SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A Colorado land conservation group placed playful advertisements Wednesday in Utah’s two largest newspapers claiming the neighboring state would be a better home for the lucrative Outdoor Retailer show than Salt Lake City.
The half-page advertisements from Conservation Colorado appeared in the sports sections of The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News as show organizers consider moving the show after two decades in Utah.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and the state’s Republican leaders are facing backlash from the outdoor industry for their calls to have President Donald Trump rescind the designation of the new Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Patagonia is leading a call to boycott shows in Utah.
The ads jab Utah for its public lands stance and poke fun at the state’s conservative culture, saying Colorado is better.
“We have stronger beer. We have taller peaks. We have higher recreation. But most of all, we love our public lands,” the ad said.
The advertisements point out that Colorado has fought legislative attempts to give the state control of federal public lands.
“Colorado knows protecting public lands is just good business,” the ad said.
Utah state officials have been at the forefront of a push by Western states to seize control of federal lands. The state is considering a multi-million dollar lawsuit to challenge the U.S. government’s control of federal lands that make up two-thirds of the state.
Outdoor Retailer show organizers have not said which cities they will consider for a new home. But Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper recently said his state would be a good fit for the show, the Denver Post reported.
The show has a contract for three more events in Salt Lake City, the last in the summer of 2018. The show is planning to move from the current format of two shows each year to three.
The shows bring an estimated $45 million in annual direct spending.
Gov. Herbert is scheduled to meet Thursday with outdoor retailers to try to smooth the discord. His office did not immediately comment Wednesday on the advertisements.
The advertisements ran a day after a coalition of major outdoor companies ramped up a threat to push the show to leave Utah unless the governor and elected officials back away from policies they say threaten public lands.
By BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press
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