Outdoor Industry Association advocates for conservation in Canyonlands area

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SALT LAKE CITY -- For years, lawmakers, retailers and outdoor enthusiasts have been pushing the president to designate a greater Canyonlands National Monument in Utah.

“It's such a vital aspect of our economics and the communities that are surrounding that it does deserve some sort of special attention," said Frank Hugelmeyer, CEO Outdoor Industry Association.

The Outdoor Industry Association wants to see a decision made by the end of the year on the fate of the 1.8 million acres of Utah land.

“Our goal was to trigger a conversation, to get the Canyonlands that special protection so we can preserve the economics to local communities for our industry,” Hugelmeyer said.

And a lot of local retailers said they back what the Outdoor Industry Association is trying to do. CJ Whittaker, VP of Product Cotopaxi, said they are among those supporters.

“Cotopaxi is a local company, we're based in Utah," he said. "A lot of us were raised in Utah, and we very much care about the outdoors and our consumers do as well, and Canyonlands National Monument will make sure our consumers will have a place to play."

But the governor’s office said a national monument is not the best option for the state.

“There's a better way to do this, and that is more in line with what Congressman Bishop is proposing with the public lands initiative, essentially this is a way of saying: 'Let's look at this more carefully. Let's figure out what land needs to be preserved, and lets preserve it,'” said Marty Carpenter, who is a spokeswoman for Governor Herbert's office.

The public lands initiative would designate some areas for recreation and some areas for things like off-road vehicles as well as gas and mining.

“I think there is a way we can get the same benefit without necessarily hurting our ability to do other things in that part of the state,” Carpenter said.

The Outdoor Industry Association said they're open to the initiative.