Utah is and will always be a public lands state. Despite what the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and the Outdoor Retailer show would have us believe, Utah isn't in the business of selling off your family's favorite camping spot to the highest bidder, dotting wilderness areas with oil and gas wells or allowing ATVs to tear up Utah's Red Rock country. Our state's public land management policies bear no resemblance to the OIA's bombastic claims of an all-out land grab, demonstrating just how out of touch the association truly is with Utahns and our public lands.
Take Patagonia, for example. In an interview with KSL's Doug Wright last week, Patagonia's environmental activism manager, Ron Hunter, said, "We want to be in a state that supports and loves public lands." His unsubstantiated assertion should offend all Utahns. More importantly, this claim that Utahns don't appreciate our public lands comes from a company that nationwide has 29 of its 30 retail stores located in "mostly urban" counties – with those counties representing only 1.1 percent of federal land. Patagonia's detachment from our public lands highlights its lack of interaction with those most impacted by public land management policy.