Colorado Governor Called on Emerald X for Outdoor Shows

Bennet, Hickenlooper, Polis Call on Emerald X to Keep the Winter and Summer Outdoor Retailer Shows in Colorado

DENVER  CO (STL.News) Today, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and John Hickenlooper (D), and Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) called on Emerald X to keep the winter and summer Outdoor Retailer Shows in Colorado.

In a letter to the show’s owner, Bennet, Hickenlooper, and Polis highlighted Colorado’s growing outdoor recreation community and continued commitment to protecting public lands and addressing climate change to support the state’s robust outdoor economy.

“Locating the Outdoor Retailer Show in Colorado has provided an excellent opportunity for the industry to connect to other businesses and potential customers from across the country,” wrote Bennet, Hickenlooper, and Polis in a letter to Emerald X.  “Denver continues to be an incredible location for the Outdoor Retailer Show with world class amenities including the fifth busiest airport in the United States with 220 non-stop destinations, a modern light rail from the airport into the heart of downtown, and a vibrant downtown with myriad opportunities for visitors to enjoy.”

“The leaders of the outdoor industry have spoken with an articulate and strong voice that this cornerstone event belongs in a state that shares its values on public land and recreation. Colorado is the perfect match to continue as the home of the Outdoor Retailer Show.  Thank you for your partnership over the years.  We look forward to continuing to work together to expand the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado and across the West,” they concluded.

In February 2017, Bennet, then Governor Hickenlooper, and former Senator Gardner sent a letter to the show’s owner, Emerald X, to encourage its consideration of Colorado as the new host for the popular recreation conventions.

In July 2017, Bennet, Hickenlooper, and Gardner applauded the Outdoor Retailer’s decision to move its Outdoor Retailer trade shows to Denver.  Beginning in January 2018, the shows hosted in Denver have included both a winter and summer Outdoor Retailer Show that have drawn industry leaders to Colorado.  Both shows have served as a gathering for important efforts to protect Colorado’s public lands, including the launch of the CORE Act in January 2019.

The agreement to host the shows in Colorado expires in June of this year. Bennet, Hickenlooper, and Polis are urging Emerald X to renew their contract and keep the shows here as Colorado aligns closely with the values and priorities of the outdoor industry on ongoing priorities such as the restoration of Bears Ears National Monument.

The text of the letter is available below:

Dear Mr. Sedky and Ms. Nicholson,

We write to thank you for Emerald X’s partnership on the Outdoor Retailer Show since 2018 and to encourage you to keep both the winter and summer Outdoor Retailer Shows in Colorado.

In 2017, we wrote to encourage Emerald X to move the Outdoor Retailer Show to Colorado because of the tremendous business opportunity for the outdoor recreation community and because of our ongoing commitment to protecting public lands that support a robust outdoor recreation economy in our state.  We believe the last five years have proven that prediction correct.

Locating the Outdoor Retailer Show in Colorado has provided an excellent opportunity for the industry to connect to other businesses and potential customers from across the country.  Denver continues to be an incredible location for the Outdoor Retailer Show with world class amenities including the fifth busiest airport in the United States with 220 non-stop destinations, a modern light rail from the airport into the heart of downtown, and a vibrant downtown with myriad opportunities for visitors to enjoy.  Our state-of-the-art convention center is within walking distance of 1200 hotel rooms and is undergoing a rooftop expansion that will provide 360 degree views of Colorado’s treasured landscapes by 2023. Our state looks forward to continuing a fruitful partnership with Emerald X, working alongside you to ensure years of successful events.

Our state’s interest in supporting the outdoor industry and in hosting the Outdoor Retailer Show in Colorado has only grown over the last five years.  Nine out of ten Coloradans participate in outdoor recreation every year.  Across the state, we can thank the outdoor recreation industry for contributing $12.2 billion to Colorado’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), supporting 149,000 direct jobs, and contributing $6.4 billion in compensation in 2019.  Additionally, Colorado continues to rank first among US states for value added by snow activities, with snow activities accounting for $1.7 billion in 2019.

As a delegation, we see this biannual convening as a regular opportunity to engage with the industry on a shared vision for the future.  We join forces to champion the public lands that make the outdoor recreation industry thrive while working together to fight climate change, an existential threat to outdoor recreation.  The show has regularly served as a launching point for strategic discussions about how we can do more to protect public lands.  We have all personally been to many Outdoor Retailer Shows in Denver.  In fact, in 2019, we worked with OIA, the Conservation Alliance and the conservation community to launch the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act.  The CORE Act, which is close to passage, would codify more than a decade of work in local communities to protect more than 400,000 acres in Colorado for outdoor recreation.

In Colorado we take pride in working collaboratively to ensure that our public lands remain accessible for future generations.  This was true when we encouraged you to move the show to Colorado in 2017 and it remains true today. Colorado places our public lands at the forefront of our state’s identity.  Currently we are working with local leaders on legislation to protect key waterways and landscapes including the Dolores River Canyon as a National Conservation Area and to protect public lands in Gunnison County.  We are also working to return millions of dollars in ski area revenue so it can be used for ski areas and recreation management nationwide with the SHRED Act.

As a state, through the Keep Colorado Wild Initiative, we’ve restructured the funding of our state parks, lowering the cost while increasing revenue for not only our state parks but also for innovative conservation and recreation management efforts with federal land managers for the care of our lands, water and wildlife.  We’ve also passed groundbreaking Outdoor Equity legislation that will make our outdoors more accessible and welcoming for Coloradans from all geographies and backgrounds – and in opening doors to the outdoors, this undoubtedly supports the long-term health and diversity of the industry as well.

We have also supported the efforts of our state’s Ute Mountain Ute Tribe to protect the sacred landscape of Bears Ears as a National Monument, including its recent restoration by President Biden.  We view this restoration as one of the most important steps taken by this new administration to both protect our nation’s public lands and restore our commitment to work with our nation’s tribes to deliver the justice they deserve.

The leaders of the outdoor industry have spoken with an articulate and strong voice that this cornerstone event belongs in a state that shares its values on public land and recreation.  Colorado is the perfect match to continue as the home of the Outdoor Retailer Show.

Thank you for your partnership over the years. We look forward to continuing to work together to expand the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado and across the West.

Sincerely,