Patagonia Withdraws from Outdoor Retailer, Protesting Revocation of Bears Ears National Monument
Patagonia is the latest brand to make an active political statement by announcing their withdrawal from Outdoor Retailer—the outdoor industry’s largest trade show—held semi-annually in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their statement is in direct response to Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s move to overturn the Bears Ears National Monument.
Bears Ears was established by Barack Obama in late December of 2016. The National Monument sets aside over one million square acres of public land surrounding two the Bears Ears, a pair of mesas in southeastern Utah. The land has significant cultural and and ecological value, and is managed by the BLM, the Forest Service, and five Native American tribes. Opposition to the Monument believe the land could be better utilized were it not under protection.
Outdoor Retailer brings in an approximate $50 million to the state of Utah every year. Due in part to Utah’s move to rescind the status of Bears Ears, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is not dedicated to renewing their contract to hold the trade show in Salt Lake City. They are open to bids from cities who’s states have shown values that maintain the integrity and mission of the OIA.
In the press release, Patagonia stated:
“Because of the hostile environment (elected Utah officials) 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.”
Patagonia is an industry powerhouse, and this move could signify a wave of activism from an already mobilized group of passionate environmentalists in the industry. The brand has long been outspoken on issues of conservation and environmental policy, and this move follows an editorial from Patagonia founder Yvonne Chouinard questioning Utah’s dedication to environmental protection.
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