It was the last straw for Outdoor Retailers when Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed HCR11 asking the Trump administration to rescind Bears Ears National Monument. The OR organization has pulled its annual summer and winter trade shows from Salt Lake City to look for a new venue. At issue were Utah’s public lands policies that undermine the interests and values of the outdoor recreation industry.
As former Black Diamond CEO Peter Metcalf wrote in an editorial, “Together, Utah’s political leadership has birthed an anti-public lands political agenda that is the driving force of an existential threat to the vibrancy of Utah and America’s outdoor industry.”
Outdoor gear companies led by Patagonia threatened to boycott the OR show unless Utah ceased opposition to Bears Ears National Monument.
While outdoor tourism is not environmentally benign, it offers a source of jobs in rural areas, and the outdoor recreation industry depends on protected natural areas. Many environmentalists worry that Utah has lost a powerful voice of environmental advocacy along with the OR trade show.