Boardwalks, signage, and new trail tread are just some of the items that will be installed by the eight members of the Alliance of Hiking Organizations who have been selected as winners of the 2013 National Trails Fund (NTF). These winners were the top applicants in the NTF annual grant competition that is administered by American Hiking Society and funded by charter sponsors L.L.Bean, Mountain Safety Research (MSR), and Therm-A-Rest.
Hardworking volunteers, dedicated outdoor clubs, businesses and community groups tend to millions of dollars’ worth of backlogged trail maintenance every year. More than 300 of these committed organizations are part of American Hiking Society’s Alliance of Hiking Organizations. In the National Trails Fund’s annual grant competition, Alliance members apply for trail building micro-grants, each valued between $500 and $5,000. Over half a million dollars’ worth of financial assistance has been awarded to trail clubs since the Fund’s establishment in 1998.
“Trail clubs who belong to our Hiking Alliance are dedicated to American Hiking Society’s mission of promoting and protecting the places where Americans love to hike. The National Trails Fund provides some financial support to help them achieve this shared mission,” explained AHS President, Gregory Miller.
American Hiking Society recently awarded funds to the eight winners of National Trails Fund grants in 2013. The selected projects demonstrated critical funding gaps and prepared detailed strategies to effectively improve hiking trails in their respective communities. “It’s a tough job to have to choose grant winners from so many worthy applicant organizations, and the committee takes it very seriously,” said Kerri Dellisanti, Public Relations and Partnerships Manager for Therm-a-Rest and MSR. “We are always humbled and inspired by the hard work and dedication given by so many individuals to repair, establish and promote hiking trails in their communities.”
The winners of the National Trails Fund 2013 grant competition are:
• Friends of Sloppy Floyd State Park – Summerville, GA
• Friends of Stroud Open Space and Recreation – East Stroudsburg, PA
• Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences – Raleigh, NC
• Friends of Van Cortlandt Park – Bronx, NY
• Girdwood, Inc. – Girdwood, AK
• Hui Aloha Kiholo – Kamuela, HI
• International Wildlife Refuge Alliance – Grosse Ile, MI
• Northeast Arkansas Master Naturalists – Jonesboro, AR
Many of the awarded projects aim to improve access to hiking trails by linking existing trails, formalizing new trail systems, repairing damaged boardwalks, and clearing blocked trails. Winners are also using their funds to improve the hiking experience for hikers on their trails by installing new signage and distributing safety information. The completion of these tasks will improve hiker safety and help protect sensitive natural spaces by keeping hikers on the trail. For more details on each of the winning projects, please visit http://www.americanhiking.org/national-trails-fund-2013-grant-recipients/
“L.L.Bean encourages people to be good stewards of the environment. We applaud American Hiking Society’s efforts to establish, protect, and maintain America’s foot trails. We are proud to sponsor the National Trails Fund, to support a variety of projects at the local level with much needed resources,” stated Janet Wyper, L.L. Bean’s Manager of Community Relations.
For more information about American Hiking Society, the Alliance of Hiking Organizations, or the National Trails Fund, please visit www.AmericanHiking.org or call (301) 565-6704.
L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multichannel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. While its business has grown over the past 100 years, L.L.Bean still upholds the values of its founder, including his dedication to quality, customer service and a love of the outdoors. To celebrate the company’s centennial, L.L.Bean is reigniting America’s passion for the outdoors, with donations of nearly $3 million to organizations that engage young people and their families in outdoor recreation. Over the past 10 years, L.L.Bean has given nearly $26 million to local, state, regional and national conservation, human service, education and arts organizations. L.L.Bean products are rigorously tested, guaranteed to last and always shipped free The 200,000 sq. ft. L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, ME, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year. L.L.Bean can be found worldwide at www.llbean.com, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
About MSR (Mountain Safety Research)
Seattle-based MSR has been engineering standard-setting high-performance outdoor equipment since 1969. A commitment to quality manufacturing and innovation ensures customers are outfitted with the finest, most reliable gear available for outdoor adventures. MSR® product lines include; stoves, fuel, cookware, water treatment and hydration systems, shelters, snowshoes and trekking poles. The majority of MSR products are made in the company’s Seattle, U.S.A. and Cork, Ireland manufacturing facilities. For more information, visit www.msrgear.com.
Seattle-based Therm-a-Rest has been the market leader in premium outdoor comfort since its invention of the world’s first self-inflating mattress in 1972. A commitment to providing inventive, long-lasting and reliable products has driven the expansion of the line into closed-cell foam mattresses, air mattresses, cots, sleeping bags, blankets, and seating solutions that reinvent the way people sleep outside. All Therm-a-Rest® mattresses are made in the Seattle, U.S.A. and Cork, Ireland manufacturing facilities. For more information, visit www.thermarest.com.
About American Hiking Society
Founded in 1976, American Hiking Society is the only national, recreation-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s hiking trails, their surrounding natural areas and the hiking experience. Since its inception in 1998, the National Trails Fund has granted over a half a million dollars to trail projects across the United States. Community preservation efforts include land acquisition, constituency building campaigns and a variety of trail work projects. With more than 200,000 miles of trails in the United States, the National Trails Fund is the only national private grants program that helps trail-maintaining organizations build and improve hiking trails and galvanize volunteers to ensure long-term trail sustainability.