Access Fund Announces 2016 Sharp End Awards 

Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that protects America’s climbing, is honored to present its 2016 Sharp End Awards to an amazing group of volunteers and activists who stand out in their commitment to the American climbing community. Please join us in congratulating:

Greg Barnes

Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award
Access Fund is honored to present Greg Barnes with a Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award. Greg’s singular focus on fixed anchor education and replacement has made our climbing areas safer and more sustainable. Greg is the longtime director of the American Safe Climbing Association (ASCA), a national organization that has provided—at no cost—new bolts and hardware to hundreds of local climbing organizations and volunteers across the country. Greg developed some of the first and most enduring best practices for rebolting and fixed anchors and continues to be a leader in the field, presenting at Access Fund’s Future of Fixed Anchors conferences and serving on our Anchor Replacement Fund grant committee. Greg has personally replaced many thousands of bolts in California, Nevada, and beyond.

Ian Caldwell
Bebie Leadership Award
Access Fund is proud to present Ian Caldwell with a Bebie Leadership Award for his incredible dedication to Smith Rock, one of America’s most iconic climbing areas. Ian has played a central role in the Smith Rock Group since 2003, coordinating the annual Spring Thing climbing stewardship event, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Ian also replaces bolts and anchors at Smith and volunteers for the Deschutes County rescue team. Decades ago, Ian was an Access Fund Regional Coordinator and served as president of the Madrone Wall Preservation Committee. Ian has also worked to protect climbing areas across the Northwest and played a lead role in the 2016 Northwest Sustainable Climbing Conference. Congratulations, Ian, and thank you for your outstanding leadership.

Roger Briggs

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is pleased to present Roger Briggs with a Sharp End Award for his work to protect Colorado’s Front Range climbing areas. Roger founded the Boulder Climbing Community organization in 2012 and spearheaded the Front Range Climbing Stewards, a locally based climbing access trail crew, in partnership with Access Fund. A Boulder original, Roger has dedicated his life to climbing in the Front Range, working tirelessly to promote stewardship and responsible use.

The Keithley Family

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is excited to present the Keithley family with a Sharp End Award for their outstanding commitment to climbing area stewardship. Jimmy, Melissa, Zoe, and Noah bring a level of enthusiasm and commitment to climbing area stewardship that is impossible to overlook. As parents, Jimmy and Melissa strive to instill a strong stewardship ethic in their children, combining fun family climbing trips with stewardship work at the climbing areas they visit. Zoe and Noah now provide a positive example to their peers of what it means to be a climbing steward. Jimmy is also a board member of the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance and chair of the Wasatch Anchor Replacement Committee. Thank you, Keithley family, for making climbing stewardship a family value!

Eve Tallman

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is honored to present Eve Tallman with a Sharp End Award for her decades of work with Western Colorado Climbers’ Coalition (WCCC) and her instrumental role in protecting Unaweep Canyon. In 2008, Eve helped secure Upper Mother’s Buttress, and in 2014, she expanded climbing access by securing the threatened Lower Mother’s Buttress and Television Wall. Without her behind-the-scenes organizing, grant applications, and on-the-ground stewardship, WCCC and Access Fund would not be able to celebrate a long legacy of conservation and climbing access in Unaweep Canyon. Thank you, Eve, for your contributions to Western Colorado and beyond.

Chris Irwin

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is honored to present Chris Irwin with a Sharp End Award for his deep commitment to stewarding and protecting Mid-Atlantic climbing areas. Longtime board member and current president of Mid-Atlantic Climbers (MAC), Chris has been instrumental to MAC’s stewardship projects at areas like Great Falls, Carderock, Shenendoah, Coopersrock, Northwest Branch, and many more. More recently, Chris worked with Access Fund and other MAC board directors to officially open Mount Catoctin to bouldering.

Ben Bruestle

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is proud to present Ben Bruestle with a Sharp End Award for his leadership of Southern Colorado Climbing Resource and Advocacy Group (SoCo CRAG) and his work to preserve and protect climbing areas in Southern Colorado. Ben has been instrumental in orchestrating Adopt a Crag stewardship events and climbing days at multiple sites, making strong inroads with a host of local land managers. Ben also dedicates countless hours to replacing worn, aging anchors and bolts in the Wet Mountains.

