Outdoor Retailer Leaving Utah

fiber

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Joined
May 18, 2013
Messages
74
Good to hear. It is about time they leave this state. Utah is not friendly to people of a tree hugger persuasion.
 
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Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
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May 5, 2012
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My comments on this are necessarily limited, but it's interesting to note the rancor many Utah locals have expressed (don't let the door hit them on the way out kind of stuff).

Outdoor Retailer shows bring in huge economic benefit to the Salt Lake City economy and their departure will not be easily filled. Utah has in the past created a new state level office (Office of Outdoor Recreation) under the governor's direction and Salt Lake City/County have committed to building a new convention center hotel in the hopes of keeping OR here.

During their conference call today, OR's influential members felt that Governor Herbert was trying to placate them without actually making any meaningful commitments to maintaining public lands in federal control.
 

Nick

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Aug 9, 2007
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12,918
I will particularly miss my media badge and happy hour right before they shut it down each day. And the awesome freebies that came with it...

File Feb 17, 12 15 42 AM.jpeg
 

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
548
Good for them. Hope Utah changes their tune and realizes how much the Outdoor Industry and People recreating contributes to the economy and things.
 

Wyatt Carson

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Joined
Apr 15, 2015
Messages
304
The Utah legislators need to understand that Utah possesses some of the very finest natural scenery and amazing terrain on this planet and it needs to be vigorously protected, not drilled and dug up for a few years of money, a thing that it never does recover from. Go to northwestern New Mexico and see what they have done with their countless drill pads and carved dirt roads through some terrain that used to be just stunning and beautiful. See both NM and northern Arizona for what strip mining does no matter how much they try to cover over their mess. This problem is not unique to Utah but with Utah's world class wilderness beauty it has become a ground zero battlefield for the fight against the destruction of things we can never replace.

Pour money into tourism instead and reap the endless and perpetual dollars from around the world. They don't understand what they have or what they have to lose.
 

Kullaberg63

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
543
Fine move.

Yvon and Metcalf of Black Diamond started this. Wonder if BD is following suit. Although uprooting a company can leave employees hurt.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,605
They will fill the convention spot that is left......
It is disconcerting that the feds still own about 66% of the land only higher is Nevada......
Keeping them public, multiple use is one thing but taking them out of the multiple use system is another....
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
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Jul 23, 2013
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1,540
Very long comment here, but I have a lot of thoughts on the issue looking at it from both sides that I've been trying to articulate for a while now, so read on if you dare...

I think both sides have been talking past each other for a while now and it's lead to some unfortunate circumstances and lot more heated debate that could have been avoided. The main point of contention and the pivotal issue that has driven the OR show in the direction away from Utah that it is now going has been the Bear Ears National Monument designation. Before and even since the designation, I've seen continual arguments from San Juan locals and tribal natives and the state politicians that represent them continuing to make a case that they'll be restricted from most of the activities they've enjoyed on the land over the years and even for several generations completely misrepresenting the objectives of the national monument and the Antiquities Act, when in reality, most of those concerns have been largely accommodated in preserving the ability to hunt, gather wood, collect nuts, berries, and other medicinal plants, ride ATVs on certain roads, graze livestock, and so on.

On the other hand, you have big media and others who have been throwing their support for the national monument exaggerate their case with some propaganda of their own, making the problem of looting and vandalism throughout the area appear to be a much bigger problem than it really is. It's all misrepresented and painted a majority of the locals down in the San Juan area in addition to Utah politicians as being terrible stewards of the land, enemies of any kind of public land, and disrespectful of the primitive and archeological sites when in reality the majority very much believes in responsible use of the lands and cherishes much of the scenic and archeological beauty to be found within the Bears Ears area and are not in the business of looting and disrespecting ruin sites and so on. It's become a travesty in both directions.

Instead of working together for the common good of all, the big parties debating about the implementation of how those areas should be protected seem to be and have been sticking their fingers in their ears, unwilling to check their collective egos at the door and sincerely hear out the other side's concerns and interests with a willingness to work toward some common ground with agreeable compromises. This is a big reason why I had wanted the area to stay status quo, to keep it standard BLM land largely unknown to the masses outside of the immediate region. That is, my desires were to see no new development within the landscape that would spoil the view sheds and threaten pristine archeological sites, but also no dramatic increase in exposure and the increased impact on sites and competition for usage permits where implemented that will no doubt come from all the publicity the area has now been receiving. Too much of a good thing - i.e. people enjoying the outdoors in the same space, especially in Bears Ears - can be a bad thing. I'll speak more on that later. More particularly though, there wouldn't be the political fallout we're now seeing.

For those who side with the environmentalism and outdoor industry aspects, it must be kept in mind that so much of the apparel (e.g. synthetics), gear, and technologies that the outdoor recreation industry manufactures and employs, and that we as consumers and recreationalists enjoy and use in our recreational activities, largely rely on petroleum based products and/or many other elements mined from the earth, not to mention all the methods of transportation that are collectively relied upon. So for those at the head of the outdoor industry and related fields to say no to all drilling and mining in any more areas of Utah or elsewhere could be akin to shooting themselves in the foot and thus would be, in my mind, a bit hypocritical.

On the other side, we have Utah's political elite refusing to accommodate the interests of a major sector in Utah's economy when they pride themselves on making Utah a business-friendly state with a strong economy. In conjunction, they've embraced other public lands we have in Utah as tourism revenue generators and as such, have promoted the heck out of these lands, e.g. the "Mighty 5" campaign.

Also of note, Rob Bishop's Public Lands Initiative which Gov. Herbert supported, called for two distinct National Conservation Areas, Indian Creek NCA and Bears Ears NCA that would have bordered each other. Together, the proposed NCAs would have constituted a majority of what is now within the borders of Bears Ears National Monument (BENM). There is minimal difference between the borders and acreage proposed for the NCAs and what is now BENM.

So, at the end of the day, whether the land would have become NCA or NM as it is now, the area was public federal land that was to remain public federal land. It was all still to be managed by the same federal agency (BLM), and the area was to be restricted from new mining claims/developments. Both land designations honor existing grazing rights, various recreational activities, hunting, existing mining claims (so long as it's done responsibly), etc. I'm assuming that if Herbert, Bishop, Chaffetz, etc. were all in support of an NCA designation which basically provides much the same protections (in theory) as NM status, that so were a majority of San Juan locals too. Given all these protective similarities for much the same tract of land, I don't understand why Herbert and co and so many of the locals are all bent out of shape on the land ending up as a national monument over a national conservation area. What difference does it make if the end result is largely the same, with all the activities allowed to be largely the same as before, save the possibility of a few minor modifications to existing rules and regulations? Is it simply because a Democrat-president was able to designate the area as a national monument and did so, rather than allowing them more time to get a Republican-majority Congress to designate the area as an NCA?

On the flip side, what was it that groups like Friend of Cedar Mesa, SUWA, etc hated so much about the prospects of the area becoming an NCA(s) over a National Monument? Is it really because the PLI had also stipulated that the seven SE Utah counties in the region be excluded to off limits from consideration of any future monument designations. What other tracts of land in these counties would the wilderness groups want considered for more monuments? San Rafael Swell? In looking at the counties map, I can see that Emery and Carbon counties were probably included among the 7 counties for that reason, but what's wrong with just campaigning for that area to become an NCA as well if it were to be forbidden from ever becoming a national monument? Even if it were to ever be designated as yet another Utah national monument, I'd assume it, like GSENM and now Bears Ears would be left with the BLM to be the primary managing agency . But I digress, so again, I ask, am I missing something? Was there a much bigger reason for maintaining opposition against the PLI?

