Contact: Jessica Goad, 720-206-4236
The Outdoor Retailer Show and its partners today announced that Denver has been chosen as the new home for the $45 million biannual gathering. While the decision was based on multiple factors, the outdoor industry noted in a February press release announcing solicitations for new show venues that one of the most vital factors was whether the location “upholds [the outdoor] industry’s core values around the importance of America’s public lands system.”
“This announcement establishes Colorado as the national home of the fast-growing outdoor recreation industry,” said Pete Maysmith, Executive Director of Conservation Colorado. “We are thrilled to host the Outdoor Retailer Show and use the opportunity to show off our epic public lands, our forward-thinking conservation policies, and the $28 billion contribution that outdoor recreation makes to our state’s economy. There’s no better place than Colorado for the outdoor recreation industry to convene twice a year. We thank Governor Hickenlooper, Mayor Hancock, Luis Benitez of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, and other leaders who stepped up for our lands and our state’s economy.”
In February 2017, when industry leaders announced that they were moving the show out of Utah due to the extreme anti-public lands stances of the state’s elected officials, Colorado launched an aggressive campaign to lure the show to Denver. One aspect of this campaign was advertisements that Conservation Colorado ran in the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News (seen to the right), communicating to the outdoor industry that Colorado has stronger beer, taller peaks, and higher recreation, but most importantly, a love for public lands.
“Today’s announcement confirms that the embrace of public lands is a winning combination for Colorado’s economy and way of life,” said Scott Braden, Wilderness and Public Lands Advocate at Conservation Colorado and member of Colorado’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry Advisory Council. “It is also a repudiation of extreme and short-sighted efforts by some politicians to seize and sell off our lands. While we hope that politicians in Utah have learned a lesson, unfortunately the desire to privatize or strip protections for our public lands has seeped into leadership in Washington, D.C. Politicians across the nation must know that public lands are critical infrastructure to our success and quality of life, and that any attempt to undo protections for them will be met with fierce resistance.”
Colorado has a storied history of investing in and protecting national, state, and local parks, monuments, forests, and other public lands. For example:
- Colorado has 24 million acres of national public lands including four national parks, eight national monuments, and 44 wilderness areas.
- Colorado was the first state in the nation to establish a state holiday day to celebrate public lands. The first-ever Colorado Public Lands Day was celebrated this May with more than 100 events and thousands of participants.
- State legislators resoundingly defeated all eight attempts to pass land seizure bills in over the last five years.
- In 1992, Colorado citizens passed a ballot initiative to send some lottery revenues to fund outdoors programs in the state. “Great Outdoors Colorado” has become a model for conservation funding across the nation.
The Trump administration has launched several attacks on Colorado’s public lands. These include:
- Threatening to roll back protections for Canyons of the Ancients National Monument near Cortez.
- Suspending public lands advisory councils.
- Proposing to significantly slash the budget for managing our public lands.