Roger Van Damme

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is proud to present Roger Van Damme with a Sharp End Award for his outstanding leadership as Chairman of the Friends of Muir Valley. Roger has carried on Rick and Liz Weber’s vision for stewardship and conservation of the Muir Valley climbing area in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky. Roger grew and strengthened the Friends of Muir Valley organization so significantly that the Webers decided to transfer Muir Valley to the organization in March 2015. This was a milestone in Red River Gorge climbing conservation. Roger improved day-to-day management at Muir, hiring support staff and instituting a successful parking donation system. With sincerity, humor, and an incredible work ethic, Roger inspires hundreds of Muir Valley stewards and volunteers.

Gus Fontenot

Sharp End Award

Access Fund is honored to present Gus Fontenot with a Sharp End Award for his decades of service to Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC). An Alabama attorney, Gus has provided hundreds of hours of legal service to support SCC’s work in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. He has played a critical role in all of SCC’s climbing area acquisition projects, and he organized the SCC Land Trust. Climbers can enjoy areas like Boat Rock, Steele, King’s Bluff, Hospital Boulders, Castle Rock, Jamestown, Denny Cove, and more thanks to Gus’ generous contributions.

Jack Santo

Sharp End Award
Access Fund is proud to present Jack Santo with a Sharp End Award for his leadership of Ohio Climbers Coalition (OCC). Jack founded OCC and immediately set in motion advocacy and stewardship campaigns for Ohio climbing areas like Cleveland Metro Parks and Cuyahoga. Over the past year, he has spearheaded a partnership with county parks to open Mad River Gorge, Ohio’s largest climbing area. Jack is planning a large-scale Adopt a Crag event this May in preparation for the Gorge’s grand opening. Jack recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest but is staying deeply involved with OCC.

Outdoor Research

Sharp End Award
We are proud to present Outdoor Research (OR) with a Sharp End Award for its long-standing support and dedication to the protection of America’s climbing areas. OR’s leadership in helping launch the Climbing Conservation Loan Program in 2009 was a pivotal moment in the history of climbing conservation, making possible the purchase of 24 climbing areas. Outdoor Research also collects pro-purchase donations to support the protection of America’s climbing resources and has recently stepped up to defend our public lands.

About Access Fund

Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, Access Fund supports and represents millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education. For more information, visit

Source: Access Fund Announces 2016 Sharp End Awards – Outdoor Industry Association

Athletes Go Live To Gain Attention

by Jayme Moye, 5280 magazine

Last May, alpinist and professional photographer Cory Richards, who was a resident of Boulder at the time, shared his ascent of Mt. Everest live via Snapchat. His stream, titled #EverestNoFilter, introduced hundreds of thousands of viewers to vertiginous peaks and stunning vistas—as well as some of the climb’s more unsavory aspects (e.g., packing out poop).

It marked the first time anyone has provided a live, unedited look at what it’s like to climb the world’s tallest mountain on what’s become one of the fastest-growing social media platforms.

Richards’ broadcast is just one example of how Colorado athletes are flocking to real-time feeds as a new outlet to reach their fans. Aspen resident and big-mountain skier Chris Davenport jump-started the trend in November 2015 when he became the first person to use Facebook Live from Antarctica. Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram all have invested significant dollars in live-streaming capabilities since then, making it easier than ever for followers to watch your moves as they happen. (Snap Inc.’s version of Google Glass, called Spectacles, launched in November.) “It’s kind of like how reality television took off in the ’90s,” Davenport says. “Only this is reality internet.”

When it comes to extreme adventuring, though, nothing is easy. In contrast to static social media posts, live video streams require Wi-Fi or a 4G connection on your mobile phone. In remote areas of the world, that means tapping into the Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN), a satellite network that provides internet coverage nearly everywhere on Earth. Users connect to one of BGAN’s three geostationary satellites through a portable, laptop-size terminal, which creates a Wi-Fi hot spot.

123: The number of professional athletes who have signed with Like a Pro, a Denver website that alllows sports stars to share training tips directly with with fans

Of course, this type of access comes at a price. Davenport’s handful of posts in Antarctica cost thousands of dollars, and Richards’ sessions on Everest totaled $23,000—all paid by the athletes’ sponsors, who tend to see the feeds as a valuable tool to promote their brands. (See the Kästle logo in the photo above.) So while it may seem like athletes are reaching fans directly through live streams, sponsors are certainly involved, although the real-time nature of the feeds makes it impossible for sponsors to edit them.

Not all expeditions lend themselves to live streams. A BGAN terminal weighs eight pounds, making it impractical to add to certain climbs. (On Everest, porters help carry your load.) Other times, stopping to live-stream might actually be an impediment to your adventure, like when you’re, say, trying to clock the fastest known time (FKT) for the Longs Peak Triathlon—biking from Boulder to Longs Peak, running the approach, climbing the Diamond, running down, and biking back—like Boulder superstar Anton Krupicka. His sponsor, La Sportiva North America, also based in Boulder, was happy to pay the higher cost for a video crew instead.

For many adventure athletes, the ability to let passionate fans feel like they’re part of the action makes up for such downsides. That’s the belief of Ridgway mountaineer Chad Jukes, who became the second combat-wounded veteran to summit Everest in May and plans to document his attempt on the Moose’s Tooth peak in Alaska this month. In his words: “You can’t beat the excitement of a live stream from a truly remote and wild place.”

Source: Athletes Go Live To Gain Attention | 5280

Dave Wiens and the Future of IMBA | BIKE Magazine

A conversation with Dave Wiens, IMBA’s new executive director.

by Devon O’Neil, Bike Magazine

In June 2015, Bob Winston, then chair of the board of directors at the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), made a fateful inquiry. He asked Dave Wiens, the six-time Leadville 100 champion, two-time World Cup winner—the guy who defended mountain biking from Lance Armstrong!—if Wiens would help IMBA shape its strategic planning at a retreat in Park City, Utah.

At the time, Wiens was working part time as the executive director (and founder) of Gunnison Trails, an advocacy organization in Colorado’s Gunnison Valley. He was also still racing professionally for Ergon and doing about a hundred other things in the local mountain-bike world.

If I had a magic wand, I would have every mountain biker wear the same T-shirt to every volunteer thing they ever did, and it would be just a black T-shirt that said MOUNTAIN BIKER on the back of it. So that no matter what was going on, people would see eight mountain bikers working away, and they’d go, “What are those? Those are mountain bikers.”

Wiens obliged Winston, and soon after, Winston asked Wiens to serve on IMBA’s board of directors. Wiens agreed. He was six months into his term when 12-year IMBA president Mike Van Abel resigned last summer, turning an already tumultuous year for the world’s most influential mountain biking organization into a bona fide situation. Five months prior to Van Abel’s resignation, a little less than a year ago now, IMBA lost its primary sponsor in Subaru. Layoffs followed. The Trail Care Crew—a team of two that drove around the country conducting wildly popular trail-building clinics—was cut. Suddenly, strangely, it seemed unclear what IMBA’s role was—and what it would be moving forward.

Wiens, who agreed to serve as board chair after the IMBA World Summit last November, watched all of this with a curious eye. He knew the potential was there for IMBA to broaden its reach and relevance. He also knew the advocacy world had changed, and it did not favor the gorilla.

Earlier this month, Wiens made one last move in his rapid ascent to becoming the face of IMBA—he shifted from board chair to executive director. The 52-year-old Mountain Bike Hall of Famer, who still looks like a 17-year-old surfer dude, says he feels like he has been “drinking through a fire hose” as he tries to absorb the scope of his new job. He took a break Monday afternoon and rode his mom’s red, 30-year-old Panasonic City Bike four blocks from his house to the Gunnison Health Food Store, where he shared his vision for IMBA and mountain biking over lunch.

