Outdoor recreation industry energized by backlash to downsizing of Utah national monuments, with focus on 2018 elections
Outdoor Industry Association chief: “They underestimated how people feel about their public lands”
President Donald Trump’s downsizing of two massive national monuments in Utah sparked a furious backlash from Native Americans, conservation groups and the outdoor industry, which moors its future in public lands.
“I don’t think it is controversial, actually,” Trump said Monday in his announcement of monument reductions in Utah’s capitol, where thousands of protesters marched in opposition. “I think it’s so sensible,”
Trump, obviously, hasn’t been listening to the outdoor recreation industry. That’s nothing new. The industry has long lingered in the background when it comes to policy impacting public lands, typically taking a backseat to oil and gas, mining, grazing and timber industries.
But in the last year, as Trump weighed the reduction of Utah’s 1.4 million-acre Bears Ears and 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, the outdoor recreation industry has galvanized, using its growing clout to try and sway the president and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke from what it called an attack on public lands.
The industry yanked its twice-a-year Outdoor Retailer trade shows out of Salt Lake City — lucrative gatherings that not only swelled city coffers but lured dozens of outdoor businesses to set up shop in Utah — citing the state’s push to reduce federal land protections.
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