As Patagonia exits in protest, Outdoor Retailer hints at move

Utah leaderships' anti-public lands stance may cost state $50 million annually
indian creek, bears ears national monument
Looking out on Indian Creek in the Bears Ears National Monument (photo: BLM).

Last month, while the twice-annual Outdoor Retailer show was underway in Salt Lake City, two of the outdoor industry's biggest brands—Patagonia and Black Diamond—issued strongly worded letters urging the show to cut its 20-year long ties with the state unless Utah's leadership altered its draconian stance on public lands including the newly minted Bears Ears Monument. Otherwise, founders of both companies, Patagonia's Yvon Chouinard and Utah-based Black Diamond's Peter Metcalf, threatened to pull their company's participation in future Outdoor Retailer shows, which brings $50 million in spending annually to Utah's economy. Yesterday, Patagonia made good on that threat, announcing their withdrawal from future Outdoor Retailer shows.

“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," noted Rose Marcario, President and CEO of Patagonia.

In his January letter, Patagonia's Chouinard highlighted Utah's economic dependence on public lands and urged an aggressive stance against the Utah governor's office and congressional delegation. He quipped, "I say enough is enough. If Gov. Herbert doesn’t need us, we can find a more welcoming home ... I’m sure other states will happily compete for the show by promoting public lands conservation."

And Chouinard may just be right. In statements published yesterday, organizers of the Outdoor Retailer show hinted at their intention to actively shop the show to other states.

“We’ve been listening to the concerns from the industry and agree that it’s time to explore our options,” said Marisa Nicholson, director of the Outdoor Retailer trade shows, in a statement Monday. “Salt Lake City has been an incredible home to Outdoor Retailer and the outdoor community for the past 20 years, and we aren’t opposed to staying, but we need to do what’s best for the industry and for the business of outdoor retail.”

While Nicholson's unequivocal language merely alluded to the possibility of a move, the words from Amy Roberts, executive director of the OIA, were much more direct. Roberts noted that "OIA encouraged and supports Outdoor Retailer's decision to explore a range of host cities for the gathering of our community. The appropriate location of Outdoor Retailer should be determined by factors ranging from business economics for vendors and attendees to a location that upholds our industry's core values around the importance of America's public lands system. We will continue to educate policymakers on the economic contribution of our industry as well as our support of preserving places to recreate."


I like for Patagonia and all other outdoor retailers to consider New Mexico and what all New Mexican has to offer..

Kudos to Patagonia for its continued leadership. If Utah continues to hate on public lands, Outdoor Retailer should leave Utah and choose a state that supports the outdoor industry and core American values.

Does anybody ever have a reason to dislike Patagonia?

Moralizing by a company like Patagonia is absurd and the article doesn't address the contradictions. Patagonia has been bopped in Human trafficking in their workshops. Even after getting it supposedly fixed, it happened again. Why? Because they are trying to avoid paying fair wages by subbing out the labor to tawain or Vietnam sweat shops. How do you fix this? Make your goods here and pay fair wages. Patagonia chooses profits over humans. It's all a marketing mirage. Screw them. Good journalism would counter their claims.

"It's all a marketing mirage. Screw them."

Patagonia is serious about doing things the right way. Do they make mistakes? Sure. Just like you did when you wrote, "It's all a marketing mirage." You're entitled to your opinion, but keep in mind that the facts don't support your vitriol.

Why is their fair wage less important than your fair wage?

Thinking globally and outside of ourselves may save the earth and the people.

Patagonia hasn't been perfect, but it has been the de facto leader in many areas, including preservation of the ecosystem. What other company would have had the stones to drop out first? Bash 'em if you want, but I'll keep backpacking, fly fishing, elk hunting, and exploring with Patagonia clothing.

I applaud their products and service...and their decision to boycott the Utah Fly Show.
Unfortunately, they will not be coming to Wisconsin because Wisconsin is also buying into the sale of Public Lands and reducing the Department of Natural Resources to and empty shell with few scientists and reduced regulation and enforcement responsibilities.

Have you ever been to Utah's Outdoors? There are no oil companies moving into Bear's Ears. The BLM has managed this site for decades. Have you ever been there? Probably not. Because before all of this, very few people had even heard of it. Utah would like to move some public lands from Federal Control to State Control so we can manage them more efficiently. Ever been to a Utah State Park? We have tons of them. There are no oil wells on them. Do you know what happens when the federal government has a shut down? The National Parks all close. I am really tired of people from out of our state criticizing the way we manage our public lands which is by the way, 75% of our state.

Thank you Patagonia for standing up for what you believe in. I will proudly wear my Patagonia wadders and other products!