In taking a step back from it all, it seems to me at this point, that it may really just come down to political lines. One designation would have been a feather in the Republicans cap, while the other is now a feather in the Democrats cap for the time being. So now, instead of coming up with a true win-win agreement for all groups involved, they have drawn their lines and dug their heels in resulting in an outcome that may well be detrimental for all involved in the long run.

That all said, personally, I'm all for the preservation and conservation of the Bears Area and fully support the objectives of the Antiquities Act and given the abundance of archeological history that is to be found there, I think the NM designation under the Antiquities Acts was made justifiably. People have complained about the size being way too big, but I think a significantly smaller size would have condensed and attract the increasing crowds to an even smaller confine with the potential to cause more negative impact in said areas. The larger area not only protects the magnificent and pristine view sheds, allowing one to have the experience of looking across the landscape and feeling like they are looking at a new world, but it also makes it easier for crowds to spread out allowing one to easier obtain a measure of personal solitude and tranquility, something that's harder to come by in many of our national parks these days.

But I do have to question how effective the additional resources the new monument designation could bring to the area will actually be in stopping looting and other illegal activities. That place has no many nooks and crannies over such a vast area, some that still probably house some impressive relics, that unless you gate and station armed patrols at all the roads and all other access points and do a thorough sweep of every vehicle, pack, pocket, and container coming back out of the borders, I don't see how they'll be able to effectively stop all looting. The NPS and BLM are already terribly short on resources and financial backing with a huge backlog of maintenance needs and other projects. Where is the money and resources to adequately beef up the staff needed to maintain and enforce the usage rules among the increased visiting to BENM going to come from while still trying to meet and keep up with the needs the federal land agencies have elsewhere?

My concerns for increased visitation to the area that the new monument designation and all its publicity will bring don't stop there. As I stated earlier, it will also bring increased competition for permits into the areas already requiring such, possibly leading to a lottery system for some in the future, albeit this is a more selfish concern. But for those areas that don't require permits, where pottery shards can still be found, there may be many more people who will face the temptation to pocket just one piece as a "souvenir" to take home with them. Some likely won't resist the urge to do so, despite the law forbidding it. As we all know, just because something is a law on the books, there will be those who won't respect it, hence the isolated incidents of looting, vandalism, and other unruly activities that have continued to take place on various public lands in recent times. If more people continued to adopt this rebel attitude, it's only a matter of time before virtually all shards from a number of sites that still have shards could disappear for good, accelerating the sterility of sites. Unfortunately, not all can be trusted to treat these fragile sites with the sensitive care they require. Even when others mean well, some non-permit sites may be at more risk of becoming subject to more crowds than they can accommodate and despite the best intentions of visitors, such ruin sites may sustain accidental and irreversible damage before any limited permit system is implemented for the affected site and/or its surrounding area.

Lastly, for those of us who are happy to see such lands protected and conserved for recreational and meditative enjoyment, regardless of how its designated, is there anything more can we do to help ease the concerns and fears that many locals in such communities get so upset about when such designations take place for the land neighboring them besides just patronizing their gas stations, supermarkets, gift shops, restaurants, and lodges when we visit? Tourism and hospitality services can only provide so much for such poor counties like San Juan. It seems like the Wasatch Front has reaped most all of the revenue that Outdoor Industry and its patrons have brought to Utah. How much job growth has the industry brought to communities like Bluff, Blanding, Escalante, etc and what is the projected growth for these communities that can be attributed to their newer neighboring national monuments?

Is there anything more we as recreationalists along with the collective outdoor industry and environmental groups can do to help these communities to thrive and prosper without a dependence on "big energy" industry growth for their local economies? Or can we propose and sacrifice alternative tracts of land that we may find just a little less appealing and rich in scenic wonder for the sake of energy and resource development near these outlying communities knowing that we in turn rely on products consisting of many materials and elements provided by such industries like mining and drilling. Would the affected communities and state politicians be willing to accept such compromises and efforts to achieve a mutual benefit for us all? Can we do anything to help these communities innovate and develop alternative avenues for generating wealth and prosperity among them, and particularly for their schools? For example, with Bear Ears, perhaps some of these big outdoor retailers and other companies in support of Bears Ears NM could have pledged and offered some proceeds to help with any improvements needed in the San Juan School District as a way to make up for any alleged loss of tax revenue and overcome some of the poverty concerns voiced by locals there. Perhaps that could have lead to more local support of the monument?

