Patagonia, REI and other outdoor clothing and equipment retailers are speaking out against President Trump’s plan to slash the size of two national monuments in Utah by some two million acres.
Mr. Trump on Monday announced that his administration would shrink Bears Ears National Monument, a region of red rock canyons, by 85 percent, and cut another monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante, to about half its current size.
“The president stole your land,” Patagonia said in a pop-up message on its website. “In an illegal move, the president just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history.”
Patagonia has been at the forefront of the outdoor recreation industry as the sector becomes increasingly politicized by the actions of Mr. Trump this year. On Tuesday, the company’s general counsel, Hilary Dessouky, said through a spokeswoman that the company planned to file a lawsuit on Wednesday challenging the president’s shrinking of the national monument.
“The administration’s unlawful actions betray our shared responsibility to protect iconic places for future generations,” Ms. Dessouky said. “We worked to establish Bears Ears National Monument and will now fight to protect it.”
Rose Marcario, Patagonia’s president, has previously warned that the company would take legal action to protect public lands, particularly after Mr. Trump in April ordered the secretary of the interior, Ryan Zinke, to review 27 national monuments. In response to the president’s remarks on Monday, she said the company would “continue that fight in the courts.”
Other companies in the outdoor retail industry have also criticized the move.
REI said it would continue to pursue bipartisan support to protect public lands and “prevent death by a thousand cuts.”
“We just lost millions of acres of protected land,” the company said. “But we remain united as a community.”
North Face, citing federal lawsuits that were filed in anticipation of Mr. Trump’s decision, said it was donating $100,000 to an education center for Bears Ears.
And the Canadian company Arc’teryx announced it would donate the net proceeds of its Nov. 28 post-Thanksgiving eCommerce sales in the United States to The Conservation Alliance and an additional $30,000 to the alliance’s Public Lands Defense Fund, which is challenging the legality of Mr. Trump’s move.
But the intersection of retailers and politics can be fraught. In January, L.L. Bean, the retailer known for its winter boots, faced a boycott from its liberal customers after Mr. Trump tweeted his thanks to a member of the Bean family who had donated to a political action committee that supported his presidential campaign.
Mr. Trump announced his decision to reduce the public lands during a speech at Utah’s State Capitol in Salt Lake City, undoing the designations of his Democratic predecessors. President Barack Obama made Bears Ears a monument in 2016, and President Bill Clinton classified Grand Staircase-Escalante in 1996, using the Antiquities Act, which allows presidents to set aside landmarks and “other objects of historic or scientific interest.”
“Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington,” Mr. Trump said. “And guess what? They’re wrong.”
On Tuesday Mr. Zinke, in a call with reporters, directly addressed Patagonia when asked to respond to the company’s assertion that the president had “stolen” people’s land.
“You mean Patagonia made in China?” he said. “This is an example of a special interest. … Not one square inch was stolen. The federal estate remains intact.”
“I think it’s shameful and appalling that they would blatantly lie in order to gain money in their coffers,” Mr. Zinke said.
At least three lawsuits so far have been filed challenging the president’s decision.
One lawsuit, filed in District Court in Washington, D.C., on Monday — by the Wilderness Society, Great Old Broads for Wilderness and eight other groups — is in defense of Grand Staircase. It named Mr. Trump, Mr. Zinke and Brian Steed, of the Bureau of Land Management, as defendants, saying Mr. Trump exceeded his authority under the Constitution and the Antiquities Act that established the monuments.
A second suit also challenges the Grand Staircase decision, filed by paleontologists.
A third lawsuit challenges the Bears Ears decision, and was filed by the five tribes who supported that monument: the Navajo, the Hopi, the Ute Mountain Ute, the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and the Zuni.
It questions Mr. Trump’s authority to use the Antiquities Act to modify or replace national monuments created by his predecessors.
The expected legal battle could alter the course of American land conservation, and usher in logging, mining and other commercial activities onto preserved public areas.
In the view of the sector’s retailers, such moral advocacy is inextricably tied to its bottom line. Patagonia has donated up to $5 million in the past two fiscal years to support 300 environmental groups working to protect public lands in the United States, including at Bears Ears, which has some of the natural features enjoyed by its customer base, such as the climbing area known as Indian Creek.
The controversy over the Utah monuments has had an impact in other ways on the state level. When it became apparent earlier this year that Gov. Gary R. Herbert of Utah did not support protecting Bears Ears as a national monument, Patagonia took the lead in pressing for the industry’s largest annual trade show, the Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show, to move out of the state, Corley Kenna, a spokeswoman for Patagonia, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
Instead, it will be held in Colorado next month.