Move Outdoor Retailer to New Mexico!
The Outdoor Industry Association just announced that it will no longer hold its twice-yearly trade show in Salt Lake City, citing the efforts of Utah's elected officials to sell off public lands and undermine our nation's conservation legacy. The Outdoor Retailer shows generate more than $45 million in annual economic impact, so this is a significant move and sends a strong message that these proposals to sell or restrict access to America's public lands are bad for business.
I sent a letter urging the Outdoor Industry Association, which represents more than 1,200 outdoor businesses nationally, to give strong consideration to the state of New Mexico as its new location to hold the trade show. The outdoor recreation industry is one of the largest sources of economic growth in our state, directly supporting 68,000 jobs and providing more than $450 million in tax revenue and $6.1 billion in consumer spending annually.
In the West, our livelihoods are rooted in our open spaces. Families have long histories of using our public lands for hiking, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor traditions, both new and old. Without access to our public lands, those opportunities would disappear. I remain deeply committed to standing with New Mexicans today and every day to protect and conserve our public lands, water, and wildlife for all to enjoy.
I hope you can take a moment to read the editorial below from The New Mexican about why "There is no place better than New Mexico for an event celebrating the outdoors." This is an opportunity we should embrace to demonstrate our state's unwavering commitment to protecting our natural heritage and growing our outdoor recreation economy.
United States Senator
Monday, February 20, 2017
The New Mexican
New Mexico should jump on the opportunity to woo the nation's largest outdoor retailers' trade show now that it is leaving Utah.
Retailers, upset over Utah leaders who back proposals that reduce support for public lands, had threatened to move the Outdoor Retailer trade show from Salt Lake City. Last week, organizers made good on the threat, announcing that the twice-yearly show is moving. What's more, the organizers will not let Utah bid on the Interbike trade show, which is considering a move from Las Vegas, Nev.
There is no place better than New Mexico for an event celebrating the outdoors. It will be competitive, and Colorado and other Western states, including Oregon and Montana, already are making overtures. A Colorado group even purchased Utah newspaper advertisements last week inviting the show.
The show, hosted by the Outdoor Industry Association, represents some 1,200 outdoor businesses and generates more than $45 million in annual impact. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, an avid sportsman, already has written the association to express New Mexico's interest. All of our Congressional delegation should join in, with strong follow through from the governor and mayors of cities that could host the show. New Mexico retailers in the association also can weigh in.
Why New Mexico? There is no state in the country with more grassroots support for public lands. After all, the first designated wilderness area in the nation was in the Gila National Forest, designated back in 1924, and love and support for the people's right to enjoy the outdoors has continued unabated since then. There is a natural connection between this industry and a state where people hike, camp, fish, hunt, bike, kayak, sail, ski, board, snowshoe and otherwise while away hours in the great outdoors.
New Mexico understands the industry as an economic booster. The outdoors is more than recreation, it bolsters the economies of towns and cities across the state in clean, sustainable fashion. There is a reason that the Taos and Las Cruces regions strongly supported the designation of national monuments under President Barack Obama - business owners and government officials alike understood that adventure visitors improve tax revenues.
In the letter to trade show owner, Emerald Expositions, Heinrich said, "Importantly, the outdoor recreation industry is one of the largest sources of economic growth in our state, directly supporting 68,000 jobs and providing more than $450 million in tax revenue and $6.1 billion in consumer spending annually. I hope the outdoor recreation industry will join us in New Mexico as we work to improve access, reauthorize key conservation programs, and stand firm against any effort to seize our lands."
Like most residents of the state, Heinrich understands that, "New Mexicans' livelihoods are rooted in our open spaces. Families have long histories of using our public lands for hiking, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor traditions, both new and old. New Mexicans also share my unwavering commitment to protecting our natural heritage for our children and for generations to come, and know firsthand that conservation and growing the economy are inextricably linked."
The Outdoor Industry Association understands that connection, too, and was incensed over various actions from elected Utah officials that put their livelihood at risk - that's why we already had called for New Mexico to win this show. We just hope there's adequate convention space to make a solid bid.
What the retailers want is not out of line for businesses that depend on outdoor activities to thrive - they are voting with their pocketbooks by choosing to move. Specifically, industry representatives wanted Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to end legal efforts or support for congressional action making it easier to sell or transfer federal lands to states; to stop trying to nullify the Antiquities Act, the law used to designate monuments by the president; to stop seeking to reverse the designation of Bears Ears National Monument; and to show other support for public lands.
The governor did not budge. The show will move. Utah's loss could be New Mexico's gain.