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Outdoor Retailer

Peak Design says it will fight Utah's opposition to Bears Ears by leaving OR

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Peak Design says it will join Patagonia in boycotting Outdoor Retailer.

San Francisco-based Peak Design, which makes camera backpacks and accessories, has announced that it will not attend Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City this summer. The brand says it opposes Utah’s efforts to rescind the protected status of Bears Ears National Monument.

“We’re going to join Patagonia in boycotting Outdoor Retailer shows in Utah, unless and until Governor Herbert stops fighting against the National Monument, or convincingly moves to protect the land through effective state actions,” CEO Peter Dering wrote in a blog post. He has been conversing with customers at length in the comments section on the post, explaining why he thinks it’s important for companies like his to stand up for public lands even when our current atmosphere is already overwhelmingly political.

“No one could blame you for being sick and tired of hearing about this stuff,” Dering wrote to one customer. “I often wonder how much opportunity for productivity…or simply, enjoyment of life…is lost because of all this political talk, which seems to have ramped up considerably since November. But it feels like a pretty important thing. Worth the effort, and even worth the risk of losing some customers (though I very much want to avoid this). The reason we decided to take action on this issue is because in my estimation, it does affect us, as a company. This is advocacy for politics based on our market.”

Friday morning, Peak Design issued a press release explaining the decision. We have republished it in its entirety below.

Peter Dering, CEO of Peak Design
Peter Dering, CEO of Peak Design. // Photo: Courtesy Peak Design.

San Francisco, CA (Feb, 10 2017) — In response to steps taken by the Utah legislature to rescind the designation of the Bear’s Ear National Monument in Southeastern Utah, Peak Design, maker of essential carry equipment and camera accessories, has decided to boycott the 2017 Outdoor Retailer. Peak Design strongly believes that public lands are an engine of economic growth for the outdoor industry and that any financial commitment to Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, Utah would violate this core principal.

The oil and gas industry in Utah has grown accustomed to using influence to advance public policies that benefit oil and gas industry at the expense of others. Peak Design joins a growing chorus of companies in the outdoor industry who are deeply concerned about this influence in rolling back federal protection of the newly established Bear’s Ear National Monument in Southern Utah. The proposed abolishment of Bear’s Ear National Monument would open 1.3M acres to energy extraction and severely limit the kind of recreational opportunities that serve as the backbone to outdoor industry consumers, devastate ancestral Native American lands and serve as a foreboding move upon the integrity of all National Monuments. 

“It’s worth noting that Peak Design has made it part of our mission to stand up for causes we believe in,” commented Peter Dering, CEO of Peak Design. “That’s why we are doing things like this. Gone are the days when businesses can simply lounge in the background of politics. We need to do what we can to fight for what we believe in.”

Peak Design hopes by announcing their absence at this year’s Outdoor Retailer, similarly positioned small and mid-sized brands will feel empowered to withdraw their participation as well. Dering went on to say, “We’d love to inspire the hundreds of small companies that are closer to our scale to do the same, because if we all band together, it’s actually going to sting. Plenty of states who do the right thing are ready and willing to take Utah’s place. It’s time for Governor Herbert to hear that message loud and clear.”

As Peak Design has grown so too has the brand’s commitment to social and environmental causes. In 2016, Peak Design began participating in 1% For The Planet, a non-profit organization that assists and connects businesses with initiatives to support a healthy planet. Peak Design has plans to roll out a new web-based platform in 2017 which will match-make socially inclined creatives and non-profit organizations.