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Laura Seitz, Deseret News, File

2 more companies join boycott of Utah Outdoor Retailer shows

By Brady McCombs, Associated Press  |  Posted Feb 10th, 2017 @ 7:43pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — At least two more outdoor companies said Friday they're following Patagonia's lead and planning to boycott Outdoor Retailer shows held in Utah because of a push by the state's political leaders to rescind the creation of the Bear Ears National Monument.

Peak Designs and Polartec join Arc'teryx, which on Thursday became the second company after Patagonia to announce plans to skip the twice-a-year show that has been held in Salt Lake City for two decades.

Peak Design CEO Peter Dering said in a letter posted the company website he hopes hundreds of small companies are inspired to join the boycott.

"If we all band together, it's actually going to sting," Dering said. "Plenty of states who do the right thing are ready and willing to take Utah's place."

Polartec pulled out to show that public land conservation is essential to the industry, said CEO Gary Smith said in a statement.

The expanding boycott comes after organizers of the lucrative Outdoor Retailer show announced this week they will seek bids from other host cities as they consider moving the show when the contract runs out after the summer of 2018.

That announcement came after Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution passed by Utah's mostly Republican legislature calling on President Donald Trump to rescind former President Barack Obama's designation in December of the Bears Ears National Monument on tribal lands in southeastern Utah.

The decision to consider other cities was triggered by a host of factors, one of which is the frustration from participating retailers about the continued push by Utah political leaders for more control of public lands, organizers said.

It's not the first time they have considered moving in recent years. Utah officials say they're confident they can once again do enough to keep the show, which brings the state an estimated $45 million in annual direct spending.

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Gov. Herbert declined comment Friday through his office about the new boycotts. He said Thursday that the boycott was a "political ploy." The Republican governor also said critics' claims that Utah is trying to take away public lands do not hold up and represent a perpetuation of misinformation.

He is scheduled to meet with representatives from the Outdoor Industry Association next Thursday.

REI, meanwhile, said Friday it will still come to Utah for the largest outdoor retailer show in the world and wants other companies to attend so they can gather and discuss how to protect public lands, company CEO Jerry Stritzke wrote in a letter on the REI website.

Stritzke also said he was upset about the effort to rescind Bears Ears and complimented show organizers for opening up future shows for bids. He applauded Patagonia for its stance but said the sector must prepare to take its fight beyond Utah and to federal government officials in Washington, D.C.

"It would be a mistake for us not to gather as an industry this July," Stritzke wrote. "Now more than ever, we need to act together to advocate and find a common voice to protect our most important asset — our public lands.

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