Utah changes its public land tone in plan for outdoor recreation

On Day 1 of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2013, Jan. 23, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and the Outdoor Industry Association announced a plan to ensure a solid future for outdoor recreation in the home state of the trade show.

It may not have seemed possible six months ago, when Utah’s grab for federal land and resulting OIA criticism were hot topics of conversation at Summer Market. But on the first morning of Winter Market, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (photo, left) and Outdoor Industry Association president and CEO Frank Hugelmeyer joined together in announcing an unprecedented and ambitious plan to ensure a solid future for outdoor recreation in Utah that includes access, conservation, tourism promotion and economic development.

During a 40-minute press conference marked by frequent acknowledgment of the collaborative effort required to formulate the plan, known as Utah’s Outdoor Recreation Vision, Herbert and Hugelmeyer both touted its groundbreaking nature and the foundation it sets for constructive dialogue. “This has not been done in other states,” Herbert said. “We are at the forefront in coming up with this vision.” Said Hugelmeyer, “Our goal together is to demonstrate that our industry in Utah can collaborate openly, productively and respectfully to turn this vision into a reality.”

The plan includes a comprehensive overview of Utah’s recreational opportunities, facilities and programs and highlights the economic and lifestyle benefits of outdoor recreation. Notably, it sets forth 10 guiding principles and more than 40 policy recommendations for enhancing the recreation experience and related industries. They range from creating a state office of outdoor recreation and increasing funding for trails and parks to enhancing air quality and water conservation and ensuring balanced resource development.

The plan provides “a pathway forward for what we ought to be doing in our ability to optimize opportunities for outdoor recreation,” said Herbert, who was re-elected in November. “It’s a framework for us to work together in spite of some differences we may have,” he added, calling it a “work in progress.”

Critical issues to address, said the governor, include “the challenge of finding the appropriate balance between protecting recreational areas and the development that needs to happen on public land. Accessing natural resources is something we have to do, but we want to do it in environmentally sensitive ways.”

Herbert will work to support the effort regionally and nationally through the Western Governors’ Association, which he chairs, and the National Governors Association. “Quality of life and economic development are the two main reasons we have to support this vision,” he said.

Hugelmeyer followed Herbert’s remarks by thanking the governor for his “extraordinary leadership in making this happen.” He also noted the plan’s larger implications, given the outdoor industry’s involvement in many economic sectors: “What Gov. Herbert presented is more than just a vision of outdoor recreation in Utah. He presented an economic strategy that’s relevant and can benefit every state in the country.”

He mentioned the plan’s recognition of solid data on public lands as a “big positive,” as well as its commitment to funding recreational opportunities. While acknowledging that the vision leaves issues like river access and federal-land lawsuits unresolved, Hugelmeyer was optimistic that a move toward resolution will occur. “It would be unrealistic for OIA to expect that the state could resolve these contentious issues in only six months,” he said, noting “the mechanisms necessary to address contentious issues in the long term are outlined in the vision. This sets a standard for the country.”

Outdoor industry reaction from at least one stakeholder was cautiously optimistic. “I have to say with full sincerity that I commend the governor and I thank him,” said Peter Metcalf, founder and CEO of Black Diamond. “Anytime somebody puts out a hand, I say reach out and grab that hand.” The outdoor industry in Utah, said Metcalf, “was the one economic sector that had not had any meaningful policies behind it from the governor.” With the new plan outlined, he continued, “Now the real work begins. How do you take a reasonable vision and transform that into a set of policy initiatives [that improve] the long-term viability of outdoor recreation in Utah?”

Though Herbert expressed his appreciation that OR will remain here until at least 2016, he emphasized that the show’s future will not affect the plan. “It’s important to us if the Outdoor Retailer convention stays in Salt Lake City — we want them to stay — but this vision is important and appropriate whether they do or don’t.”

--Cindy Hirschfeld


Utah Governor and OIA Unveil Utah’s Outdoor Recreation Vision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Governor’s Press Contact: Nate McDonald
 801-538-1509 desk
 801-694-0294 cell nmcdonald@utah.gov OIA’s Press Contacts: Avery Stonich 303-638-1586 cell astonich@outdoorindustry.org Kate Fielder 435-640-6110 kate@starviewstrategies.com FOR IMMEDIATE ...read more

Governor and OIA Unveil Utah’s Outdoor Recreation Vision

Governor’s Press Contact: Nate McDonald 801-538-1509 desk 801-694-0294 cellnmcdonald@utah.gov OIA’s Press Contacts: Avery Stonich 303-638-1586 cellastonich@outdoorindustry.org Kate Fielder 435-640-6110kate@starviewstrategies.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 23, 2013 ...read more


Round 2: Utah guv’s top advisers meet with OIA to discuss state’s outdoor strategy

One month after Utah Gov. Gary Herbert faced 90 minutes of tough questions from the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) board of directors about his state’s controversial public lands policies and strategies to accommodate the growing Outdoor Retailer show, the two sides are still ...read more

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 12.24.17 AM

Is Utah coming around on public lands?

Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz posted on Instagram late Wednesday night that he has heard the message loud and clear: America doesn't want its public lands to be sold. He plans to drop H.R. 621, which would have put up 3.3 million acres of land for sale. "I'm a proud gun ...read more


Outdoor Reads: Utah's Gov. makes grand plans; Maryland family supports industry

What did the SNEWS team read this week that other industry insiders might find interesting? Read on to find out! Timberland isn’t the only company that reaps the benefits of “hip” hiking gear. In South Korea, dressing in hiking gear is all the rage, and people will spend some ...read more


Showdown in Salon F: Utah governor, OIA board meet at OR

Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 2-5. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and ...read more

Lt. Gov Spencer Cox

Yvon Chouinard, Peter Metcalf put pressure on Utah for fighting public lands

Peter Metcalf and Yvon Chouinard call for a boycott over the state’s “all-out assault” on protected public lands. For decades, Utah’s granite mountains have served as a backdrop to one of the outdoor industry’s biggest shows. But as the state fights public lands protection, it ...read more

Smiling man in a camoflage cap and sunglasses

Utah has a new director of Office of Outdoor Recreation

After an extensive two-month search to replace Tom Adams, Gov. Herbert announced the new director of Utah’s Office of Outdoor Recreation: Patrick “Pitt” Grew. Grew spent his childhood in the mountains of Utah, skiing every weekend with his parents who both worked in the ski ...read more

OIA, Utah Governor and local businesses meet

The heat is officially turned up to high, and there is little doubt that Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt is feeling less than comfortable under the broiler of public and media attention wrought by the Outdoor Industry Association's backing of the call by Peter Metcalf, president of Black ...read more