Does it make sense to devote a gear website to a political message? In the wake of President Donald Trump's order to shrink Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante national monuments, REI, Patagonia, and the North Face seem to think so.
“The President stole your land,” reads the particularly clear, splashy homepage on Patagonia.com. REI and the North Face have similar, if a little more nuanced, messages on their sites right now, too.
Will taking such a clear political stand in this era of hyper-divisive politics cost the brands a few sales? Almost certainly. But clearly, they believe that what they’re fighting for is worth a little sacrifice.
“At Patagonia, we are outraged to see President Trump attempt to eliminate federal protection of two million acres of land that belongs to all Americans,” says Cory Bayers, the brand’s vice president of marketing. “On behalf of our staff, customers, and the 2.8 million people who voiced their desire to protect these treasures forever, we’re using every tool at our disposal to stop this illegal action.”
Follow the link on Patagonia’s homepage, and you’re taken to a brief summation of the pro-public lands argument. We've written about this for years, so forgive me if I’m overly brief, but Patagonia hits on the overwhelming public support for the monuments, the billions in consumer spending that makes outdoor rec a larger industry than oil and gas, and the states selling off their land to oil and gas drillers. It’s a nice summation that’s well presented, even if it’s nothing new.
Follow the Take Action link, and you’re led to a form that prompts you to tweet to Donald Trump, Ryan Zinke, and Orrin Hatch about protecting the monuments.
REI directs you to the sites of Conservation Alliance, Outdoor Alliance, and Monuments for All. The North Face kicks you out to a Kickstarter page for a visitor center at Bears Ears.
Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, spoke to CNN about Bears Ears early Monday, saying: "I'm going to sue him. It seems the only thing this administration understands is lawsuits. I think it's a shame that only four percent of American lands are national parks. Costa Rica's got ten percent. Chile will now have way more parks than we have. We need more, not less. This government is evil and I'm not going to sit back and let evil win."
Patagonia’s all-black website feels very appropriate right now.