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Richard Piatt reporting Cities all over the nation are now actively trying to lure the Outdoor Retailer show from Salt Lake City. Show organizers are angry about Governor Leavitt's deal with Federal officials to release six million acres in Utah from temporary wilderness protection.
Organizers of the show will meet with the Governor to hear him out, but the threat of departure is still sparking shockwaves in the city, county and state.
At the downtown Hilton, they look forward to busy times. Especially every February and August when the outdoor retailer show makes them extra busy.
Steve Lindburg/Hilton Hotel Gen. Manager "THERE IS AN INCREDIBLE LEVEL OF ENTHUSIASM WITH THIS GROUP. THESE PEOPLE HAVE A LOT OF SPIRIT, AND THEY REALLY RAISE THE ENERGY LEVEL DOWNTOWN. "
From the restaurants which feed the hungry outdoor retailers, to taxicabs who haul them from one event to the other, to the countless other businesses that benefit. There is real fear a 24-million cash cow will go away.
It's a response to what Black Diamond's Peter Metcalf calls Utah's 'letting go' of six million acres of wilderness land in a deal between Governor Leavitt and Interior Secretary Gale Norton.
Metcalf, currently traveling out of the country, helped bring the show to Salt Lake City seven years ago, and initiated the threat to move the show again.
Since then, others have weighed in as well. Most recently, Mayor Rocky Anderson, who wrote a four page letter to the Governor this week, an appeal to support the convention.
In part, Anderson urges the Governor to consider 'Utah's future lies in recreation and tourism, not in agriculture and mining,'
The Governor isn't commenting on the situation on camera, but plans to meet with Metcalf and others to explain to those who have "misunderstood the Governor's attempt to find a balanced environmental policy", according to his spokesperson.
In the meantime, others are also scrambling to neutralize the situation. Especially Salt Lake's Convention and Visitors bureau, which organized a meeting a stakeholders for tomorrow.
Dianne Binger/Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau " WE'VE WORKED THROUGH CHALLENGES WITH OUTDOOR RETAILER BEFORE, AND WE'RE HOPING WE CAN WORK THROUGH THESE CHALLENGES, AGAIN. "
The Governor's meeting with Metcalf will be June 4th. Only after that will the city county and state know if the Outdoor Retailer Show is closer to relocating or not