Outdoor Industry Leaders Denounce Utah Legislature’s Short Sightedness on Bears Ears

May 18, 2016

Protection of this spectacular area would be a boon to the state’s economy and preserve important recreation sites

Salt Lake City, UT (May 18, 2016) – Outdoor industry leaders expressed disappointment following the Utah State Legislature’s adoption of a resolution opposing the protection of the Bears Ears region in the Southeastern part of the state.  A national monument designation for Bears Ears would protect more than 100,000 archeological sites as well as some of the most sought-after recreational opportunities in the nation. A recent Colorado College poll found 66 percent of Utahs support the creation of a Bears Ears National Monument, while a mere 20 percent oppose.

The Bears Ears region is rich in cultural sites and recreation opportunities, and deserves protection,” said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance, a group of more than 200 outdoor industry companies that support protecting places for their recreation benefits. “The Conservation Alliance is disappointed by this attempt by the Utah State Legislature to thwart efforts by five sovereign tribal nations and supportive stakeholders to protect this important place,” said Sterling in response to the legislature’s recently adopted resolution opposing a Bears Ears National Monument. “The area is treasured by the outdoor recreation community for its unparalleled climbing, hiking, mountain biking, canyoneering and camping opportunities.”

“Outdoor industry companies 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. The outdoor industry in Utah alone generates $12 billion in consumer spending and more than 122,000 jobs,” added Peter Metcalf, Founder of Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd., based in Salt Lake City, UT. “Protecting an area like Bears Ears is not only the right thing to do for its cultural values, but it will protect for future generations the activities our customers love and use our products for. As a Utah business leader, it is about time that the legislature embraced an opportunity like Bears Ears instead of throwing up roadblocks.”

“While there are many, many reasons to protect Bears Ears, the reason the outdoor industry understands best is the value of this area for recreation and respectful adventure,” stated Mark “Roody” Rasmussen of the Petzl Foundation, based in West Valley City, UT.  “As outdoor industry leaders, we acknowledge that the Bears Ears region is indeed America’s most significant unprotected cultural landscape.  I’m deeply disturbed by the actions of the legislature and hope they change course on this issue.”

“As a company with a retail presence in Utah for nearly 30 years, Patagonia and its customers know the importance of the cultural significance and recreational potential of the Bears Ears region,” said Lisa Pike Sheehy, Patagonia’s VP of Environmental Activism, a Ventura, California-based company with a retail store in Salt Lake City. “The Utah legislature is clearly out of touch with its citizens by opposing national monument designation for Bears Ears and we are deeply disappointed by today’s actions.”

“Once again the Utah State Legislature clearly demonstrates they are not representing the Citizens of Utah who have decidedly come out in favor of the Bears Ears National Monument proposal.  The Utah Legislature’s actions beyond a doubt show they are representing the private interests of a few individuals and corporations above the overwhelmingly majority,” said Kevin Boyle President and Founder of KUHL, a Salt Lake City-based apparel manufacturer.

About The Conservation Alliance
The Conservation Alliance is an organization of outdoor businesses whose collective contributions support grassroots environmental organizations and their efforts to protect wild places where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Alliance funds have played a key role in protecting rivers, trails, wildlands and climbing areas.

Membership in the Alliance is open to companies representing all aspects of the outdoor industry, including manufacturers, retailers, publishers, mills and sales representatives. The result is a diverse group of businesses whose livelihood depends on protecting our natural environment.

Since its inception in 1989, the Alliance has contributed more than $16 million to grassroots conservation groups. Alliance funding has helped save more than 45 million acres of wildlands; protect 2,972 miles of rivers; stop or remove 28 dams; designate five marine reserves; and purchase 11 climbing areas.

For complete information on The Conservation Alliance, please visit: www.conservationalliance.com.

Peter Metcalf: petermetcalf55@gmail.com
Roody Rasmussen: rrasmussen@petzl.com
John Sterling: john@conservationalliance.com
Lisa Pike Sheehy: lisa.pike@patagonia.com
Kevin Boyle: kevin@kuhl.com