From The Salt Lake Tribune (Erin Alberty):
As Outdoor Retailer begins its first trade show here after 20 years in Salt Lake City, conservationists are celebrating a sense of relief to be out of Utah and in a state where protections for public lands enjoy broad political support.
Also: “The beer is stronger, the peaks are taller and the recreation is higher,” Maria Handley, of Conservation Colorado, proclaimed to a cheering crowd Wednesday night at a party welcoming the massive trade show to Denver.
Utah’s chances of recovering the goodwill of the outdoor industry’s leadership appeared to fade as Outdoor Retailer settled into its new home — with some still reeling from President Donald Trump’s December order drastically reducing Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, which Utah’s elected officials strongly advocated.
“If there’s any doubt that we made the right move coming to Colorado, I think it’s dispelled,” John Sterling, director of the Conservation Alliance, said to applause.
As exhibitors filled the Colorado Convention Center on Thursday, the focus was on sales — and vendors were cautiously optimistic that this year’s show, bigger than last year’s, would prove fruitful.
But on Wednesday night, in Denver’s crowded civic center, industry and government leaders stressed their public policy partnership in Colorado. Gov. John Hickenlooper recited a list of political victories for public lands, from Colorado’s bipartisan defense of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument to the Legislature’s tense but ultimately successful designation of the Colorado Public Lands Day holiday.
“Clean air, clean water, public lands,” Hickenlooper said, “that’s about the most nonpartisan position you could have.”