The Outdoor Retailer trade fair will be moving to Salt Lake City next year from Denver despite threats by environmental groups and large-name recreation companies of boycotting, the organizer announced Wednesday.

Critics say that the Utah legislature is opposed to efforts to preserve national monuments and public lands.

In a letter to stakeholders, Emerald X, the publicly traded firm that owns the biannual event, stated that it could better promote outdoor recreation and fight for environmental protections from Utah, where the show has been held since decades. The show moved to Denver in 2018 after being held there for decades.

The company stated that Salt Lake City was their hometown and they are returning with a commitment towards achieving meaningful change. “In reality, we have not seen the changes we hoped for after 2017, so we will not be pulling back. We believe that being involved and contributing collectively to the ongoing conversation is far more constructive than leaving after 2017.

Denver will host the June event this year, ahead of Salt Lake City’s winter 2023 event.

In February, show organizers were under fire from The Conservation Alliance and two dozen outdoor recreation businesses — including Patagonia and REI — who threatened to boycott the event in Salt Lake City if it was not moved back to Salt Lake City. This despite widespread industry objections.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Jeff Davis, the group vice president for Emerald X stated that the company hopes to persuade skeptical participants to stay with the show.

Emerald X consulted hundreds of exhibitors and firms, and considered several locations, including Denver. He stated that the “overriding majority of outdoor retailers” wanted the event to return to Utah.

Davis stated, “We have spoken to all brands and, while we can’t speak for all brands, our tent remains open.” “We want everyone to be a part of what we believe to be a positive shift.”

Since 2017, when Utah lawmakers requested that Donald Trump repeal Bears Ears National Monument, which was in southeastern Utah, the dispute over the location of the event has been simmering. The Outdoor Retailer Show announced that it would be moving from Salt Lake City to Denver after thirty outdoor retailers objected.

Later in the year, Trump reduced Bears Ears’ size and the southern Utah Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This prompted a lawsuit by Patagonia and a declaration on Patagonia’s website that “The president stole your land.”

The monuments have been restored to their original dimensions by President Joe Biden.

A group called The Conservation Alliance, which includes more than 270 companies, argued that Utah’s political leaders continue to try to destroy the monuments. The majority of the members are outdoor retailers. However, the alliance also includes several banks, breweries and photography companies. Alliance officials didn’t immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

Utah Gov. Republican Spencer Cox asked last year’s show organizers to bring the event back to Salt Lake City. He said that the location provided economic benefits to the state as well as outdoor retailers.

Emerald X also sent a survey asking attendees their thoughts on a move to different cities, including Salt Lake City and Anaheim, California.

Marisa Nicholson is the show director for Outdoor Retailer. She told the AP that it is easier for exhibitors in Utah to demonstrate their ski, snowboard, kayaking, and other products. Outdoor venues that can be used or tested the products are easier to reach than Denver. It can take hours to travel to the Rockies from Denver’s downtown convention center.

Nicholson stated that organizers plan to make the summer and winter shows more accessible to consumers than just commercial buyers or retailers.

Without giving details, she said that Outdoor Retailer will use the revenue it makes from Utah events to help fund public land protection efforts. This includes involvement by local, state and Federal officials as well as state tourism officials.

The Outdoor Retailer Show generates tens to millions of dollars in local economic impacts, but these benefits have been diminished by the pandemic.