I don’t know if I’d ever want to be on the wrong side of Yvon Chouinard. I have a deep-rooted respect for the man, even though I’ve never met him. But, like any pioneer, in any outdoor genre, be it climbing, surfing, skiing or what have you, there’s a sense of pride and a deep understanding of history that comes with being there first. Chouinard has been a trailblazer a lot over the years. So when people nonchalantly tread over tradition or history for their own benefit, things get a little salty. If you’ve ever had your secret surf spot invaded, or your private backcountry powder stash torn apart so it’s looking like crud at a resort, I’m sure you can relate.
Recently, Chouinard’s Patagonia and a number of other outdoor companies have stood up for an American tradition: keeping public lands in public hands. It hasn’t been fun. Namely, for Patagonia, working to protect Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. When President Trump recently announced in Salt Lake City that he and his administration would reduce the monument’s size in an unprecedented move, Patagonia went on the offensive, filing suit and posting a meme on Twitter: “The President Stole Your Land,” a tweet that was shared over 63,000 times. Then, in another unprecedented move, the Federal Government, specifically the House Committee on Natural Resources, shot back with a tweet of its own: “Patagonia is Lying to You.” Watching a federal institution single out a private business, using taxpayers’ time, has been dumbfounding at best.