Outdoor brand Patagonia has decided to not attend the Outdoor Retailer gear show as long as it’s held in Utah. Patagonia made their announcement on Tuesday because of a resolution signed by the state governor, which urged President Donald Trump to rescind the newly-designated Bears Ears National Monument.
Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard is a huge supporter of public lands and says they are an extremely necessary part of their company.
“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,” said Patagonia president Rose Marcario. “… 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 Black Diamond and its founder, Peter Metcalf, are also opponents of the hostile way Utah leaders view public lands.
The resolution on Bears Ears came along with a change in the way federal lands are valued. This change would make them easier to sell, which isn’t good for anyone who enjoys the outdoors.
This doesn’t necessarily mean Patagonia won’t attend Outdoor Retailer since show organizers are accepting proposals from other cities that are interested in hosting the semi-annual event. This would be a big change if a different city hosted the show, especially one not in Utah, since the convention has been in Salt Lake City for two decades.
“We’ve heard member discontent as well as comments from Utah’s [political] delegations and efforts on public-land policy that are out of alignment with what our industry stands for,” said Amy Roberts, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association, who said it would be good for the show to seek new host cities.
“The overriding theme,” Roberts said, “is a disagreement over keeping public lands public, and we really see that as a foundational issue for our industry.”
The only one who wins when public lands cease to be public are the ones who were rich enough to buy them. If it’s public, keep it public.