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Could Utah's Loss Be Nevada's Gain?

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(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson,File)

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.

From Zion in the southwest to Arches in the southeast, Utah is an outdoors wonderland. It is home to five national parks and seven national monuments. A little more than 66 percent of the land in the state is managed by the federal government

But with a new administration taking hold in Washington, politicians are already targeting public land. They want to turn federal land over to the states.

Nevada’s own congressional members Rep. Mark Amodei (R) - NV., and Senator Dean Heller (R) -NV., have introduced a bill preventing presidents from using executive privilege to designate or expand national monuments without congressional support.

In Utah, some business operators are trying to fight back.

Peter Metcalf is the founder of Black Diamond, an alpine gear company in Salt Lake City. He also helped bring the world’s largest outdoor retail show to Utah.

He’s pushing to move that convention, which brings 22,000 people to Salt Lake City annually, out of Utah if lawmakers don’t back down.

“Fundamentally it is this, the outdoor recreation industry is one of the industries that America dominates globally," Metcalf told KNPR's State of Nevada, "And we believe part of the reason is access to well stewarded, well protected public landscapes.”

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He said that Utah is home to much of the anti-public lands rhetoric and policies. 

Metcalf admits he can't personally move the tradeshow, but he has worked on the show for many years. He is also heavily involved with the outdoor industry in the state.

If the show is moved, Metcalf said Las Vegas could be an option. He said losing the tradeshow would cost Utah a lot of money. He doesn't believe state officials could afford to lose the show without "paying a high political price."

Metcalf wants the show to stay in Utah. He just has a problem with how some people are approaching the public lands issue.

“I and many other people in the state are at odds with our elected officials over the public lands issues,” he said.

Guests

Peter Metcalf, Black Diamond Equipment

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