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Patagonia Takes Action, Withdraws From Outdoor Retailer

In a press release sent out this morning, Patagonia announced it will not be participating in Outdoor Retailer, one of the biggest trade shows in the country held twice a year in Salt Lake City, Utah. The company is doing so in response to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's move to revoke the Bears Ears National Monument last week. (The Bears Ears National Monument was established by former President Barack Obama in the last few days of his presidency.) 

According to the press release, “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.“ – Rose Marcario, President and CEO, Patagonia, Inc.

This is a big and bold move from the company, but not a surprising one given the current situation in Utah regarding public lands, and Patagonia's staunch commitment to conserve and protect the planet and its resources.

Bears Ears National Monument — the reason why Patagonia is backing out. Josh Ewing photo.

Bears Ears National Monument currently protects 1.3 million acres of land that surround a pair of buttes and borders Canyonlands National Park and Glen Canyon national Recreation Area in southeastern Utah. Much of the land is considered sacred by Native American Tribes.

According to NPR, Utah representative Rob Bishop, who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, also wants to either shrink or rescind the monument all together, saying that it is the wrong size and does not take into account the various uses of the land. Others opposed to Bears Ears are concerned about the lack of state involvement regarding Obama's decision to protect the land. (If you are looking for a longer read, this story from The Atlantic dives deep into both sides.)

In mid-January, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard wrote an op-ed titled, “The Outdoor Industry Loves Utah; Does Utah Love the Outdoor Industry?” in which he said that if Herbert doesn't need them, they will find a “more welcoming home”.

From the Op-Ed:

“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 should show the outdoor industry he wants our business – and that he supports thousands of his constituents of all political persuasions who work in jobs supported by recreation on public lands. We love Utah, but Patagonia’s choice to return for future shows will depend on the Governor’s actions. I’m sure other states will happily compete for the show by promoting public lands conservation.”

Read Chouinard's full essay here.

It will be interesting to see if other outdoor industry leaders follow suit. 

I agree it will be interesting to see what stance TGR is going to take on this matter.

Will they film in Utah? Will premieres be shown in SLC, Alta and Park City?

What’s more on my mind is, will I be attending/patronizing TGR events, if they follow leaders like Patagonia pushing for public land & conservation ideals, or not.

    Patagonia is supporting a federal land grab. Don’t need em. The states should control their own land.

      Why would states do any better? The Bear’s Ears monument took many years to come to fruition—years of taking all the parties’ interests into consideration, including those (like yourself) who would rather make a buck off the resources than preserve it for future generations. States (especially backward states like Utah) would do no better—and would almost certainly do worse. Then again, that’s what you want, right?

Maybe Patagonia and Black Daimond and the rest of these companies should worry as much about the enviroment in the parts of the worlds that supply them with there products as they do Rural Southern Utah! Pretty sure China and Indonesia treats the enviroment far worse than Rural American Rancher ever has.  The Area around Bears Ears is a few hundred acres, you want to make the monument 100,000 fine, but closing access to 1.3 million acres wasn’t it the best interest of local residents, Including the Native Americans

    Read about the history of the Bears Ears before pretending you know what you’re talking about.
    The conservation process included all the relevant stakeholders over many, many years. It’s not close to the full amount necessary to protect the natural and cultural resources there, but it’s a step in the right direction.

    Read about the history of the Bears Ears before pretending you know what you’re talking about.
    The conservation process included all the relevant local stakeholders over many, many years. It’s not close to the full amount necessary to protect the natural and cultural resources there, but it’s a step in the right direction.

If the outdoor industry and its buyers boycotts Utah, this might be a great environmental victory by removing so many visitors from this over loved land.

    Couldn’t agree more. Patagonia and other companies make millions promoting the overuse of sensitive areas.

    Patagonia needs to stop talking about how environmental they are and stop sending their employees across the world on planes. Plane travel is like a carbon explosion.

