Patagonia has launched a series of 360-degree videos highlighting the beauty, history, and outdoor recreation opportunities of Bears Ears National Monument.
The monument’s status—as well as the Antiquities Act, which allowed former President Barack Obama to designate it—is threatened by a resolution signed by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, asking President Donald Trump to revoke its status and find another way to protect the land.
In response, Patagonia has purchased its first TV ads to promote the series, two 15-second spots that will air on PBS, and a digital ad on The New York Times website.
"You can see, by using this kind of technology, just how beautiful and special these places are," Patagonia President and CEO Rose Marcario told SNEWS. "I hope that motivates people, especially Utahns, to action around these issues."
During a phone call last month between the Outdoor Industry Association and Herbert, Marcario brought up the threat Utah's government has lodged against the Antiquities Act. Revoking a monument's designation could threaten all other monuments and national parks, Marcario told Herbert. It could also threaten the ability to preserve other areas in the future.
"I think an attack against one [monument] is an attack against all," Marcario told SNEWS. I think all Americans should be alert and concerned about this, working to protect this land not just for themselves but for future generations. [Threatening the Antiquities Act] opens the door to all kinds of things that I think would mean devastation to the outdoor industry, and devastation to America’s future of recreation and enjoying public lands. They never really talk about the jobs our industry creates, but we sure create a lot more meaningful and lasting jobs than the oil and gas industry does."
If the outdoor industry hadn't stood up to defend Bears Ears, Marcario said, the Utah legislature could have signed the resolution seeking to dismantle the monument behind closed doors, without nearly as much media attention.
"This is really a devastating turn of events, this attack on public lands," Marcario said. "I think we’ve got to do everything we can to combat it as an industry, and as people who care about recreating in the outdoors."
Find all of the virtual reality videos in the series, "This is Bears Ears," at bearsears.patagonia.com.