So those are some thoughts I've had. If it's not already obvious, I really hate it when beautiful public lands that I and so many others treasure for various reasons become political pawns entangled in heated and emotional debates that end up dividing people and communities more than unifying them. There's enough political bickering that happens with so many other issues that affect out society that it becomes a real tragedy when the very lands we rely on for an escape and refuge from all such politics becomes the centerpiece over which such political diatribes occur. The beauty of such lands should be something that unites us over other differences rather than divide our society apart in even further directions.

Of course, I'm probably speaking to the choir on that last note. :)
 

BryanG

Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2016
Messages
67
@WasatchWill you bring up some good points and great questions. In the end, its great to be able to have this debate in your state even though both sides are entrenched in their respective views at the moment. Eventually there has to be a balance between economic interests and environmental concerns. In my own personal opinion, I feel that National Forest do a pretty decent job at achieving this.

Unfortunately in CA this debate is entirely one sided. Environmentalists spend enormous efforts to prevent water capture and storage which inevitably drives up the costs of water and drives water restrictions. Politicians openly state their refusal to spend tax money on road and bridge repair because they want people to use public transportation instead of their personal vehicles (CA also has the highest income tax, second highest sales tax, highest gas tax and the list goes on). On the other side fossils fuels are limited. Deforestation and burning of fossils fuels obviously disrupts the carbon cycle. Bottom line is that there needs to be a balance and as consumers and outdoor enthusiasts we quite possibly have the greatest influence on where this balance is eventually struck. Even in National Parks they have designated these huge tracks of land for conservation but pave roads to all the major attractions and then everyone complains about how many people are in the national parks? Something not quite right about that.

There could be a college course on this subject! I would take that course haha
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
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Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
1,722
Even in National Parks they have designated these huge tracks of land for conservation but pave roads to all the major attractions and then everyone complains about how many people are in the national parks? Something not quite right about that.

Conservation is not the primary purpose of the National Park Service, though. Its historical mandate was to provide access for public enjoyment. The Bureau of Land Management grew out of the grazing service and was primarily tasked with managing cattle running on lands of the public domain. The Forest Service was built around the idea of timber harvest (i.e. logging).

In each agency, the conservation mission has been grafted onto or evolved out of the original mission. The NPS struggles to cope with more and more visitors without destroying the exact experiences people expect. The BLM and the Forest Service adopted the idea of "multiple use," a sort of bizarre compromise that doesn't entirely meet the full desires of any particular stakeholder.

Political leaders adroitly recognize that the inherent failure of these agencies to meet any party's absolute desire creates an opportunity. They use the promise of change to get support. Here in Utah, that manifests in leaders who vow to take over control of public lands so they can be unburdened of federal control. They scapegoat the federal agencies in order to rally support.

Being free of federal control is an alluring concept for people who favor extraction and development. They are frustrated by the untapped potential and want to see more infrastructure and economic benefit. The rise of conservationism has stymied their interests.

The rise of a counter lobby, favoring conservation and environmental protection, is really a new development. It has really only started to exert itself in force in the past 70-100 years. Outdoor retailers mostly fall into this camp, because they recognize development cannot be undone and the public lands are likely, over time, to be compromised and spoiled.

The agencies are caught in the middle. They're tasked by the executive branch with meeting certain mandates, but also beholden to Congress for the funds to do so. They're under attack by the very states which host them. They're loved and reviled by the public, often at the same time.
 

piper01

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2013
Messages
179
@WasatchWill I always appreciate reading your analyses since you spend so much time trying to examine issues from all sides, which is sorely lacking in today's political climate.

