Press Releases

February 20th, 2017

PressCamp Statement on our Utah Events

Solon, Ohio - February 20, 2017 - The events of the past two weeks with respect to the Outdoor Retailer trade show future location and the industry's position with the state of Utah are important issues to address. It's clear that there are passions flying around on the topic of protecting public access to public lands in Utah, and by extension the entire country. Should there be a successful rescinding of the Bears Ears' National Monument, more public lands could be poised for reassignment to 'other management entities'. All of us here at PressCamp believe in the value of wild lands protected to maintain intact natural ecosystems to explore on foot, in a boat, on a board or skis, or on a bike. Managing these lands is a complex web of national, regional and local forces interacting and cooperating for cohesive policy. The fact that Utah has stepped out to advocate for a material change in how we treat public lands in the U.S. is a big deal, make no mistake.

The clear question is 'should PressCamp also pull up stakes to make a statement to Utah and find a new venue in a more public lands friendly state?

it's relatively easy to move our events to a new venue. Our business is small-batch, invitational, and curated events that bring specific individuals together for highly productive time, storytelling and real relationship building. We are not responsible for millions of dollars directly to the state... though we do assemble an amazing crew of top media pros whose collective reach is in the millions. And all of their audiences recreate on public lands and have a stake in the outcome of this debate, ultimately over who will manage and control access to our nation's wild spaces.

With some thoughtful debate inside the PressCamp HQ, we have determined that our approach is to:
  1. Keep a level-head while passions are high
  2. Explore realistic options (many, for a small, focused event like ours)
  3. Use PressCamp as an amplifier for discussions of national import (like the public lands debate)
  4. Invite top Utah officials to address the top outdoor media attending PressCamp and get their side of the story out to millions of outdoor enthusiasts across America
  5. Make sure the media we bring are informed and ready to ask meaningful questions of Utah officials who will be present (a tradition begun last year at Outdoor PressCamp)
For 2017 we intend to remain in Utah and maintain direct dialogue with the state's leadership. We know they value the wild and natural places that are so iconic within their state. As we did last year at Outdoor PressCamp, we will bring the state's leadership to directly address the American public via engagement with the invited editors and media-makers that will be attending. Since ours is a more intimate event, we can ask direct questions, hear direct answers, and help outdoor enthusiasts nationwide know the viewpoints presented from Utah's leadership, as well as from the industry and other national leaders in the growing active outdoors movement.

We welcome commentary, feedback and direct conversation on this topic, and know that in order to keep our public lands in public hands, we'll need both unity of purpose across the various industry organizations and events, AND a multi-pronged strategy that goes beyond a boycott of shows, or denying dialogue with an important player in the national public lands debate.

We feel that Americans have a special birthright in pristine wild places that are the envy of the world. Let's work together to grow participation in outdoor activities and stay engaged with those who have other opinions about land use.