Progressive outdoor rec industry running fake Republicans in Utah

Korenblat’s qualifications include mountain biking, manufacturing mountain bikes, lobbying for the mountain biking industry, being inducted into the mountain biking hall of fame, owning a mountain biking shop, running a non-profit (what progressive in Moab doesn’t run a non-profit?) and getting her picture taken with the Clintons.

Commentary by Marjorie Haun

Giant outdoor recreation companies are capitalists by day, taking in billions from the outdoor recreation gear/tourism retail trade, but sleazy political operatives 24/7, with a decidedly left-wing bent, a love for government control of lands and resources, and a seething hatred for Utah.

Utah is historically a conservative stronghold dominated by elected Republicans. With the exception of urban Salt Lake County, left-wing ‘green’ politics are not popular in Utah’s rural districts. But in recent decades, with tourism-heavy local economies and over 70 percent of the state’s landmass under federal lock and key, left-wing green activism has won some significant victories. Clinton’s punitive 1996 proclamation of the 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument dealt a near-fatal blow to Utah’s clean coal industry, and sent its rural districts reeling. Nealy 20 years later, with wounds from Clinton’s land grab still a smarting, despite majority opposition and overwhelming pushback from Utah’s Congressional Delegation, days before leaving office in late 2016, Obama gobbled up another 1.3 million acres in the Bears Ears National Monument. Even as the progressive outdoor industry, environmentalist groups, liberal politicians and Leonardo DiCaprio reveled in their victory over the people of southern Utah, somewhere near Blanding, a camel’s spine shattered.

Responding to the influx of out-of-state special interests caravaning into Utah’s rural districts via Antiquities Act designations, the state’s citizens and elected leaders formed a grassroots movement against Obama’s midnight land grab. With the election of Donald Trump, Utah suddenly had a powerful ally. Unable to convince Utah that tourism is the only economic path to Utopia, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) responded to this rejection by throwing a collective temper tantrum and moving its operations from Salt Lake City to Denver.

Today, looking like a phalanx of left-wing, identity politics social justice warriors and acting like desperate children trying to get back at the team that creamed them in dodge ball, Big Outdoor Rec has put on its jackboots and is marching into Republican primary politics. And, as if to get in the last ‘nyah, nyah, nyah’ before leaving the dodge ball court, they’re doing it in southern Utah. Cases in point:

Ashley Korenblat:

Korenblat, a progressive, outdoor recreation advocate, and extreme green on the political spectrum (Green is the new Red) is running as a Republican against Republican State Representative (House District 70) Carl Albrecht, of Richfield, an agricultural and mining community in central Utah. Korenblat now lives in Moab. Moving to Utah from Massachusetts, Korenblat is among the progressive democrat urban moles who have moved into the Moab area with hopes of turning it into Taos 2.0. Korenblat’s qualifications include mountain biking, manufacturing mountain bikes, lobbying for the mountain biking industry, being inducted into the mountain biking hall of fame, owning a mountain biking shop, running a non-profit (what progressive in Moab doesn’t run a non-profit?) and getting her picture taken with the Clintons.

Korenblat with Slick Willie
Another encounter with Bill Clinton
Korenblat with BFF Hillary
Korenblat campaigns for Hillary in Moab
Korenblat with Democrat Montana Governor Bullock

On its ‘Political Outdoor Impact Project’ page, OIA touts Korenblat, along with other progressive candidates running in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, where big tourism dollars await if only industrial recreation can wrest political control from them thar backwards redneck conservatives.

Korenblat: Outdoor Political Impact Project OIA website

Will Korenblat win the hearts of southeastern Utah’s Republican voters? Probably not, but if necessary she might rip them out of their chests if it gets her points with Big Outdoor Rec.

Kelly Stowell:

Although a Republican on paper, having worked in the office of Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, Stowell is carrying water for everything Republicans in Utah have been fighting against for decades. His candidacy is no less than a betrayal of the values strongly held by the people of the district he hopes to represent. Stowell, along with Korenblat, et al., is being promoted by the tourism-centric big outdoor recreation industry as the answer to ‘the assault on public lands,’ purportedly by the people who have homes, families and jobs in Utah, and actually believe in diversity–economic and otherwise. Running against local hero, Phil Lyman, who is hated by progressive green factions and land-grabbing bureaucrats for taking a stand against an the BLM’s illegal closure of a county road in Recapture Canyon, Stowell is fake Republican number 2.

Stowell’s qualifications include hiking, biking, skiing and camping, and taking cool, sideways selfies while on amazing weekend treks.

Kelly Stowell Facebook page

Note: Friday (4/6) afternoon, Kelly Stowell’s picture and bio were removed from the OIA political impact page, but a screenshot is below. It’s understandable that Stowell may have gotten some heat from locals for siding with Big Outdoor Rec’s fear mongers. The accusation that “Phil Lyman…is known for his illegal and destructive ride through Recapture Canyon” is not only inflammatory, but is patently false. OIA did not replace Stowell’s profile with that of the democrat running against Phil Lyman, which may indicate that they are still backing him, but are keeping it hush-hush.

This is how the page appeared before the Stowell endorsement was removed on April 6:

And this is how it appears now:

Given the fact that it’s all but impossible for a Democrat to win in Utah’s House District 73, which is dominated by ranching, mining, and other forms of resource development, Big Outdoor Rec has no choice but to endorse a fake Republican to run in the primary. It’s their only hope to defeat Lyman. Even adding in the unaffiliated vote in District 73 is insufficient to beat Republicans. It’s important to note that Mike Noel, a fire-breathing, states-rights brand of conservative, has held the seat for years, and is a willing arch-nemesis of Utah’s green progressive interests. Can Stowell draw Republican voters away from the storied and controversial Lyman? It’s hard to tell, but Lyman is a hero to local Republicans, and the controversy surrounding him stems only from the fact that he has fought and sacrificed much, including his own freedom, for Republican principles.

Darin Bushman, a Republican commissioner from Piute County, which is within District 73, said this of Stowell’s candidacy: “It’s a shame that big liberal money groups who have destroyed our national delegation and effectiveness are now moving into state and rural elections. Unfortunately we live in a day and age where money can buy an election and allegiance. I’m very saddened to see a guy like Kelly embrace this type of politics. Whatever happened to political selection based upon what a person could or was willing to do for their constituents?”

Utah is not the only state where left-wing progressives are running as fake Republicans, or as unaffiliated. It’s an old strategy that works only when districts are gerrymandered into oblivion or when disappointed Republican voters are ready to oust an ineffective official. But when you dig deep into Big Outdoor Rec’s motives, it’s not about political parties or campaigns, its about the need for control. When the people of Utah rejected OIA’s bid for wall to wall industrialized tourism, they just couldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. And that’s how fake Republicans are born.

Stowell, who, unlike Korenblat, is an actual Republican who is actually from Utah, may be a naive pawn for giant OIA corporations, but is nonetheless aligning himself with a political force whose goal is to transform rural southern Utah into a ‘New West’ Utopia, where tourism dominates local economies, and traditional activities such as ranching, farming, mining, oil and gas extraction, and the people whose livelihoods depend on them are marginalized, and eventually driven out. But southern Utah is ‘woke’ to the machinations of the extreme greens and Big Outdoor Rec, and this counterfeit political caravan is weighed down by its own contempt for the very people whose votes it needs to win.

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  1. I’m so GLAD you got the Stowell screen shot. I thought the Salt Lake Tribune Reporter was brave to show up at the San Juan County convention, but this guy was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He was very non-descript, just playing his Hole in the Rock connection credentials. We didn’t discover until later that he was on the green agenda push.

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