I appreciate what Gov. Gary Herbert did. The federal government takes over too much land from states and controls it. Rather than letting the people who live in the state have authority over their own lands to decide the best and proper uses for the citizens of that state. There have been recent battles with BLM over little lands that the government has usurped from citizens of state. One of the most recent being down in Texas. The federal government has become a land grabbing entity without regard for the people whom they are to serve. They round up wild Mustangs and donkeys and kill many of them by chasing them with helicopters and they do damage to the land. They also tend to be overly influenced by environmentalists who say they are concerned about some animals, or fish without regard for humanity. While we do need to have regard for the environment, human life has greater value than animal life. There are times when human life is run roughshod over as in California when they wanted to save minnows yet had total disregard for the human life that was being affected, and this was an extreme exaggeration of the way to solve the minnows problems. A proper balance needs to be had. I commend Governor Gary Herbert for his action. In his last days in office, Obama did many things, this being one of them that showed disregard for people and their wishes and desires.

Patagonia epitomizes green washing.

They send their crews all over the world in fossil fuel consuming jets to fill the pages of the 10 million catalogs they send out a year.  A one way flight to Asia creates a carbon footprint 5 times larger than the average human on earth. These sensitive lands don’t need more visitors so that Patagonia can ship more catalogs and sell more goods made in China.

Boycott Patagonia until they cut carbon output and commit to sourcing and producing their goods locally.

    an average person is likely to be a emerging/third world citizen who doesn’t even own a car….and here we are arguing the merits of a company who puts out 600 dollar jackets.

    for a lot of truck driving americans; flying is better:
    http://www.umtri.umich.edu/our-results/publications/making-driving-less-energy-intensive-flying

    i do agree that physical print catalogs are total bullshit and a waste of paper/mail/time.

    Nice try. The perfect should not be the enemy of the good, right? Patagonia is not perfect, but it’s one of the best and should be encouraged.

Great leadership by Patagonia. The rest of the outdoor industry should follow suit. These public lands belong to all Americans, not just Utahns. Any state that actively pursues public lands transfer should not benefit from the outdoor industry’s dollars, influence and marketing clout.

    Nailed it.

    So you support federal land grabs?

      Public land conservation is one of the most popular things the government does. Ever try to get a camping spot on a summer weekend? The real question is why you don’t support public land conservation? And don’t say “state’s rights” because that just code for “my ranching buddies and me need more government welfare.”

      Grabbing from who? Your ranching and mining buddies? Why should a tiny elite get to “privatize the profit and socialize the costs” of their activities?

      Lets say executive action using the Antiquities Act to create national monuments is indeed a “land grab.” Then why doesn’t the GOP say, hey lets amend the Act to require congressional approval?
      instead they want to transfer all public land to the states, who have no money or ability to manage those lands. 

      Here’s why: “land grab” is just rhetoric to get the rubes like you to fall in line while OUR public lands get sold off to the highest bidder.

I’m glad to see Patagonia putting its money where its mouth is. It’s one thing to claim to be an environmentally conscious company; quite another to follow through with action that could hurt sales. Patagonia now has the middle school teenaged girl market ( know this as I sell Patagonia retail) to supplement its original dirtbag customer. It will be more difficult for smaller and newer companies to follow suit. Let’s hope it catches on.

    If they were actually putting their money where their mouth was they would shut down their SLC outlet and eliminate their Utah revenue streams in protest.  What they really did was screw OR into a corner.  This is free PR and does zero to hurt their bottom line revenue.  They are hypocritical enough to where I wouldn’t be surprised if they had already decided they weren’t going to exhibit at OR any longer and this was a great PR opportunity for them and the consequences to others in their industry be damned.

      Patagonia always does a pretty good job of putting their money where there mouth is. They respond to criticism as well and change their policies when they find they can do better.
      It seems as though they didn’t screw OR (Emerald Expositions) since their contract is up next year and they are currently looking for other options. They also feel, and others beyond Patagonia feel Utah doesn’t have the public’s interest in mind when they draft bills to sell off public lands and try to reverse the Bears Ears monument and reduce Escalante. Still Or, and Patagonia would rather see a change in policy rather than move.
      http://www.snewsnet.com/news/salt-lake-city-could-lose-outdoor-retailer-in-2018/

      Good point.  So why doesn’t Patagonia shut down their SLC outlet and eliminate their Utah revenue streams in protest?  Could be their next step, who knows.

      Then again if they really wanted to be hypocritical about it; Patagonia could eliminate their environmental and social responsibility programs such as their donating of 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.  Patagonia could then be like too many others in the outdoor retail market who show up keep all their revenue sources in an and ongoing taking from the environment and outdoor recreations market until the “taking is done for”. 

