Outdoor gear merchants are aggressively pushing back against President Donald Trump’s order Monday to reduce two Utah monuments by almost 2 million acres combined.
Patagonia’s website on Monday and Tuesday opened to a stark black screen with a short message in big, white letters: “The President Stole Your Land.”
“In an illegal move, the president just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history,” the message continued.
In a visit to Utah, Trump issued declarations Monday reducing Bears Ears National Monument to two separate monuments totaling about 200,000 acres, down from its initial size of 1.35 million acres.
He also ordered Grand Staircase-Escalante split into three new monuments totaling more than 1 million acres, down from 1.9 million acres.
Patagonia was central in the campaign to move the massive Outdoor Retailer convention out of Salt Lake City after Utah’s Republican political leaders fought to have Bears Ears National Monument overturned.
For the first time in 20 years, the upcoming Winter Market, which typically drew more than 20,000 people to the Salt Palace Convention Center, will take place in Denver.
Attendance at the summer trade show was even bigger.
”Americans have overwhelmingly spoken out against the Trump administration’s unprecedented attempt to shut down our national monuments,” Patagonia President Rose Marcario said in a statement. ”The administration’s unlawful actions betray our shared responsibility to protect iconic places for future generations and represent the largest elimination of protected land in American history. We’ve fought to protect these places since we were founded, and now we’ll continue that fight in the courts.”
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who traveled to Utah with Trump on Monday, blasted Patagonia, calling the company’s claims a “lie.”
“You mean Patagonia, made in China,” Zinke said in a Tuesday conference call with reporters. “This is an example of a special interest. Not one square inch was stolen. The federal estate remains intact. No protections of antiquities were removed. What is different is we are going to actively manage the property to make sure we don’t have catastrophic wildfire and have healthy wildlife. It is disappointing they would blatantly lie to raise funds.”
Gear retailer REI joined the chorus of recreation-based protests with a “We [heart] our public lands” image for advocates to use as their profile picture on social media.
”The decision ... undermines the integrity of the Antiquities Act, which 16 presidents from both parties have used to designate and protect national monuments over the last 111 years,” read a statement on REI’s website.
The reaction from Salt Lake City-based Black Diamond was notably more subdued.
Black Diamond founder Peter Metcalf had joined Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard as some of the leading voices promoting boycotts and more assertive public lands advocacy in the recreation industry — specifically with regards to Bears Ears. But the company’s home page gave no reaction to Monday’s action and its social media accounts quietly directed viewers to a Kickstarter campaign, by the conservation group Friends of Cedar Mesa, to develop a Bears Ears Education Center.
”Today, more than ever, we are committed to protecting and preserving these lands,” company officials wrote on Facebook and Twitter feeds.
The North Face, another prominent outdoor apparel and gear maker, promoted the same fundraiser with a banner at the top of its website.