Utah's governor has promised to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation in a vision statement that's just been released. The Outdoor Industry Association, which sponsors Utah's largest trade shows twice a year, complained last summer that Utah's state government wasn't taking outdoor recreation seriously enough and threatened to move unless the issue got some attention. So Governor Gary Herbert assigned his Balanced Resources Council to sit down with industry leaders. The result is the vision statement published on the governor's website.
Governor Herbert told a news conference this was a good idea regardless of the Outdoor Retailers future plans.
"It's important for us as a sector of our economy," Herbert said. "As our ability to optimize our ability to use our public lands and beautiful vistas and venues. And we want them to stay, but this vision's important and appropriate whether they do or not."
Outdoor Industry Association CEO Frank Hugelmeyer says there are still some issues the state needs to resolve.
"Stream access issues," Hugelmeyer said at the joint news conference. "R.S. 2477 lawsuits. The state's efforts to have a greater voice over the control of federal lands. Those aren't outlined or solved in this vision, and that's OK."
The Outdoor Retailers show has agreed to stay in Utah for at least the next two years. Hugelmeyer says his organization will continue working with the state, hoping to resolve the issues where they don't agree.