was enough for us.
Together we’ve achieved incredible highs. You helped build us. From our tiny trade show, an economic juggernaut has grown – today the outdoor recreation economy generates $887B in consumer spending and creates 7.6 million American jobs. We’re going to be counted as part of the gross domestic product (GDP) now. Americans spend more on outdoor recreation than pharmaceuticals and fuel combined, and that’s something to be proud of. All this is due in no small part to the people of Salt Lake City. You’ve given the outdoor industry a home – a place to gather, to share ideas and to move our businesses forward. You are part of this industry and your businesses thrived alongside.
We are moving into our next chapter. It’s about doing what is right. It’s about open spacesand getting outside, action over words.
Salt Lake City, this isn’t the end of our decades-long partnership. It’s an evolution. We support the outdoor businesses and every person who lives in and moves through Utah, who ventures outside, who knows what’s important about things wild and free.
Thank you for 22 years. Thank you from our industry. This isn’t goodbye, because we know this isn’t the end.
The Outdoor Retailer Team