Leavitt May Meet With Angry Outdoor Retailers

Leavitt May Meet With Angry Outdoor Retailers

Save Story
Leer en espaƱol

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Gov. Mike Leavitt may meet with angry outdoor retailers threatening to move their trade show from Utah because of his deal with the Interior secretary on releasing federal land from temporary wilderness protection.

The recently announced pact with Interior Secretary Gale Norton would releases nearly 6 million acres of federal land in Utah from temporary wilderness protection. In turn, the state agreed to drop its 1996 lawsuit challenging former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt's providing protection to potential wilderness areas.

Ten environmental groups have filed suit to overturn the agreement.

"This back-room deal with Secretary Norton is 100 percent antithetical to what the outdoor industry is all about," mountaineer Peter Metcalf said Monday regarding the threat to remove two trade shows, which generate an estimated $12 million each in annual economic impact to Utah.

Leavitt tentatively has agreed to meet with Metcalf and other outdoor industry representatives,

"This is really an issue of making sure people understand this administration supports additional wilderness in our state," Leavitt spokeswoman Natalie Gochnour said. "We want to find common ground ... with the outdoor industry."

Metcalf is co-founder of Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., a business specializing in mountain climbing and backcountry skiing gear.

"Peter is on our manufacturing advisory board and a very influential member of our organization," said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the Outdoor Industry Association, whose 1,100 members are the prime movers behind the Outdoor Retailer shows.

"As a whole, our industry has serious problems with behind-the-scenes settlements," he said. "Outdoor recreation has been a second-class citizen when it comes to decisions like this. Public land issues deserve public debate."

Hugelmeyer, who supported Metcalf in a Friday letter to Leavitt, hopes to attend the meeting with the governor and his staff.

Gochnour contends Leavitt's wilderness policies are being mischaracterized.

"The governor has said he would be delighted to take a 'common ground' wilderness bill to Congress," she said. "The governor is very willing to start talking about where additional wilderness should be located (and) the outdoor retailers are an important stakeholder in this."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast