The Salt Lake Tribune obtained audio of the phone call between Governor Herbert of Utah and members of the outdoor industry that lead to Outdoor Retailer and subsequently Interbike pulling out of Utah for future shows. You can listen to the full audio recording above — it’s a classic case of actions speaks louder than words, as Herbert pontificates at length about how public lands are extremely important to Utah while at almost the exact same time, signing resolutions to dismantle public lands in his state.
On the call with Governor Herbert was Amy Roberts, OIA Executive Director; Gordon Seabury, Chair of OIA and CEO of Toad & Co; Darrell Denny, EVP of Emerald Expositions; Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia; Scott Baxter, President of The North Face; and Jerry Stritzke, CEO of REI — together representing over $5 billion in revenue.
The call kicked off with Herbert expressing his desire to find common ground and work towards an outcome that would be mutually beneficial to the people of Utah, those in the Outdoor Industry, and the people of the United States — the ultimate owners of our public lands. He suggested that perhaps his office didn’t do a great job at properly communicating their goals — his focus was on the management of the public lands, not that they don’t value their backyard.
“I believe Utah is unrivaled in the world in the extraordinary outdoor opportunities we have to offer,” Herbert said. “I consider my primary obligation as governor is to protect, preserve, and enhance those public lands.”
Herbert stated that he thought Bear Ears was the biggest area of contention for the outdoor execs on the call. While he agreed there needs to be protection of the area for various reasons, the size of the area was the issue and that only by rescinding the monument status, would Utah be able to work together with Native Americans on a co-management plan. Roberts responded that by asking Trump to rescind the monument status, the Antiquities Act itself would be at risk, and there has been no discussion of what would happen to the lands that got sold back to the state.
“It’s not a political issue or a ploy; it’s a moral issue for us and our passion for wild places”, said Marcario. “Never have I seen or has my founder seen (referring to Yvon Chouinard) in the history of conservation has a state sought to rescind a national monument, let alone two.”
Denny said Utah still has the chance to change course, but Herbert needed to make some sort of public statement objecting the move to dismantle any national monuments in the state and do it quickly if they wanted to be part of the Outdoor Retailer and Interbike RFP process. “If you’re giving me an ultimatum here on the phone, then the answer is, I guess, we’re going to have to part ways,” Herbert responded.
Would a face-to-face meeting have helped? Probably not, as at the exact time of the call, HCR12, a resolution calling for federal legislation to shrink the border of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, awaited Herbert’s signature. He signed the resolution the very next day.