(KUTV) The latest set of Utah Outdoor Retailer Show boycotts include big names like REI and The North Face.
The outdoor giants call on Governor Gary Herbert to protect Utah's public lands or they plan to "publicly and emphatically" urge the show to leave Utah.
In a letter to Utah's elected officials the retailers asked Herbert to reverse his approach to multiple public lands issues, while showing appreciation for his recent willingness for open discussion about the issues.
Retailers have drawn on recent rulings regarding Bears Ears since the boycotting began after an editorial published in the Salt Lake Tribune by the CEO emeritus of Black Diamond.
“We feel very strongly that the public policies being championed and advocated and pushed forward by the State of Utah’s political leadership are an existential threat to the vibrancy of this industry, which is one of the largest economic sectors of the state,” said Black Diamond founder Peter Metcalf. “What we are saying in very clear, unequivocal terms that the contract is expiring. We’re at a very crucial junction here. You have moved forward on some of the most anti-public lands legislation in the history of the show being here. Enough is enough.”
The letter attempts to remind officials that public lands are "the underpinnings of the state's great competitive advantage -- an unmatched quality of life."
This reasoning is why so many outdoor companies were attracted to Utah to begin with, according to the letter. But if the attitude towards public land doesn't change the outdoors-people feel they need to take the show somewhere that aligns with the values advocated by their industry.
“It’s time to change. It’s time to either celebrate and support these public lands in a way that ensures its future. And if you can’t do that, we should take our trade show and relocate it to a state whose values and public policy agenda is simpatico with ours,” said Metcalf.
Herbert said he believes the state's best interest was in mind when pursuing public lands initiatives.
“Our end goal is to provide protection to Bears Ears, for example. We just don’t think a monument is the best vehicle to do that,” Herbert said. “We all want protection of our public lands, access for outdoor recreation, and a multiple use component, which is the charter of the BLM.”
The letter brings statistics to the forefront of the plea saying the outdoor industry brings more than 120,00 jobs to Utah and direct spending at the Outdoor Retailer Trade show brings $40 million in direct spending, much of that, the letter claims, is at small Utah businesses.
CEOs, founders and presidents of the world's top outdoor companies made one final plea to Utah officials, Herbert in particular, to champion policy that will provide a "vibrant and sustainable" future for Utah's lands.
And if this doesn't happen? The outdoor giants listed below will urge the show to leave Utah when the contract is up in 2018. Herbert will meet with representatives from the companies this Thursday.
If you are willing to stand up for our industry, and the public lands that are so critical for our success, then we will stand with you and advocate to keep the Outdoor Retailers Show in Utah, a state that we all love
Listed here are the companies who signed the letter:
Following the release of this letter, The Outdoor Industry Association Board of Directors released a letter directed at the above companies calling on them to attend, stand-up and be present at the show in Utah.
The board applauds the actions of Patagonia, REI and the other companies but encourages them to come, stating if they don't it will have significant impact on small and mid-size brands.
In the letter, the board of directors assures the concerned companies they will look for a more suitable venue come 2018 when the contract expires, but until then the Association urges all outdoor companies to attend.