Billboard campaign asks tourists to avoid Utah

Posted at 7:38 PM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 21:38:33-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- An advertising campaign called "U-turn Utah," is aimed directly at Utah's tourist economy in an effort to convince government leaders to stop efforts to seize control of federal lands.

The Center for Western Priorities organized a press conference at Utah's State Capitol Building, showing two billboards they plan to post in Utah, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada.

The billboard intended for Utah reads, "Seizing public lands will hurt Utah's recreation economy. Time for a U-turn."

The out-of-state billboard states, "Get outside in a state that respects our outdoors. Public lands are under attack in Utah."

Among those participating in the press conference is a former appointee of Gov. Gary Herbert, Brad Petersen, who directed Utah's Office of Outdoor Recreation until December 2015.

"I can't find any justification that warrants the State of Utah to saddle itself with the debt that would be required to effectively manage the 31.2 million acres sought in the public lands transfer," Petersen said.

Proponents of state control of federal lands say the state would make money with oil and mineral leases and other development.