Visitors to Patagonia’s website are usually greeted by sweeping scenery and the smiling faces of surfers, snowboarders, hikers, climbers, and other outdoorsy adventurers.
But as of Monday afternoon, they’ve been welcomed by a starkly different sight: a black background, emblazoned with a bold white headline that reads simply, “The President Stole Your Land.”
The new landing page is a warning shot fired at the Trump administration, following an announcement that the President is rolling back protections on the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah.
A combined two million acres of land will lose federal protection, leaving them at risk of industrialisation from logging, mining, and oil extraction. Over 2.7 million public comments poured in during the Department of the Interior’s 60-day comment period – a record-breaking response – more than 98% of which expressed support for maintaining or expanding national monuments.
Patagonia calls the loss of land at Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante “the largest elimination of protected land in American history” and has vowed to to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration in response. Previously, the brand had criticised the president for choosing to leave the Paris climate change agreement.
“We are also proud to stand alongside over 350 businesses, conservation groups and Native American tribes that have come together on this issue to protect public lands,” the company said. “Climbers, hikers, hunters and anglers all agree that public lands are a critical part of our national heritage and these lands belong not just to us, but to future generations.”
Other outdoor retailers are also speaking out. REI’s homepage now features a large photo of Bears Ears with the words “We [Heart] Our Public Lands.” The North Face announced that it would join the fight by contributing $100,000 to fund an education centre outside Bears Ears. Canadian company Arc’teryx has donated $30,000 to a group challenging the legality of Trump’s actions.
— The North Face (@thenorthface) December 4, 2017
Supporters of the President’s move argue that federal oversight of these lands takes control away from local leadership and that downsizing allows the land to be mined for natural resources like oil, bringing industry and jobs back to the rural area. Cynics may also say this is merely a masterful publicity move by Patagonia.
Either way, the fact remains that the crusade is in full swing, and social media users have been quick to applaud Patagonia’s actions. To learn more the campaign, head to the Patagonia website and follow the hashtag #monumentalmistake.