Bike: Congratulations on the job. What do you feel like you’re inheriting?
Wiens: I feel like IMBA today is financially challenged, and I believe that national advocacy isn’t the same as it ever was. So we can’t be the same IMBA that we always were. It used to be, if you wanted to support mountain biking, you couldn’t necessarily find a club to give money to, so you gave it to IMBA. Now, there’s your club, they’re doing great work, I’ll give them money because I can actually go ride their work after work. It’s a little more nebulous: what’s IMBA doing?

So IMBA needs to very definitively tell the world what we are doing. If you buy a Trek bicycle, it says “Trek” on the downtube, unless you take it off. If you build a badass trail, it doesn’t have a name on it. Nobody knows where it came from.

What do you see as the biggest issues to address after a tough year for IMBA?
Our goals all revolve around, of course, access and government relations; we have to never lose sight of that, that needs to always be a priority. And then, important to us is seeing better mountain biking opportunities on the ground, all across the country. In a lot of cases, that means more access to the bread-and-butter riding that we all enjoy. Where you can get out before work, at lunch, after work—those quick hits that we all need for our bodies and minds.

We’re just trying to be more relevant to more mountain bikers. We’ve always counted our membership in that 30,000 to 40,000 range. And it’s staying just a bit static, but we know there are a lot more mountain bikers out there. We also know from our demographic studies that our average age is in the mid-40s. So the membership of IMBA is not necessarily representative of who all is riding mountain bikes. We’d like that to change.

What did you learn from Gunnison Trails that you can apply nationally with IMBA?
That I can’t carry a big stick around to get things done, because I didn’t get anything done that way.

What’s your stance on whether bikes belong in Wilderness?
It’s hard for me to answer, because I haven’t been affected by it. There’s a ton of Wilderness around us, but our riding isn’t in it. Now, if someone all of a sudden made Hartman Rocks a Wilderness area? That wouldn’t sit well with me at all. So we have to work with every new and ongoing Wilderness proposal out there.

IMBA’s policy is, and we’re going to revisit this with our board of directors and our senior staff, because I think the way the political landscape is right now we constantly have to be looking at everything and making sure that we’re on the cutting edge of what we need to be, but right now it’s that we do not support any effort to change the Wilderness Act. And personally, I’m OK with a place where we don’t get to ride.

 You mentioned the need to have a unified voice. An obvious crux is the divide between the Sustainable Trails Coalition and IMBA. Is there room for both, or do people miss anything about IMBA’s position that forces them to feel like they have to choose?

There are people who support both organizations, and there are obviously people who support only one or the other, adamantly. So I don’t have an answer to that. I just know where we’re at, and we can’t support any organization that’s looking to change the Wilderness Act. It’s pretty black and white.

 It seems like a lot of advocates don’t think mountain bikers get enough credit for their stewardship of trails, especially when it comes to access decisions. What can be done to make land managers more aware of mountain bikers’ contribution?

If I had a magic wand, I would have every mountain biker wear the same T-shirt to every volunteer thing they ever did, and it would be just a black T-shirt that said MOUNTAIN BIKER on the back of it. So that no matter what was going on, people would see eight mountain bikers working away, and they’d go, “What are those? Those are mountain bikers.”

Source: Dave Wiens and the Future of IMBA | BIKE Magazine

Opinion: ‘Skiing’ Was the Magazine the Sport Deserved | Outside Online

My all-time favorite Skiing cover was a shot of a soaring hippie in skin-tight stretch pants splayed out against a cobalt sky in a joyous backscratcher. We made a T-shirt out of it. The pages were filled with images of beautiful women in braids snaking down mogul fields or basking in the sun in bikini tops. The ads featured western-looking dudes wearing nonironic mustaches, leaning against Chevrolet Impalas with their skis or enjoying peppermint schnapps from bota bags.

The vertical ceased print publication this winter, after decades of great story after great story.

By Marc Peruzzi, Outside Magazine

After nearly 70 years of publishing, Skiing magazine printed its final issue this winter—ultimately consumed by its milquetoast longtime sister title, the bigger and marginally more profitable Ski magazine.

If you’re confused about the difference between Ski and Skiing magazines and why a series of publishing houses would have bothered carrying both titles for the past 20-plus years, you’re not alone. I was the editor of Skiing magazine for six years, in the early 2000s, and even I was never clear on the reasoning. But for most of its long history, Skiing offered a unique and, at times, vital take on the sport.

Like many vertical titles, Skiing started out as a glorified regional newsletter for skiing purists interested less in the pomp and luxuries of the early days of the sport than in just getting out and ripping around in wool pants and leather boots. The magazine was big on instruction (the sport was young), gear, and new places to ski, of which there were legion in the years after World War II, as 10th Mountain Division troops returned from Europe and pioneered the West and hundreds of local hills sprang back to life in the Northeast.

In the winters that followed, Ski (still a separately owned rival at that time) focused on already stodgy ski racing and stuffy resorts, while Skiing focused on everyday skiers. The positioning nicely set up Skiing as a mouthpiece for what came next: the sport’s first truly American movement (as opposed to European-influenced racing), the Hot Dog era of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

As hair got longer in the Age of Aquarius, skis got shorter and the sport got fun. My all-time favorite Skiing cover was a shot of a soaring hippie in skin-tight stretch pants splayed out against a cobalt sky in a joyous backscratcher. We made a T-shirt out of it. The pages were filled with images of beautiful women in braids snaking down mogul fields or basking in the sun in bikini tops. The ads featured western-looking dudes wearing nonironic mustaches, leaning against Chevrolet Impalas with their skis or enjoying peppermint schnapps from bota bags. General advertisers wanted to be affiliated with the sensual, vibrant, rebellious, athletic-for-athleticism’s-sake movement as seen through the pages of Skiing. The sport, and the magazine, boomed. I still see one of Skiing’s ad reps from that golden era—he retired to Baja off the ad revenues he made, but he summers in Colorado. He and his mustache drive around Baja in a golf cart packed with ice-cold beers.

My favorite Skiing story from the early 1970s was written by Bob Woodward (the ski writer and the one-time mayor of Bend, Oregon, not the Watergate reporter). Neither flowery nor tension-riddled, the narrative simply documented Woodward’s extended road trip as a penniless ski bum wandering from resort to resort, sleeping in his truck, discovering new places to ski, and meeting kindred spirits. That story, and the magazine, captured what it was to be a skier in that moment in time. That’s not easy to do.

But skiing trends come and go, and the Hot Dog movement faded like your grandfather’s padded sweater. Powder skiing was the next craze, captured almost spiritually by Powder magazine in its early years. Blissfully, that subset never died. The extreme skiing of the 1980s followed, but the films of Greg Stump captured that movement better than any one print title. Then snowboarding came along, and the New York Times went so far as to say the sport of skiing was dead. (Yeah, and the Gray Lady also predicted Hillary would trounce the Mango-in-Chief.) For a time, Freeskier magazine rode a youthful wave of park and pipe skiers borne out of the demise of mogul skiing, but freeskiing is now a niche of a niche sport. Skiing participation has flatlined for 20 years. Snowboarding, sadly, is in decline. Backcountry skiing has the energy now, but its high cost of entry—dying in an avalanche—will meter participation as the larger sport awaits the next revolution.

Over the decades, Skiing’s relevance rose and fell with the trends and the times, but what ultimately killed it was its own success. As the sport of skiing lost its appeal to general advertisers in the late 1980s and skiing participation fell in the early 1990s, the gravy days ended, but the corporations that owned Ski and Skiing couldn’t let go. In their attempt to regain those car and booze ad buyers, they did what most mainstream magazines do: artificially inflated their circulations. Sign up for a coin-operated ski race or buy a ski pass to Vail, and you wouldn’t get charged for Skiing magazine again. Paid subscribers left, the general ads never came back, and now Facebook’s easily quantifiable ROI (return on investment) is taking a mortal swipe at what remains of the sort of brand building that magazines of all types were built on. It didn’t help that Bonnier Corporation, the multinational prior owner of Skiing before current owner AIM Media, stopped printing Skiing for a season in some reckless experiment in so-called desktop publishing.

