FEB 09, 2017 10:01 AM PST

Patagonia Stands for Bears Ears National Monument

Patagonia is calling out Utah for Governor Herbert’s endorsement of rescinding the Bears Ears National Monument, demanding that the state support its public lands and the outdoor recreation that subsists on these lands. In it’s stand, the company has decided to boycott the huge outdoor trade show called Outdoor Retailer, which has taken place in Salt Lake City since 1996 and brings the state $45 million in annual direct spending. It is encouraging other companies to stand up for public lands as well.

Bears Ears as seen from Utah State Route 261. Photo: Mountain Zone

In December, President Obama used his power through the Antiquities Act to designate 1.35 million acres in the Four Corners region as the Bears Ears National Monument. The move was controversial; many Native American tribes, conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts were thrilled while many Republicans and rural groups felt it was a “land grab.”

Patagonia’s website states its view with words from the company’s president and CEO, Rose Marcario : “Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution on Friday urging the Trump administration to rescind the Bears Ears National Monument, making it clear that he and other Utah elected officials do not support public lands conservation nor do they value the economic benefits - $12 billion in consumer spending and 122,000 jobs – that the outdoor recreation industry brings to their state. Because of the hostile environment they have created and their blatant disregard for Bears Ears National Monument and other public lands, the backbone of our business, Patagonia will no longer attend the Outdoor Retailer show in Utah and we are confident other outdoor manufacturers and retailers will join us in moving our investment to a state that values our industry and promotes public lands conservation."

Utah-based company Black Diamond Equipment has joined Patagonia, and its founder Peter Metcalf also expressed his disagreement with the the “hostile environment in Utah against public lands”, which are not limited to to the Bears Ears controversy. Republican Congress Rep. Rob Bishop, has also suggested a bill which would make it easier to transfer federal land to local governments to potentially sell them, making federal conservation lands vulnerable to private developers.

Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard publicized his opinion in an op-ed which he entitled The Outdoor Industry Loves Utah; Does Utah Love the Outdoor Industry? He blatantly called out Governor Herbert, writing “If Gov. Herbert doesn’t need us, we can find a more welcoming home. Gov. Herbert should direct his Attorney General to halt their plans to sue and support the historic Bears Ears National Monument. He should stop his efforts to transfer public lands to the state, which would spell disaster for Utah’s economy,” he said, commenting on the fact that the outdoor industry creates three times the amount of jobs than the fossil fuels industry.

The Outdoor Industry Association is the organizer of the trade show. In response to Patagonia’s stance, the association announced that they will begin the search for a new host city that will show more support for public land conservation. “Outdoor Retailer has always been about ‘Right time, right place, right stuff,’” Marisa Nicholson, show director for Outdoor Retailer, said in a press release. “We’ve been listening to the concerns from the industry and agree that it’s time to explore our options.

Sources: Patagonia, The Salt Lake Tribune, USA Today

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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