Outside has been covering the outdoors for decades, and it’s no secret that we care about our public lands. We hope they’ll be preserved and will remain open to the recreationists of future generations. That sentiment is widely shared by the $887 billion outdoor industry. Last year, the industry decided it was time to act in accordance with its values.
Patagonia was the first brand to speak out, announcing it would no longer attend the biannual Outdoor Retailer trade show if it remained in Utah, a state whose elected officials are at the forefront of an effort to transfer public land management from the federal government to the states, which many believe will result in these lands being auctioned for development. It was also Utah politicians who pushed President Trump late last year to drastically cut the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. After Patagonia pulled support for Salt Lake City, other brands followed suit, and eventually the trade show relocated.
This month, Outdoor Retailer will hold its first show (January 25 to 28) in its new Denver home. To celebrate a future of ongoing advocacy, members of the outdoor industry will gather with members of Colorado’s environmental community, from the Access Fund to Protect Our Winters, at an event called Night Zero. We at Outside think it’s crucial that these types of conversations continue to happen, and that’s why we’ve decided to support the event.
“As the move from Utah demonstrated, the public land conservation community and outdoor industry have a lot in common,” says Scott Miller of the Wilderness Society, which is also sponsoring the event. “And that is fighting to protect our lands and address climate change. Night Zero is to welcome the outdoor industry to Colorado and get people together under the same roof to talk about these important issues.”
Night Zero is an opportunity to network and learn from speakers who run the gamut from political leaders to athletes. Guests will hear from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper; Len Necefer of NativesOutdoors; polar explorer Eric Larsen, professional athlete and environmental activist Caroline Gleich; Luis Benitez, director of Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office; and Peter Metcalf, founder of Black Diamond.
“They’ll focus on how they’ve been able to protect the places we recreate through their position and work, and why it’s so important for the industry and conservation community to come together to protect our public lands and tackle the issues that threaten them, like climate change,” says Kim Stevens, public lands outreach coordinator at the Wilderness Society. “Now is the time to be sure that public land protection continues to be part of the conversation and to set the stage that shows environmental policy, conservation, and outdoor recreation go hand in hand.”
Night Zero will be held on January 24, the night before Outdoor Retailer officially begins, from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 pm., at the McNichols Building (144 West Colfax Avenue). Speakers will start at 8:15 p.m. The event is not open to the public due to limited space, but anyone who is attending Outdoor Retailer is welcome to join. We’ll also be posting a recap of the event.