Source: Opinion: ‘Skiing’ Was the Magazine the Sport Deserved | Outside Online

Outdoor Companies Take A Stand In the Fight for Public Lands – Men’s Journal

Why Patagonia, and then Arc’teryx, pulled stake in Outdoor Retailer, and how the outdoor industry is gearing up to fight for public lands.

by Doug Schnitzspahn, Men’s Journal 

In January, on the opening day of the Outdoor Retailer trade show, where hundreds of brands, from The North Face to Woolrich, debut their latest goods, Black Diamond founder and former CEO Peter Metcalf published an editorial in The Salt Lake Tribune. In it he demanded that the show pack up and move out of the state, where it’s been held for the last 20 years. Metcalf ’s logic was simple: Utah’s governor and its legislators were in the midst of, as he characterized it, an “all-out assault” on public lands.

The outdoor industry, for much of its existence, has been careful not to take partisan sides and, perhaps as a result, has been dismissed by Washington insiders as a loose collection of dirtbag climbers and tree huggers, rather than the thriving, tech-driven sector of the economy that it is.

In 2012 the Utah State Legislature passed a bill demanding that 31 million acres of federally managed public land be transferred to the state, after which some of it would most likely be sold off to the highest bidder. Today, Utah lawmakers continue to push divestiture, and are pushing to shrink or scrap national monuments in the state, including the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument. And they’ve been unabashedly promoting the interests of mining and other extractive industries over outdoor recreation, the latter of which adds an estimated $12 billion per year to the state’s economy and supports some 120,000 jobs. The Outdoor Retailer show itself, held twice a year, brings in $50 million to Utah, and dozens of outdoor companies — including Metcalf’s Black Diamond, as well as Petzl, Gregory Mountain Products, and others — are based in the state. And the state’s largest industry, tech, relies on Utah’s recreational opportunities and quality of life to lure talent to the state. So why shouldn’t the outdoor industry, with a massive economic impact on the state, have a say in government policy that ultimately affects their customers and bottom line?

“Politicians in Utah don’t seem to get that the outdoor industry — and their own state economy — depends on access to public lands for recreation.”
“Political officials,” Metcalf declared, “neglect the critical role public lands play in boosting Utah’s economy, making the state a great place to live, work, and play.”


Arc’teryx Withdraws from Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City

Arc’teryx, a company that has long supported preservation of wild spaces, formally announces today its withdrawal from Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, Utah due to the state’s efforts to rescind protection of Bears Ears National Monument and other public lands. The company stands in support of Patagonia’s move to leave Outdoor Retailer in Utah and is following suit. Funds that would have been spent to attend Outdoor Retailer in 2017 will be reallocated to the Conservation Alliance’s new Public Lands Defense Fund.

“The Outdoor Industry has an obligation to protect the wild places that are important to our consumers. Arc’teryx is a member of the outdoor industry’s Conservation Alliance. Since 2014, we’ve been part of the efforts to protect Bears Ears, supporting local grassroots organizations working on a legislated solution. More recently Arc’teryx has helped to fund Friends of Cedar Mesa and Utah Dine Bike Yah, as they work on a national monument designation. I was proud to join my peers in the outdoor industry in sending a letter to President Obama asking him to protect this landscape in Southern Utah, which is cherished by our community of climbers, hikers and outdoors enthusiasts. Protecting public lands for future generations is a critical part of our brand values and we will use our influence in a way that is consistent with those values.” – Jon Hoerauf, president of Arc’teryx

On March 6thth Jon Hoerauf will head to Washington DC with the Conservation Alliance and 21 other outdoor industry leaders to meet with key Congressional offices and representatives of the new Administration. The goal of this trip is to encourage all elected officials, regardless of political affiliation, to take action to protect important lands and waterways – including Bears Ears National Monument.

Arc’teryx will also be increasing its funding commitment to the Conservation Alliance by $150,000 over the next three years to support the protection of Bears Ears and other public lands at risk.

