In Protest, Patagonia Withdraws From ‘Outdoor Retailer’ Trade Show

It’s among the biggest trade shows in America focused on outdoors gear. The twice-annual Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City is a must-attend for most brands.

outdoor retailer trade show

This year, Patagonia is pulling out of OR. In a statement today, the company said it would withdraw from the Outdoor Retailer show in response to a move made last week by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

Herbert signed a resolution last Friday urging the Trump administration to rescind the Bears Ears National Monument. (See our article on Bears Ears.)

Patagonia stated the move made it “clear that [Herbert] and other Utah elected officials do not support public lands conservation.”

Outdoor Industry Issues Ultimatum To Utah Governor
Outdoor Industry Issues Ultimatum To Utah Governor

Members of the Outdoor Industry Association united today in a strong rebuke of Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. Read more…

The press release noted that the state of Utah also does not “value the economic benefits — $12 billion in consumer spending and 122,000 jobs — that the outdoor recreation industry brings” to the state.

Patagonia Pulls Out From ‘OR Show’

Rose Marcario, president and CEO of Patagonia, was quoted in the press release: “Because of the hostile environment they have created and their blatant disregard for Bears Ears National Monument and other public lands, the backbone of our business, Patagonia will no longer attend the Outdoor Retailer show in Utah.”

Marcario noted Patagonia is “confident other outdoor manufacturers and retailers will join” in the retreat from Outdoor Retailer.

Utah's Bears Ear National Monument
Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument

She pressed for the trade show to find a new home in a state that “values our industry and promotes public lands conservation.”

Yvon Chouinard On Utah

Last month, Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard wrote about the issue in an article, “The Outdoor Industry Loves Utah; Does Utah Love the Outdoor Industry?”

He suggested Gov. Herbert direct his attorney general to support the Bears Ears National Monument and stop the transfer of public lands away from the federal government to the state.

Bears Ears Designated As National Monument
Bears Ears Designated As National Monument

President Barack Obama today declared a 1.35 million acre swath of iconic Utah desert wilderness as the new Bears Ears National Monument. Read more…

It appears the move last week was the final straw. The company pulling out from Outdoor Retailer is big news, as the trade show is anchored on large brands like Patagonia.

Chouinard’s essay said, “We love Utah, but Patagonia’s choice to return for future shows will depend on the Governor’s actions.”

–See Yvon Chouinard’s full article, “The Outdoor Industry Loves Utah; Does Utah Love the Outdoor Industry?”

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Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.