Survey Respondents Cite Trails, Skiing, and Access to Wilderness As Most Important Perks in Utah’s Tech Industry

Pete CodellaNews

Utah Outdoor Partners, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute recently conducted a survey of Utah tech industry employees regarding the importance of outdoor recreation and access to wilderness. 

Utah’s tech sector is the fastest-growing industry in the state and offers well-paying jobs that encourage a flexible work-life balance. The state’s easy access to wilderness provides many outdoor recreation opportunities year-round. It’s often used as a recruitment tool for marketing Utah as a place where a work-life balance is accessible, enjoyable, and awe-inspiring.

“The amazing access to outdoor recreation and public lands in Utah are key factors to the economic growth of the state,” said Pitt Grewe, director of the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation. “This report shows that people working across different sectors appreciate the quality of life that Utah outdoor spaces provide. Foosball tables and sleep pods are a cool perk inside an office environment, but not as important as what’s outside the office,” 

The Gardner Institute and Utah Outdoor Partners partnered with Silicon Slopes to distribute the survey. Around 254 respondents representing 141 unique companies participated. Of Utah natives working in the tech industry that left Utah and moved back, “82% said outdoor recreation and/or access to wilderness and public lands was the most important factor in moving back, over family (76%), career opportunities (76%), and cost of living (61%).” 

The survey also found, “Of the 38% who chose to stay in Utah despite a higher-salary offer elsewhere, 85% said outdoor recreation and/or access to wilderness and public lands was their most important factor in choosing to stay. 59% utilize Utah’s outdoors once a week or more.”

Respondents had the opportunity to share comments regarding the importance of the outdoors in their decision to live and work in Utah:

“Outdoor recreation provides an opportunity to engage in healthy activities and movement not available through a mostly sedentary technology-focused occupation. There are also networking opportunities through various outdoor recreation groups.“

“Outdoor recreation is how I maintain balance with my health and well-being. If I don’t have that, I am not successful in other areas of my life.” 

“Few states have the balance of outdoor access, cost of living, and economy as Utah does.”

Read the complete report here.

Learn more about the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute here.

Learn more about Utah Outdoor Partners here.

July 13 Panel Discussion

Utah Outdoor Partners will hold a panel discussion with Gov. Spencer J. Cox, Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson, Representative Doug Owens, Lucid CEO Karl Sun, Pelion Venture partner Carine Clark, and director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, Natalie Gochnour will moderate the discussion. Members of the news media are invited to participate.

The panel discussion will be held on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, at 3 p.m. at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at 411 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111.

For reference, here’s the Agenda and Briefing document.


Utah is home to the first Office of Outdoor Recreation in the country. The office helps ensure all Utah residents have access to public lands and wild spaces to pursue the recreation of their choice. At 75%, a majority of the state consists of public lands, and there are endless recreation opportunities, from winter sports to desert adventures.

The state is continuing its investment in outdoor infrastructure through the Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant. With these grant opportunities, more individuals can experience the outdoors. With these investments, Utah continues to drive the economy in many different sectors.