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Patagonia urges boycott of Outdoor Retailer Show in Utah

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The Bear’s Ears National Monument: Under threat from the Governor of Utah.
↑ Founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard: OR 'cash cow' for Salt Lake City.

Patagonia has pulled out of this summer’s Outdoor Retailer (OR) Show in protest against attempts to reverse legislation protecting the Bear’s Ears National Monument and is urging others in the industry to do the same.

Reaction has also come from the organisers of OR who are now seeking alternatives to Salt Lake City, Utah, for 2019 and beyond.

The row has blown up over Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s resolution urging President Trump’s administration to revoke the Monument’s status.

Patagonia President and CEO, Rose Marcario, said Gov. Herbert’s actions “make it clear that he and other Utah elected officials do not support public lands conservation and do not value the economic benefits – $12 billion in consumer spending and 122,000 jobs – that the outdoor recreation industry brings to their state.

“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 investment to a state that values our industry.”

The show has been held in Salt Lake City since 1996 and reportedly generates $45 million annually.

OR Show Director Marisa Nicholson said: “We need to do what is best for the industry and for the business of outdoor retail. We’ve been listening to the concerns of the industry and agree that it’s time to explore our options.”

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) supports the move to look for other venues, while Rich Hill, President of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, said OR’s announcement would ensure the best venue to co-locate the Grassroots Connect and OR shows.

“Our 62 independent specialty retailers look forward to being in a location that from a business, cultural and values standpoint, best serves our industry,” he added.

The debate was fuelled by an emotional, opinioned editorial by Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, on Patagonia.com last month entitled ‘The outdoor industry loves Utah. Does Utah love the outdoor industry?’

“Every January and August, Patagonia and hundreds of other companies spend a lot of money [….] at the Outdoor Retailer Show,” wrote Chouinard. “The whole thing is a cash cow for Salt Lake City. You’d think politicians in Utah would bend over backwards to make us welcome.

“But instead, Governor Gary Herbert and his buddies have spent years denigrating our public lands, the backbone of our business, and trying to sell them off to the highest bidder. He has created a hostile environment that puts the industry at risk.

“The Governor has spent most of his time in office trying to rip taxpayer-owner lands out from under us and hand them over to drilling and mining companies.”

The monument was created using Teddy Roosevelt’s National Antiquities Act. No President has ever rescinded a monument created by a predecessor using the act.

Filed In: Clothing, Product News

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