SALT LAKE CITY – The outdoor recreation industry is flexing its economic muscle to push for wilderness protection in Utah by threatening to pull lucrative trade shows out of Salt Lake City.
Industry leaders have given Utah's governor an ultimatum: give up an effort to take control of federal lands in the state or risk losing the biannual trade shows that draw thousands of visitors and more than $40 million a year for the state's economy.
It's not the first time the 4,000-member-strong Outdoor Industry Association has threatened to take its business elsewhere.
In 2003, the group threatened to pull the shows unless then-Gov. Mike Leavitt curbed an effort to open dirt paths across federal lands to motor vehicles. Leavitt compromised and the shows stayed.