The Salt Lake Tribune has published the full audio of the call between OIA and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.
A recording of the call between Outdoor Industry Association board members and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, released Monday, reveals a fundamental disagreement over the way federal lands are designated and managed.
The Salt Lake Tribune received the audio of the nearly hour-long call, which took place in mid-February, as a result of a public records request.
The call was cordial and remained polite even as representatives of the outdoor industry pushed Herbert to repeal a resolution that asks President Donald Trump to rescind Bears Ears’ national monument designation, which Herbert said he could not do.
Many Utah residents have felt over the past several decades that the federal government makes decisions about public land within the state without soliciting feedback from them, Herbert said. They feel like designations under the Antiquities Act, which allowed former President Barack Obama to designate Bears Ears National Monument in his last month of office, are done to them rather than with them. Members of the many tribal nations with cultural ties to the area have asked his office for co-management abilities, Herbert said, adding that their best interests are at the root of Utah’s request to rescind the monument.
At the very end of the call, Herbert offered to establish a working group to find a middle-of-the-road solution that might be acceptable to the outdoor industry.
The time for that has passed, said Amy Roberts, Executive Director of the Outdoor Industry Association. The other OIA representatives on the call who also lobbied to keep Bears Ears National Monument were Rose Marcario, President and CEO of Patagonia, REI CEO Jerry Stritzke, Toad&Co CEO Gordon Seabury, Darrell Denny, executive VP of Emerald Expositions, which owns Outdoor Retailer, and Scott Baxter, President of The North Face.
In decades of work on conservation, Patagonia has never once seen a resolution that seeks to rescind a national monument, thus threatening the fibers of the Antiquities Act, Marcario told Herbert on the call.
“History shows that if these lands aren’t protected, they’re usually sold to the highest bidder,” she said. “There’s a great level of concern that the idea of a national monument would be attacked in any way.”
Herbert said several times during the call that Utah appreciates the outdoor industry and what it brings to Utah, and that it agrees that Bears Ears needs protection. But the call ended when he said he needed more time to be able to find an acceptable solution—time OIA representatives repeatedly said did not exist—and that he could not say during that call that he would put a stop to efforts to repeal Bears Ears National Monument.
“I couldn’t do that even if I wanted to,” he said. “The congressional delegation have their own independent elected offices, and I can’t compel them to do it. I am prepared to work with them, tell them the situation, and see what we can do. But if you’re giving me an ultimatum here on the phone, I guess the answer is we’re going to have to part ways.”
OIA representatives then quickly thanked him for his time, and hung up.
That same evening, Emerald Expositions released a statement that it would not include Utah in its RFP process for Outdoor Retailer or Interbike, another trade show that is looking for a new home.
Listen to the full audio of the call here: