- Associated Press - Monday, February 13, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Latest on a tourism spending report that comes out as a debate over the state’s role in management of the Utah’s iconic public lands rages on (all times local):

1:48 p.m.

State tourism officials are promoting the new Bears Ears National Monument on their website despite a push by Gov. Gary Herbert and other top leaders to have it rescinded.

Vicki Varela, the managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism, said Monday that the state had already been promoting some of the natural features of the Bears Ears area before it was declared a national monument.

She says there’s a greater focus on the website because of the monument, including a page dedicated to the 1.35-million-acre monument in the Four Corners region of southeastern Utah.



Varela spoke to reporters alongside Gov. Gary Herbert about a new university report shows tourism spending in Utah hit a record of $8.17 billion in 2015.

Herbert said he didn’t know whether the state would plan to promote Bears Ears National Monument to tourists. He says he and some Native Americans are concerned about attracting visitors who will trample on the sacred lands.

____

11:16 a.m.

A new university report shows tourism spending in Utah hit a record of $8.17 billion in 2015.

Gov. Gary Herbert and tourism leaders are scheduled to discuss the report Monday as the debate over the state’s role in management of the Utah’s iconic public lands rages on.

A lucrative outdoor-gear trade show that brings $45 million in annual spending to Utah is considering moving after two decades in part because of the push by the state’s political leaders to rescind the new Bears Ears National Monument.

Herbert and others believe the state should oversee management of lands to ensure a mix of uses is allowed, including some development, drilling and mining.

Herbert plans to meet with show organizers this week to tout his efforts to protect the landscape and try to persuade them to stay.

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