Outdoor Industry Association Marches in Defense of Public Lands
This week, the GoPro activation team made it's semi-annual pilgrimage to Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer (OR) show to showcase its line of products to the industry, alongside its adventure and outdoor product brethren. And while the industry spent much of its time manning the trade show floor, many also descended upon the steps of the State capital building...
This year’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2017 marks the end of an era for the industry. After two decades in Salt Lake City, the show and its winter counterpart are packing up and moving to Denver. The decision came in the wake of the national monument status of Bear Ears, a sacred Native American land and popular climbing destination in Blanding, Utah, coming into question.
This paired with an overall desire to speak out about protecting public lands led to hundreds of OR attendees gathering on July 27 to march on Utah’s capital building from the Salt Palace Convention Center. The 1.1-mile trek was officially dubbed the “This Land is Our Land March for Public Lands,” hosted by The Conservation Alliance, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and Outdoor Alliance.
Attendees carried signs and wore items that touted the “This Land is Our Land” slogan, amongst other catchy like, “Birch please … keep our lands public” and “Mother Nature is My Moral Compass.”
Although the leading outdoor industry brand Patagonia was not physically present, the company and its founder Yvon Chouinard were there first to speak out about the importance of protecting Bears Ears and all our national monuments back in January saying, “We love Utah, but Patagonia’s choice to return for future shows will depend on the Governor’s actions.” Patagonia did not attend the final SLC-based OR, but they spearheaded this movement that had no shortage of passionate, likeminded people from companies across the industry turn out in support.
The overall peaceful march concluded with short, passionate speeches about protecting our public lands from Ute Indian Tribesman Shaun Chapoose, Boulder restaurant owner Blake Spalding, Climber Conrad Anker, SLC Mayor Jackie Biskupski, OIA Director Amy Roberts and Utah Office of Outdoor Rec director Tom Adams and REI CEO Jerry Stritzke, who is ready to have the outdoor industry’s voice be heard.
"We’ve made it abundantly clear that our public lands are part of our culture and what makes our country great,” Jerry said. “It’s time for us to step up as outdoor participants and lead and make our voices heard.”
These voices represent one of the largest industries in the U.S. today, contributing $887 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting 7.6 million jobs.
Conrad, who called the collective industry voice a “tribe,” had the best suggestion of the day, calling a modern day reenactment of president Teddy Roosevelt spending three days in the Yosemite wilderness with John Muir, which led to successful wilderness preservation acts. Conrad closed by quoiting the former president and avid outdoorsman—“Do what you can with what you have and where you are.”
Satellite marches and subsequent public lands celebrations also took place in Medford, Oreg.; Bend, Oreg.; Las Cruces, NM; Ely, Minn.; and Mammoth Lakes, Calif. .
The first Denver-based OR will be for the winter season and take place in January 2018.