New governor vows to defend Colorado lands, outdoor industry

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov.-elect Jared Polis pledged Thursday to protect the state’s public lands and to promote its booming outdoor recreation industry.

“I will very much take seriously my responsibility to be a faithful steward of our outdoor resources as well as an evangelist for growth of the outdoor tourism and recreation economy,” Polis said at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Denver, a trade show of outdoor gear.

“Coloradans truly understood that a vote for me was a vote for public land, was a vote for fun, was a vote for our heritage, and was a vote for the jobs that the outdoor industry sustains across our state,” he said.

Utah is suffering because its leaders didn’t resist Trump’s public lands policy, Polis said, an apparent reference to the administration’s decision to shrink Bears Ears National Monument there.

The outdoor retailers’ summer and winter trade shows moved to Denver from Salt Lake City because of unhappiness with Utah leaders’ position on public lands.

The Outdoor Industry Association, a trade group affiliated with the show, endorsed a slate of candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House and governor for the first time in this year’s midterm elections, and the results were promising, said Alex Boian (BOY’-an), the group’s political director.

Outdoor retailers are also concerned about the escalating U.S. trade war with China, where much outdoor gear is manufactured — more than 90 percent in some categories, said Rich Harper, the association’s manager for international trade.

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