Source: Arc’teryx Withdraws from Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City | The Bird Blog – Arc’teryx

Moving Outdoor Retailer Isn’t About Politics. It’s About Money. | Outside Online

Emerald’s contract with the Salt Lake City Convention and Visitors Bureau runs out in 2018, and threatening to depart for a city like Denver could be used as leverage.

The company that runs the industry’s largest trade show is listening, but more brands need to speak up if they really want to make Utah feel the hurt

by Frederick Reimers, Outside Magazine

Tuesday, Patagonia sent shock waves through the outdoor industry when the company announced it would no longer attend the biannual Outdoor Retailer trade show if it was held in Salt Lake City. OR, as it’s known, has long been the outdoor industry’s largest core gathering—a place to show off the hottest new gear, build buzz, and codify trends. Each summer and winter, 20,000 people pour into Salt Lake City and the adjacent Wasatch Range for the show. Suddenly this week, however, that relationship is in jeopardy, as a growing number of brands are unhappy for one simple reason: Utah’s desire to remove public lands from federal management.

Utah is a leader in the movement to transfer federal lands to the states, which concerns adventurers and sportsmen who believe those lands will be compromised or sold off entirely to development. In late January, Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz introduced one bill that would eliminate law enforcement within the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management and another directing the U.S. Department of the Interior to sell 3.37 million acres of federal land to the states. (Chaffetz agreed to withdraw the latter bill after considerable public outcry, though he has yet to do so.) Then, on Friday, February 3, Utah Governor Gary Herbert urged the Trump administration to revoke the recently designated Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah.

Patagonia’s response was unambiguous. “Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution urging the Trump administration to rescind the Bears Ears National Monument, making it clear that he and other Utah elected officials do not support public lands conservation nor do they value the economic benefits that the outdoor recreation industry brings to their state,” wrote Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia, on Tuesday. “Because of the hostile environment they have created and their blatant disregard for Bears Ears National Monument and other public lands, the backbone of our business, Patagonia will no longer attend the Outdoor Retailer show in Utah and we are confident other outdoor manufacturers and retailers will join us in moving our investment to a state that values our industry and promotes public lands conservation.”

In January, mid-sized Utah-based apparel maker Kühl said it would pull out of the show if Patagonia did. Many expect Salt Lake–based Black Diamond to follow suit because of the strong public lands activism of former CEO Peter Metcalf. “Utah is the birther state of the most anti-stewardship, anti-public lands policy in the country,” Metcalf told the Denver Post last week before heading out on a backcountry vacation. “If we can’t affect policy by staying, then the next step is leaving.”

More surprising is the stance of the Outdoor Retailer show itself, which brings an estimated $45 million to the city each year. On Monday, Outdoor Retailer director Marisa Nicholson wrote, “We’ve been listening to the concerns from the industry and agree that it is time to explore our options. Salt Lake City has been an incredible home to Outdoor Retailer for the past 20 years, and we aren’t opposed to staying, but we need to do what’s best for the industry and for the business of outdoor retail.”

Note that word: business.

Source: Moving Outdoor Retailer Isn’t About Politics. It’s About Money. | Outside Online

Something Independent Honors Innovation in Colorado’s Outdoor Industry 

The Wright Awards has once again gathered the best and brightest stars in Colorado’s vibrant outdoor and lifestyle industries for its annual contest-slash-confab, where industry leaders will rally in a celebration of Colorado innovation and outdoor culture.

Source: Finalists for Something Independent’s Wright Awards reflect innovation, diversity in Colorado outdoor / lifestyle industries

Stoke level plummeting for ski resort halfpipes 

Over the past decade or so, and the past few years in particular, halfpipes have undeniably gone down in popularity. So what happens now?

Source: Is pipe skiing dying? Steamboat says ‘maybe,’ Mammoth says ‘nah”

Effort to Bring Back Civilian Conservation Corps

The 21CSC is an effort to put thousands of America’s young people and veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s great outdoors

Source: How Bringing Back the Civilian Conservation Corps Could Reboot Our Public Lands – Outdoor Industry Association