      Sure it must be hard to be the smaller guys in the outdoor market retail and not all can afford to have such robust corporate environmental activist policy as Patagonia.  Yes Patagonia is one of the big players in the OR or SIA shows, and their not participating does hurt others.  However, protest takes different forms and Patagonia’s boycotting the UT OR shows is standing up to fight for public lands and is far from being hypocritical.  Actually if you look at this from a bigger picture, Patagonia’s protesting the Utah Governors actions, helps keep the outdoor market going with places for people to use their outdoor products purchased from the industry as a whole.

“It will be interesting to see if other outdoor industry leaders follow suit.” ponders TGR’s Leslie Hittmeier; however,,,, THE BIGGER QUESTION IS;

SHOULD THE BI-ANNUAL WINTER/SUMMER OUTDOOR RETAILER SHOW EVEN REMAIN IN SLC, UT?

It sadly appears that Utah politicians care little about their outdoor recreations jobs that (as Patagonia’s founder points out) “every year, outdoor recreation in Utah drives $12 billion in consumer spending and supports 122,000 jobs across the state.”  Surely UT can figure out how to save their lands while living in harmony with their energy industry.

However, if UT literally wants to toss their recreational jobs out the window by destroying one of their greatest resources, public lands; then, Colorado is poised to take those Utah jobs along with the “crown jewel” of the Outdoor Retailer show from SLC, UT.  Not a concern to be taken lightly, just look at what Colorado did to the SIA and scooped it from Las Vegas, NV in 2010.

For more reading on Colorado taking the Outdoor Show from SLC, read this:
http://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/30/outdoor-retailer-show-colorado/

Actually the battle goes well beyond Utah’s public lands!  And by reading the comments to this article, it appears we are falling into the trap of talking at each other instead of with each other.  It also makes no sense whatsoever that our energy needs and environmental needs must fall victim to a battle of a “zero-sum game”.....  SO THE REAL QUESTION IS:

AS A NATION, HOW DO WE REALISTICALLY TURN THIS ENERGY v. ENVIRONMENT STRUGGLE INTO A “NON-ZERO-SUM” SOLUTION?!?

Personally I hope viable and practical answer(s) to that question will be proffered up by President Trumps heads of Dept of Energy, EPA, Commerce, etc.

Ironically, when it comes down to outdoor recreation, this might be a place we genuinely can find common ground on the environment and energy needs….  (BTW, I had made mention of this to Jeremy Jones in his POW live FaceBook meeting soon after Trumps presidential victory when I said, we need to try to figure out how to partner with the incoming Trump administration when it comes to issues such as global warming, etc.)

The Utah government should be ashamed. Such a beautiful state with so many millions of recreational visitors every year (and billions of dollars)—and this is how the governor responds?

Patagonia did the right thing, of course. The ranchers, miners and other right-wing trolls that are posting here obviously have a vested economic interest in selling off OUR land to the highest bidder.

Interesting. Another company that thinks is is wise to get into politics? Well, when companies do that, I tend to buy other manufacturers items. A Federal land grab by naming it a “monument” is still a land grab. The state can manage its own lands just fine. The federal government needs to shrink, not expand. Patagonia is just another company out to steal your money for their overpriced crap by going into your wallet through your sympathetic heart. Go ahead, fall for their false concern, your the sucker they are marketing to.

    Seriously, don’t you worry that your local spot to ride your sled could be one day taken and parsed out for private use that very well may not allow snowmobiles?  And if you take a look at the history of Patagonia, the company has always been involved in environmental and social issues as their overall corporate moral responsibility.

      Agreed… What Patagonia does or doesn’t do is irrelevant. What’s important is conserving OUR land for OUR children before the likes of “Snowman525” milks every nickel and dime out of it.

Patagonia is a leader in environmental causes and contributions. To say otherwise is to say you have no concept of what’s really happening. Whether you talk about their vigorously promoted recycling programs, their 1% for The Planet initiative, or their inspections of manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and the world, they lead the way. Finally, what’s with the constant referral to the federal government “taking things”? The last I heard, Utah was part of the Union. You’re not there by yourself on some island. That segues well into the one planet environmentally concept. Your grandchildren will never thank you for following Governor Herbert’s lead and destroying natural resources. But, they probably will thank President Obama for preserving those places. As someone who lives for the opportunity to be outdoors, I cannot imagine much that would be more important. Thanks TGR for printing this. These are challenging times; we all need to do our part to preserve the environment. The outdoors make me happy and malls…well, not so much.

