If you’ve surfed the net for hiking boots or ski pants in the last 24 hours, you may have noticed a change in the websites of two of the country’s largest outdoor retailers.
Both REI and Patagonia posted full-page declarations against President Trump’s announcement Monday that he plans to drastically reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah. Trump said he will shrink the 1.3-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by 50 percent.
“Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington,” Trump said Monday. “And guess what? They’re wrong.”
In response, Patagonia posted an all black homepage, with the words, “The president stole your land” in white letters. Beneath that it posted: “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.”
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REI displayed a photo of Bears Ears, with the headline, “We love our public lands.” Below that it said, “Despite the loss of millions of acres of protected land this week, REI will continue to advocate for the places we all love.”
Both pages linked to more detailed explanations of the company’s positions.
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REI’s page said the move by Trump “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.”
It also noted that Trump’s decision follows a “hasty, four-month review (from April to August) of 27 national monuments designated during the last two decades. As part of the monuments review, more than 2.8 million Americans submitted comments, with over 99 percent in favor of protecting them. Those voices have fallen on deaf ears.”
Patagonia noted that “public lands – from Maine to Hawai’i – provide enormous cultural, ecological and recreational value, and they are at risk. Removing protections for these wild places to open them up for development will not make us energy independent, and history shows that when states control these lands, they are sold to the highest bidder. This is not a chance we are willing to take.”
President Barack Obama, in a move lauded by Native Americans, designated Bears Ears a national monument while he was in office. President Bill Clinton designated Grand Staircase-Escalante a national monument in 1996.
Both retailers, which operate stores in Austin, say they will fight the reduction of protected lands.