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Credit: Larry Johnson, "Denver Skyline at Sunset," December 17, 2009

Denver To Host Outdoor Retailer Show Starting in 2018

Starting in 2018, Denver will host the Outdoor Retailer trade show.

The news comes after the show organizers announced it was leaving its longtime home of Salt Lake City, Utah over disagreement with the political climate.

Specifically, the organizers of Outdoor Retailer, the Outdoor Industry Association and many prominent outdoor recreation companies (including Patagonia and North Face) objected to rhetoric from Utah leadership—most notably Governor Gary Herbert—and Utah Republicans in Washington regarding public lands and access.

In particular, Outdoor Retailer objected to rhetoric surrounding Bears Ears National Monument, designated by President Obama in the final weeks of his administration. Opposition to the monument was staunch among Utah Republicans like U.S. Representative Rob Bishop and Senator Orrin Hatch, while many area tribes (some of whom formed a coalition to lobby the federal government on behalf of monument designation) lauded the decision.

We previously reported that, after a sit-down call between Governor Herbert and OIA reps and companies, the trade show would look for a new home—preferably in the West with a lot of federal land around.

Several western governors and legislators quickly jumped into courting mode. Indeed, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, along with U.S. Senators Michael F. Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R), penned a letter to the OIA highlighting the Centennial State’s commitment to public lands and access.

The letter appears to have helped, as the Denver Post reports the show will officially call Denver home starting January 2018:

City and state officials and industry leaders made the announcement Thursday during a press conference in Denver’s City Park.

“If you look at what this means, that’s a huge benefit, but that’s not what deserves to be mentioned,” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said in announcing the much-anticipated deal. “State parks, wildlife areas. All this stuff comes as an accumulative attraction. It is part of the defining characteristic of Colorado.

“What we’re saying today is that we’re in this for the long term. We’re going to continue to try and talk about the importance of outdoor recreation in Colorado. Henry David Thoreau once said all good things are wild and free. We believe that in Colorado,” Hickenlooper said.

Thursday’s announcement was about more than a trade show.

It’s a dawning for a galvanized, energized recreation community that will grow from Colorado, fomenting political, social and cultural support for public lands, environmental health and the outdoor recreation industry.

Denver’s hard-won negotiations to land the Outdoor Retailer rallies — a combined Outdoor Retailer – SnowSports Industries America Snow Snow in January, a summer show in June and a winter show in November — is a tipping point for Colorado’s surging outdoor recreation industry, a wide community that blends all types of outdoor players in an economy that stirs $28 billion in spending in the state.

“Colorado and Denver has always looked at this as more than a trade event or how it delivers a one-time bump the city’s economy,” said Kim Miller, the chief of Boulder’s SCARPA North America who serves on both the SnowSports Industries America and Outdoor Industry Association boards, the two groups that joined with Outdoor Retailer trade show owner Emerald Expositions to create a combined winter trade show. “This was, on the highest level, an alignment of values and visions and characteristics relative to the way the outdoor recreation industry wants to be and the way the state wants to be. To me, this is the definition of a true partnership. This was the moment for Colorado and it all tipped, in my opinion, toward the logical conclusion that these shows belong here.”

In a short 18 months, leaders from Colorado, Denver, OIA, SIA and Emerald — the largest business-to-business trade show operator in North America — hammered out a deal that typically takes several years. The agreement will put the Outdoor Retailer summer and winter trade shows in the Colorado Convention Center for the next five years, consolidating SIA’s Snow Show — which was booked in Denver through 2030 — with the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market show into a single gathering in January. The summer show shifts from its typical early August date to June and a new Outdoor Retailer winter market focused on soft goods moves to November.

Outdoor Retailer has already released the dates for its upcoming 2018 shows, seen here courtesy of the Post:

• Outdoor Retailer’s Denver dates:
• SIA Industry + Intelligence Day – January 24, 2018
• Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show – January 25-28, 2018
• SIA On-Snow Demo – January 29-30, 2018, Copper Mountain
• Outdoor Retailer Summer Market – July 23-26, 2018
• Outdoor Retailer Winter Market – November 8-11, 2018

bears ears

Background to Bears Ears Controversy

Since the November 2016 election, the Trump administration has taken steps toward altering President Obama’s decision. Although the President cannot unilaterally abolish a national monument designation through the 1906 Antiquities Act, which grants the President power to create national monuments, the president can resize a monument. Indeed, past presidents have increased the size of monuments, while others have removed acres from the designation.

Much of the question vis-à-vis monument designations comes down to whether the monument occupies the “smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” (Nota bene: the Antiquities Act stemmed from interest in preserving Native American artifacts across the West but expanded to include “objects of historic and scientific interest.”)

Indeed, earlier this year, Trump signed an executive order establishing a “review” of national monuments designated in the past 20 years measuring over 100,000 acres. The decision, which encompasses 27 monuments both terrestrial and marine, infuriated conservationists and hunter/angler groups, who viewed it as an assault on the legitimacy of each monument. Patagonia even threatened litigation against any review of national monument boundaries, saying it would “take every step necessary, including legal action, to defend our most treasured public landscapes from coast to coast.”

After soliciting public comment and visiting in-person, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended revising Bears Ears National Monument, although he did not question President Obama’s authority in creating the monument.

Other monuments, so far, have not been singled out for change. Indeed, Zinke said he would “likely” recommend no changes be made to the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument in Montana, a popular national monument that was itself the site of controversy.

The Act has always stirred controversy in Western legislatures, so it’s no surprise Utah’s political leadership reacted as it did. Indeed, legislatures in years past have sought to limit the President’s authority under the Act. To this day, the President requires Congressional consent to create or enlarge any monuments in Wyoming and Congressional ratification is requires for any monuments larger than 5,000 acres in Alaska. Both limitations came after monument designations in each state (1950 and 1980, respectively).

About Sean Reichard

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