I think you nailed the issue here- it's become all about the R or D after the person's name, not the merit of the ideas.

What difference does it make if the end result is largely the same, with all the activities allowed to be largely the same as before, save the possibility of a few minor modifications to existing rules and regulations? Is it simply because a Democrat-president was able to designate the area as a national monument and did so, rather than allowing them more time to get a Republican-majority Congress to designate the area as an NCA?

In taking a step back from it all, it seems to me at this point, that it may really just come down to political lines. One designation would have been a feather in the Republicans cap, while the other is now a feather in the Democrats cap for the time being. So now, instead of coming up with a true win-win agreement for all groups involved, they have drawn their lines and dug their heels in resulting in an outcome that may well be detrimental for all involved in the long run.

I also agree with your thoughts here. Petroleum extraction isn't pretty, but we're dependent on it for our lifestyles. As much as people complain, not many people are willing to give up the benefits of using it. There has to be a compromise between those areas society deems special enough to warrant "pristine" preservation, and the areas we're willing to give up for multi-use. Nobody can have everything they want.

For those who side with the environmentalism and outdoor industry aspects, it must be kept in mind that so much of the apparel (e.g. synthetics), gear, and technologies that the outdoor recreation industry manufactures and employs, and that we as consumers and recreationalists enjoy and use in our recreational activities, largely rely on petroleum based products and/or many other elements mined from the earth, not to mention all the methods of transportation that are collectively relied upon. So for those at the head of the outdoor industry and related fields to say no to all drilling and mining in any more areas of Utah or elsewhere could be akin to shooting themselves in the foot and thus would be, in my mind, a bit hypocritical.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,605
What is disconcerting about that Bob.
It makes it not multiple use........thats what public land is for
 

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
1,686
What do you mean when you say multiple use.


Yeah, you can still drive an ATV, Jeep, or Motorcycle down any road in GSENM. It just has to be a road. There is still grazing. What other uses would you like to see?
 

Absarokanaut

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
602
Thank you for a great post Wasatch Will but with all due respect the common ground is the way these lands have always been owned and managed, there is nothing "common" in even the smallest indulgence of "local"/special interest. This is not about jobs, it's an attempted landgrab and the virtually free dollars it could provide.

Here is the reality of why a MAJORITY of Americans are outraged by these asinine suggestions coming out of Beehive Land and elsewhere across the West. Every acre of Federal Land is owned by each and every American in equal measure. An American citizen from Utah has no more say over any Federal Land in Utah than an American Citizen from Manhattan or anywhere else whether the Stars and Bars flies over their town hall or not,period.

People like Bob might not like this unequivocal reality but the FACT is Utah and none of the Western States in question EVER had title to Federal Lands. In fact, as a condition of statehood, these states FOREVER gave up the possibility of EVER attaining title to any of these lands and comitted to it in every one of their state constitutions.

All the regional State Attorney Generals concluded this "transfer" movement was at a minimum folly. The movement for "local" takeover of Federal Lands is a scam, the only way these shysters could achieve their deceitful, nefarious, and avaricious goals would be to get all of us to allow ourselves to be disenfranchised by throwing the Consitution of our Nation and several of our great states in the garbage. As darker as times have come to appear to me lately I have enough faith in the American People to not throw the essence of American Greatness in history's dumpster.

So I of course applaud the Outdoor Retail Industry for taking a stand on behalf of each and every American. Our courts are going to be tied up with Scott Pruitt and all kinds of people wanting you to have smoggier skies and dirtier water. Don't ever let a single one of those unAmerican schmucks tell you they've got jobs in the balance. Coal job losses are due to market forces and automation, not regulation. These shysters do not have any of us in mind when it comes to who will benefit from such a colossal theft, all they have are dollar signs in their deceitfully dreamy eyes.
 
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