Come to Colorado!  Our senators protected public lands!

I personally have never supported Patagonia.  I think their stuff is overpriced junk.

But for doing this?  I will support them. 

Any retailer that pulls out of the trade show, I will support.  If they organize and move it altogether?  I will make a point to find a way to support those who do preferentially the rest of my outdoor gear/clothing life. 

Wouldn’t it be great if they moved the trade show to eastern Oregon?  Talk about an area that would welcome the economy boost!  Even if in larger city like Pendleton, Baker City, or La Grande.  Hell, move it to Boise, even.

The government can’t “grab lands” they already own.  Federal lands = public lands.  So much ignorance being either innocently or maliciously spread in the name of propaganda springing from a handful of politicians who clearly are pushing the agenda for personal profiteering.  :/

    Know the truth about federal lands.  All one need do is look east of the Rockies and ask are there no outdoor recreational areas located there? Of course there are and some of the country’s most beautiful parks are located there. So what is my point?  More than 90% of the land east is privately (meaning state or individual) owned.  West of the Rockies the ratio is flipped, more than 90% of the land is owned by the feds.  And what has that brought us? Well, in California and Oregon, ski resorts (which constitute a large percentage of outdoor activity and clients of Patagonia) cannot expand operations due to onerous draconian regulations.  The myth that the federal govt is the best steward of land is just that, a myth.  I think by now most of the country has seen what good comes out of the feds.  Patagonia is putting its politics before its business and will suffer for it.  As for the comment as to what will TGR do in Utah ... I hope they will be smart and uphold liberty.

Patagonia is free to do as it wishes but it’s liberal progressive undertones are showing.  Note the article quotes NPR and the Atlantic two very biased sources.  All one need do is look east of the Rockies and ask are there no outdoor recreational areas located there? Of course there are and some of the country’s most beautiful parks are located there. So what is my point?  More than 90% of the land east is privately (meaning state or individual) owned.  West of the Rockies the ratio is flipped, more than 90% of the land is owned by the feds.  And what has that brought us? Well, in California and Oregon, ski resorts (which constitute a large percentage of outdoor activity and clients of Patagonia) cannot expand operations due to onerous draconian regulations.  The myth that the federal govt is the best steward of land is just that, a myth.  I think by now most of the country has seen what good comes out of the feds.  Patagonia is putting its politics before its business and will suffer for it.  As for the comment as to what will TGR do in Utah ... I hope they will be smart and uphold liberty. 

Patagonia is free to do as it wishes but it’s liberal progressive undertones are showing.  Note the article quotes NPR and the Atlantic two very biased sources.  All one need do is look east of the Rockies and ask are there no outdoor recreational areas located there? Of course there are and some of the country’s most beautiful parks are located there. So what is my point?  More than 90% of the land east is privately (meaning state or individual) owned.  West of the Rockies the ratio is flipped, more than 90% of the land is owned by the feds.  And what has that brought us? Well, in California and Oregon, ski resorts (which constitute a large percentage of outdoor activity and clients of Patagonia) cannot expand operations due to onerous draconian regulations.  The myth that the federal govt is the best steward of land is just that, a myth.  I think by now most of the country has seen what good comes out of the feds.  Patagonia is putting its politics before its business and will suffer for it.  As for the comment as to what will TGR do in Utah ... I hope they will be smart and uphold liberty.

The Atlantic article is right.  This is a total microcosm of the Obama/Trump years, where both sides try their darndest to be as outrageous as possible.  This monument is massive, so massive that the only possible reason it’s that big is to piss Utah off and provoke a reaction, which will piss of people who like to be pissed off at the other people, and so on ad infinitum.  it’s like five times the size of Canyonlands…As big as Delaware.  Could we have talked it down to Rhode Island size?  There are a lot of legitimate interests to consider, and I get the impression that in the end the decision was made to just show the middle finger to a bunch of them.  Which is how we got Trump, a great big middle finger right back.  Which just sucks.

I wish I knew how we do it, but we’ve got to learn how to tone it down and start talking sensibly to each other.

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