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outdoor industry

Photo of Cullum.
Holly Vasic / KUER

Utah State University is celebrating the first graduates of its Outdoor Product Design and Development Program this week. This unique degree is launching students into careers even before they have time to put on caps and gowns.

The outdoor recreation industry is growing faster than ever, especially in our region. In fact, new statistics show this sector grew faster than the overall U.S. economy.

The ongoing trade war with China is feeling close to home these days. Mounting tariffs on outdoor recreation gear may hit the wallets of folks in the Mountain West who love going outside.

On Monday, the Trump administration announced $200 billion dollars worth of new tariffs on products from China.

“This is going to include backpacks, sport bags, leather ski gloves, bikes and some camping equipment,” Rich Harper, a trade analyst with the lobbying group Outdoor Industry Association, said.

President Trump has overturned a rule requiring outfitters to pay river and backcountry guides on public lands a minimum wage.


Judy Fahys/KUER News

Potential energy resources were a big reason behind shrinking two national monuments in Utah, according to a New York Times article on Friday.

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The first Outdoor Retailer Show opens Thursday to a jam-packed Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Its new home follows a major falling out between outdoor industry groups and the state of Utah, including Utah Governor Gary Herbert.

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NOTE: This story has been updated from original publish date. Two Northern Utah Ski Resorts are set to open the day before Thanksgiving according to Ski Utah, the trade group promoting Utah’s ski industry.


Nicole Nixon / KUER

Across the street from the Salt Palace Convention Center, Ed Primosic is pretty much over the Outdoor Retailer shows. He and his wife Kris own the Blue Iguana Mexican restaurant.

The Obama administration’s top lands official applauded the outdoor recreation industry’s work Wednesday to protect public lands in Utah and nationwide.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Utah’s biggest convention is pulling stakes and moving to Denver after two decades in Salt Lake City. The move is no surprise after the public clash between Utah’s Republican leaders and outdoor recreation industry leaders last spring.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management

A week’s passed since the Outdoor Retailers trade show announced it’s leaving Salt Lake City after being here two decades. And there are hints the show is trying to leave Utah even before its three-convention contract is up.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

The announcement came after a tense conference call Thursday between Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and outdoor company leaders.

“It’s too bad,” said Amy Roberts, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association. “We still think that Utah has an opportunity to choose a different path.”

Judy Fahys / KUER News

There’s a saying that people should think of outdoor fun when they think of Utah the same way they think of wine and California. But that prized brand identity is at risk now, as tension builds for Gov. Gary Herbert’s meeting with outdoor industry officials on Thursday afternoon.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

The outdoor industry’s winter trade show is back at the Salt Palace Convention Center, along with that ever-present tension between Utah politicians and companies that depend on the state’s extraordinary landscapes.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

The outdoor recreation industry gathers again in Salt Lake City next week for its summer trade show. But, even before the hundreds of companies arrive, they’re having an impact statewide.

One example is Gregory Mountain Products, which has made backpacks for decades. It faced a big decision two years ago, when a Chicago company purchased the brand.

booizzy / Flickr Creative Commons

The outdoor recreation industry is meeting again in Salt Lake City this week. The Outdoor Retailers’ (OR) Summer Market is partly a gathering of retail trend spotters, partly a brainstorming for conservation activists. But it’s also a business convention, with more than twenty-eight thousand people pumping over twenty-million-dollars into the local economy over a few days. 

Judy Fahys/KUER

 A former top lands leader says America’s latest Sagebrush Rebellion is a danger to the nation's public-lands heritage. Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, speaking at the Outdoor Retailers trade show in Salt Lake City Thursday, urged the industry to fight back.

Photo courtesy Moab Desert Adventures

The summer outdoor retailer show is at the Salt Palace this week, and some locals are using the event as a chance to get the increasingly powerful outdoor industry involved in the Utah public lands debate. Instead of “drill, baby, drill” they’re pushing the tagline, “play, baby, play.”