Photo by Luke Nelson, trail-runner and public lands advocate
Posted February 15, 2017 – read press release here
Bears Ears – located in Southern Utah – was threatened last year by planned oil and natural gas extraction efforts. Fortunately, former President Obama created the Bears Ears National Monument before leaving office. Unfortunately, Governor Herbert of Utah (and the congressional delegation) has asked President Trump to repeal the Bears Ears National Monument designation.
In response to this threat to our public lands, we are standing with other leading outdoor brands by withdrawing from the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow in Salt Lake City, UT.
We do not take this decision lightly, as we’ve been a mainstay at Outdoor Retailer for the last 20 years. While we are committed to staying engaged with our peers in the outdoor industry, we believe withdrawing from OR is a necessary step to take towards increased protection of our public lands.
We believe that inaction in the face of Utah’s threatening land-use policies would run counter to our company’s core values, which include accountability, longevity, and love, and ultimately our inaction would let down our community of customers and peers.
GU Energy Labs was created to help athletes push through physical boundaries, and stunning landscapes like Bear Ears National Monument serve to motivate us to explore these boundaries and discover what we are capable of accomplishing. After all, the iconic Wasatch 100 Mile Endurance Run, held on public lands in Utah, literally inspired early iterations of our first Energy Gel.
In lieu of investing in fees, travel, hotels, and entertainment in Salt Lake City this summer, we’ve donated $25,000 to a new program of the Conservation Alliance – the Public Lands Defense Fund. Beyond this financial commitment, we are also developing campaigns to build awareness around Bears Ears National Monument and other threatened public lands.
We are looking forward to rejoining the outdoor industry community at Outdoor Retailer when Utah officials demonstrate a more progressive and protective approach towards public lands, including Bears Ears National Monument, or Outdoor Retailer relocates to a conservation-minded state. We are also making the commitment to not attend any tradeshow, Interbike included, that moves to Utah while its public policy remains inimical to our core values.
These are tricky issues, and we value conversation and opinions from you, our community. Please contact us to share your feedback here: LoveOurPublicLands@guenergy.com.