It's no secret...Utah is a little, uh, quirky. With "public health crises" over porn are readily being declared , The Great Brewvies Debacle of 2016, and the recent changes made to state alcohol laws by Governor Gary Herbert, it leaves many wondering who on Earth we've elected into office, and why on earth anyone would ever willingly visit the state.
Governor Gary Herbert isn't exactly foreign to this kind of criticism either. Herbert was recipient of a harsh letter from Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard for Herbert's proposal to reclaim land from the park service (specifically Bear's Ears National Monument) . Read the letter here. In his letter, Chouinard makes a powerful statement by showing how beneficial the outdoor industry is the Utah's economy. And he's right.
The outdoor industry in Utah brings in $12 billion dollars per year, and provides more than 222,000 people with employment. Why on earth would we want to limit a potential source of income for our state? After refusing to eliminate the bill, Outdoor Retailers pulled its annual show from Salt Lake City. The annual showcase brings tourists from all over the world to Utah, driving millions of dollars in state revenue.
But that's not all.
On March 8th, Utah legislation passed a bill changing the legal limit from .08 to .05. While Governor Herbert hasn't signed the bill into law..yet..but he has expressed his support for the lowering of the legal limit. If signed by Herbert, the change would go into effect on December 30th, 2018 (Deseret News) With this motion, Utah becomes the first state in the nation to lower the limit. What a fantastic pre New Year's Eve gift!
While people don't exactly visit Utah to drink alcohol, they do visit Utah to go skiing, to head out into the great outdoors, and let's not forget the annual celebrity hotspot: Sundance. Can you seriously imagine telling your friends how you visited Utah on a ski vacation, and ended up with a DUI? All because you had a glass of wine for dinner?
Aren't we supposed to be making our state appealing to visitors? What exactly is appealing about "The Zion Curtain", and the dissappearance of public monuments and lands? Not one thing.
Thankfully, Colorado was quick to call us out in an ad published in The Salt Lake Tribune, with the snarky line, ""Step one: Hit the slopes. Step two: Have a drink or two with dinner. Step three: Get arrested driving home."
The ad ended with an open invitation for visitors to visit the Colorado outdoors instead. Way to keep it real, CO.