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Office of Outdoor Recreation

outdoor_rec A commitment to responsibly growing the recreation economy is a key driver behind Utah being a bastion for both the outdoor industry and the tourism based recreation economy. Not surprising, the recreation economy is a big business in Utah. Utah’s 54 million acres of public land, five National Parks, forty-three State Parks, fourteen ski resorts, thousands of miles of world class mountain bike trails, big-walls, sandstone towers and wild rivers make it a natural.

Outdoor recreation contributes more than $5.8B to the economy, employs more than 65,000 people and is the primary driver behind the $7.4B tourism industry. These factors were  enough to motivate Governor Herbert to unveil Utah’s Outdoor Recreation Vision and announce the creation of Utah’s Office of Outdoor Recreation (OOR) in January 2013 at Outdoor Retailer’s Winter Market show in Salt Lake City.  Utah thus became the first state to have an Outdoor Recreation Office.

Since its inception in late summer of 2013, OOR follows this vision: Establish a nationwide recreation management standard, acknowledging that outdoor recreation is an essential component of Utah’s culture, identity, diverse economy, and well-being, and ensuring that the State’s natural assets can sustain economic growth and quality-of-life dividends for years to come. The office is housed in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and embodies the state’s ongoing commitment to the recreation economy.

The private sector is a key partner in Utah’s success. “Petzl USA, Black Diamond, Gregory, Goal Zero, Skullcandy, Suunto, Rossignol, Salomon, ENVE Composites, Easton, Hoyt Archery, Voile and many other firms are headquartered, distributing, and manufacturing in Utah because of the state commitment to responsibly partnering with the business community,” said Brad Petersen, ORO director.

Fly Fishing“Petzl America opened its doors in Utah in 1998,” said Nazz Kurth, President of Petzl USA. “We chose this location for several reasons including the great quality of life, family friendliness and most of all, the pristine landscapes, amazing public lands and world-class recreational opportunities in the mountains, canyons and deserts of Utah. Today, not only are we still here, but we continue to grow our presence and investment in Utah. It is the perfect place for our North American Headquarters and to train, test and play with our products.”

“The best quality of life needs the right natural assets. It is equally imperative to have the right business environment, workforce and support programs,” said Petersen. “We offer market expansion services, international export advice, rural manufacturing incentives, business relocation incentives, innovation grants, product testing and patent support. I don’t know of any other state which partners with the Outdoor Industry as much as Utah.”

To receive a copy of the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation  monthly newsletter, sign up for Utah Talks Outdoors in the form below. See this page to read archived newsletters.

Utah is Open for Outdoor Business

Utah is becoming a mecca for outdoor products companies.  These companies choose Utah because of its strong economic advantages, such as its skilled young workforce, the low cost of doing business, and business-friendly climate. Utah’s great outdoors provides one of the best proving grounds for hands on product development. Amer Sports, located in Ogden, credits employees frequent use of the nearby trail system for helping push Salomon’s line of trail running products.   And as an Easton Mountain Products executive put it, “We’re in Utah for a reason. Our facility is surrounded by potential outdoor experiences.”OR 350

The easy accessibility is a reason that many companies locate in the urban commercial zones of the Wasatch Front where they have access to world-class business infrastructure—including international air travel, two interstates, commercial and commuter rail lines, world-class research universities, and business resources—as well as the state’s world-class winter and summer recreation within minutes, not hours, of their company doorsteps. The state’s transportation infrastructure provides a regional, national, and international gateway to global markets. This is another reason that Utah is especially attractive as a distribution location for companies such as  Quality Bicycle Parts,  Specialized, Rossignol and Cabela’s .

Salt Lake City has hosted the Outdoor Industry Association’s summer and winter retail trade shows since 1996. These shows showcase the year’s top outdoor products and the outdoor convention goers can enjoy testing out  the latest products at the Outdoor Demo Day, held on the mountain slopes or on the shores of a high elevation lake, a mere twenty minute drive from the convention. Join the many outdoor businesses in Utah with your business and enjoy this beautiful state.

Here’s a sampling of some of the outdoor products companies who are here in Utah.

Get caught up on our latest project.


The Outdoor Industry in Utah


Read the state’s Outdoor Recreation Vision


A look back at Utah’s Outdoor Recreation Plan in 1965



Checkout our official Office of Outdoor Recreation Instagram feed. You can follow us: @UtahOutdoorRecreationOffice


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