On the heels of last week’s news that additional companies have decided to pull out of Outdoor Retailer in protest of the Bears Ears monument being rescinded, the Outdoor Industry Association’s Board of Members has released a statement praising recent statements of companies, which include REI, The North Face, and Ibex, concerning their commitment to staying with the show as it continues to look for a new venue.
In the statement, the OIA says, “We applaud OIA members such as REI, Ibex and The North Face and their call for industry unity by attending Outdoor Retailer this July while we work to find a more suitable venue for future shows. Boycotting the show could have a significant negative impact on small- and midsize brands, specialty retailers and nonprofits who depend on the business and inspiration that happens at the show.”
Along with the praise, the OIA urges participants in the outdoor industry to show support and unity for the show during these trying times.
Although Ibex will remain at the show, there have been changes to their strategy. According to the brand’s official press release, they will be traveling to the show with a smaller team, closing early at 1:30pm on the second day in protest, and “will donate the $10,000 in anticipated savings to The Conservation Alliance Public Lands Defense Fund.”
REI CEO Jerry Stritzke wrote a note to industry leaders last week, and posted it on REI’s blog in a public statement, saying: “I believe it would be a mistake for us not to gather as an industry this July. 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. To be clear, REI is strongly in the camp of moving OR if Utah persists in attacking our public lands – the sooner the better.”
The North Face also echoed statements of unity, saying in a public letter written by the group president Scott Baxter, “We see the decisions of the Utah policy makers as direct and irrefutable threats to what we hold most dear. We will not sit back. We will press these issues, taking them as far as we need to until we see the safety and protection of our public lands made secure.”
It will take every brand, every partner, every soul to fight. We must be louder and stronger than our opposition and that means everyone coming together. We can't do that if we leave the OIA to fight on their own – with fewer resources.”
It’s a far cry from last week’s news that Patagonia, Peak Design, Arc’teryx and more had decided to pull their brand’s from the show, and donate what money they would have spent at Outdoor Retailer to The Conservation Alliance Public Lands Defense Fund.
Outdoor Retailer has been under pressure from the outdoor community in the last few months, due to the state of Utah’s continued disregard of the outdoor industry and the state’s natural resources.
After Utah’s governor made moves to rescind the recently designated Bears Ears from being identified as a national monument, companies and brands showed their protest by pulling out of the Outdoor Retailer trade show, which contributes an estimated $45 million to Salt Lake City each year.