Cedar Mesa Valley of the Gods in Bears Ear National Monument
Cedar Mesa Valley of the Gods in Bears Ear National Monument (photo: BLM).

Patagonia, Black Diamond slam Utah leadership on public lands, OR will consider moving shows

Influential companies urge outdoor industry to leverage its economic power to put a stop to public lands assault

Two times each year, for around the last two decades, the outdoor industry holds its biggest extravaganza in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Outdoor Retailer show, better known as "OR", is where the biggest brands in the business of the outdoors show off all their latest and greatest. Not only do these shows repeatedly place Utah's outdoor industry in spotlight, they reportedly bring over $50 million in direct spending to the state each year. OR is big business for Utah.

fly fishing idaho
Photo: Kris Millgate

Power to the public

A year spent on public lands

I saw Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for the first time in January 2016. Well, sort of saw it. The fog was as thick as smoke trapped in a burning trailer house the morning I arrived at the refuge. Camera in hand, confused literally and figuratively, I couldn’t get a handle on my surroundings or the situation. The fog was hours from blowing away. The problem was months from going away.

charlie bush with speckled trout
Photo: Johnny Carrol Sain

Vanishing Paradise II: Charlie and the specks

Speckled trout are the lynchpin of coastal Louisiana's fishing culture and economy

Charlie Bush loves speckled trout.

The “L” word often gets tossed around with flippancy, but this is not one of those instances and it’s not hyperbole, and it goes beyond catching and eating speckled trout. No, it doesn’t. Charlie’s love for speckled trout is the purest manifestation of a predator/prey relationship.

coastal louisiana dock
Photo: Johnny Carrol Sain

Vanishing Paradise I: Pure life

Coastal Louisiana is disappearing right before our eyes

“Pura vida,” said Erin Brown as the boat hummed across brackish waters. Erin is the sportsmen outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation’s Vanishing Paradise program. More importantly, Erin is a coastal Louisiana native in love with her home. “Pura vida means pure life,” she said. “They say it everywhere in Costa Rica.

goliath grouper
Ryan Kane, Southern Instinct owner and guide, releases a goliath grouper that ate a cobia, which was on the line for eating herring bait (photo: Kris Millgate).

For large grouper, a precarious rebound

The debate over the Ocean's Goliath

I grew up far from the ocean so the only goliath I knew was the one David dropped with a slingshot. I don’t know how much that giant weighed on land, but the ocean beast with the same name tips nearly half a ton. Goliath grouper can live 40 years and can weigh 800 pounds. The one I’m looking at is less than half that size, but it’s still a lot of fish. Or a lot of fish to eat if that’s the side of the table you’re sitting on.

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