Outdoor Industry Association Presents Friend of the Outdoor Industry Award to Utah Governor Gary Herbert


From OIA:

Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) presented the OIA Friend of the Outdoor Industry Award to Governor Gary Herbert of Utah last evening at the Advocacy Leadership Awards Dinner. The Governor was recognized for his efforts in 2013 to promote the outdoor recreation economy, and elevate outdoor recreation as an economic priority essential to Utah’s economy and quality of life.

OIA established the Friend of the Outdoor Industry Award to recognize the most significant public policy achievements on behalf of the outdoor industry that occurred in the prior year. Since 2001, OIA has presented the OIA Friend of the Outdoor Industry Award to nearly 30 public and elected officials who have demonstrated a commitment to the growth and success of the outdoor recreation industry.

“This award does not signify the end of this story or the work to be done in Utah.  We thank the governor for finding common ground and making tangible progress in support of the outdoor recreation agenda,” said Kirk Bailey, Vice President of Government Affairs for OIA.

The award was presented to the Governor for his actions following OIA Board of Directors encouragement that he create a vision for outdoor recreation in Utah. Six months later, Gov. Herbert unveiled the Utah Vision for Outdoor Recreation at the OR Winter Market 2013 and during the 2013 state legislative session, Gov. Herbert convinced the Utah Legislature to establish and fund the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, the only one of its kind in the U.S. In summer 2013, the Governor hired an Executive Director to lead the Office of Outdoor Recreation.

In addition to this unique step in support of outdoor recreation, Gov. Herbert stepped up for the Book Cliffs, urging the renegotiation of the lease to safeguard recreational values in August of 2013. He brought together stakeholder groups to get a three-year delay to preserve hunting and fishing in the Book Cliffs region.   He also worked to reach a compromise with Sec. of the Interior Sally Jewell to re-open five national parks and three other nationally run locations during the October 2013 federal government shutdown. He agreed to pay the NPS to reopen the parks, and spoke out publicly about the economic important of the national parks to Utah.

Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, CO, with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment and services. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.



  1. January 23, 2014

    Governor Gary Herbert
    350 North State Street, Suite 200

    PO Box 142220

    Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2220

    Dear Governor Herbert,

    Congratulations, Governor, on receiving the 2014 ‘Friend of the Industry’ award. It is clear that you have made a substantial commitment to furthering the Outdoor Industry in Utah, and making it “The Right Place” for Outdoor Recreation. I commend you on your efforts over the past year.

    In your acceptance speech, you addressed the efforts to find ‘common ground’ and ‘compromise’ both within your family and your politics. I feel as though I must address the elephant in the room – where is the compromise on the 3,200 miles of Utah rivers and streams that are currently off-limits to the public?

    Governor, these are rivers and streams that have been utilized since the early pioneers settled in Utah, both for survival, and for recreation. As early as the First Sabbath, Brother Brigham Young is stated to have said that, “there would be no private ownership in the water streams.” Since that time, two Utah Supreme Court decisions have affirmed the public’s right to use these rivers, and to touch the river beds while doing so. Even Article XVII of the Utah Constitution states that “All existing rights to the use of any of the waters in this State for any useful or beneficial purpose, are hereby recognized and confirmed.” Any useful and beneficial purpose, Governor, including recreation.

    Yet since 2010, should the public fish, swim, recreate, and touch the riverbed, as the pioneers did on nearly half of Utah’s rivers and streams, we are criminals.

    In 2011, fishing contributed $865M to the State’s economy. When you add in kayaking, and other river-centric forms of recreation, that number exceeds the $1.12B generated by the ski industry. There are only so many miles of rivers and streams – infrastructure with which an industry can be built upon – within the State of Utah. When you consider the fact that nearly half of the rivers and streams in the state were handed over to private interests in 2010, so was half of the associated recreation dollars, half of the jobs, and half of the economic impact that could be made to rural communities, at the very least.

    Over the past 4 years, we have worked hard to bring all parties to the table and discuss compromise. Our solution – the ‘common ground’ – is a compromise based
    on Idaho law, protecting both private property and public rights. I guarantee in the early 1970’s Idaho faced a similar struggle between private and public interests. But when we fast forward to today, what we see is this: a law that has worked in Idaho for nearly 40 years, and has fostered the development of several of the greatest fly fishing destinations in the world. Destinations that would not make the map without the rivers that support their local industry, and the economic value that they contribute to the state of Idaho.

    All we ask of you is this, Governor. Find the common ground. Support compromise. If given the opportunity, allow HB37 the shot to put Utah among the world-class fly-fishing destinations with Idaho and Montana.


    Kris Olson, President
    Utah Stream Access Coalition
    PO Box 91154
    Salt Lake City, UT 84109

  2. My jaw dropped when I read the above about the award.
    Either the awarders are trying to shame him into changing and doing right or they don’t care that he hurt the river users in the state more than anyone since Governor Leavitt did his nasties trying to keep his brother from getting in trouble for bringing whirling disease into the state. Leaviitt fired the best fish and game director the state has ever had and cut their budget to put the kabash on the investigation. Herbert took away access to hundreds or thousands of miles of trout streams just to please his real estate buddies. I like my former neighbor Gary Herbert personally and 90% of what he does as governor but cannot condone his actions against sportsmen of Utah. I’m big on the “public trust” part of public waterway access and don’t take it lightly when people try to close down my rights to fish the waters of this great country.

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