Outdoor recreation, health and fitness companies urge timely action
to protect recreation mecca in southeastern Utah
Published August 5, 2016
SALT LAKE CITY – Fifteen leading companies attending the Outdoor Retailer Show, many from Utah, expressed support for a national monument designation for the Bears Ears area in the southeastern part of the state.
High-profile brands in action sports, health and outdoor recreation gathered for a press conference Thursday, united in calling for a designation that would protect some of the most sought-after recreational opportunities in the nation, as well as more than 100,000 archaeological sites and lands important to Native American tribes. The groups are calling for a presidential proclamation absent the likelihood that Utah’s Public Lands Initiative will put in place the protections needed for Bears Ears.
Companies speaking out for Bears Ears included Black Diamond Equipment, POC, Rossignol, Pro Bar, Petzl , Armada, Skullcandy, KÜHL, Gregory, Osprey Packs, Patagonia, Keen Footwear, The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, and the Treasure Mountain Inn.
Utah companies emphasized the importance of protected public lands to quality of life, a key driver attracting all sorts of companies to the state, from giants in the financial industry to leaders in high tech. Of course, the issue is even more crucial for outdoor recreation, health and fitness companies. The outdoor industry in Utah alone generates $12 billion in consumer spending and more than 122,000 jobs.
“Companies like ours depend on wild, scenic and untrammeled landscapes where our customers can escape to find rejuvenation, discovery and inspiration while doing what they love to do,” said Peter Metcalf, founder of Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd. “Protecting the Bears Ears as a National Monument is not only the right action to support Native American tribes in preserving ancestral lands but helps to ensure the infrastructure for activities our customers love and use our products for.”
“Strong support across our state has been demonstrated time and again for protecting special areas like Bears Ears that contain not just important cultural resources, but world class rock climbing, mountain biking, camping, canyoneering and hiking,” added Nazz Kurth of Petzl. “Permanent protection of resources that are so important to both our state’s economy and our quality of life will return dividends for many generations.”
Other leading US-based outdoor recreation companies joined the call for a monument, urging the president to protect lands that belong to all Americans and draw visitors from around the world.
“Bears Ears is about cultural diversity. It’s about recreation. It’s about respect, protection and what we stand for,” said Rob BonDurant, VP of Product and Marketing at Osprey Packs. “Located just 45 miles away from our headquarters, it’s not our backyard. It’s our home. And we’ll do everything we can to protect it.”
“While there are many, many reasons to protect the Bears Ears, what we in the outdoor industry understand best is the value of this area for recreation and respectful adventure,” said Hans Cole of Patagonia. “As outdoor industry leaders, we acknowledge that the Bears Ears region is indeed America’s most significant unprotected cultural landscape and we support the coalition of Native American tribes who are urging its protection. Unfortunately, the Public Lands Initiative legislation does not provide real protection for Bears Ears and excludes key recreation areas, like the canyoneering in White Canyon and the internationally known rafting along the San Juan River. As such, we urge President Obama to declare a national monument.”