REI Launches Every Trail Connects Program
SEATTLE – For many in America, trails are the gateway to the outdoors. Today, REI is inviting its 5.5 million members and the outdoor community to connect with the nation’s network of trails. The co-op is calling on hikers, runners, cyclists and anyone who loves the outdoors to actively take part and help to fund 10 inspiring trails by voting on REI.com/trails.
Every Trail Connects marks the first time that REI is engaging its community to decide how to share $500,000 with 10 passionate nonprofit partners. Each vote (one per day, per person) will invest $5 in a selected trail. The investment is part of $5.9 million that REI is granting in 2015 to more than 300 nonprofits working to create access to more than 1,000 outdoor places throughout the United States. REI has spent decades supporting outdoor nonprofits and has invested nearly $60 million in programs that help people connect to the outdoors.
“At REI, we believe that trails are nature’s playground. They connect us to one another and to something larger than ourselves,” said Jerry Stritzke, REI president and CEO. “These natural treasures are often underfunded, so we are asking the outdoor community to join us in celebrating our dedicated nonprofit partners and help us build, improve and enhance these 10 great trails for generations to come.”
Each vote will help fund impactful work at the following trails through partnerships with supporting nonprofit organizations:
· California: The Backbone Trail (national park) – The Santa Monica Mountains Fund will repair retaining walls damaged from past storms and renovate the trailhead to improve access.
· California: Coast to Crest Trail – The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy will connect one of the last remaining gaps on the 70-mile trail and construct two new trailheads.
· California: Coon Creek to Bear River Trail System – The Placer Land Trust will help build 20 miles of new trail just north of Auburn.
· Colorado: Mount Columbia Summit Trail – The Colorado Fourteeners will kick-off a four-year trail construction project in 2016 to build new and reconstruct existing trail to the summit, beginning at 11,700 feet.
· Georgia: Cumberland Island Trail Network (national park) – The Georgia Conservancy will clean, clear and re-route the backcountry trail system, improve kayak access, create the first-ever backcountry trails map and install signage at the trailheads.
· Massachusetts: Bay Circuit Trail and Greenway – The Appalachian Mountain Club will construct a bridge and parking lot in the Georgetown-Rowley State Forest as well as a boardwalk and improved signage in Concord and at Walden Pond and will install drainages and a bridge in Borderland State Park in North Easton.
· Minnesota: Superior Hiking Trail – The Superior Hiking Trail Association will construct the final six-mile segment of the trail and build several loops in the city of Duluth to improve access to outdoor recreation.
· New York: The Appalachian Trail at Bear Mountain (national park) – The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference will rehabilitate and relocate a portion of the trail on the slopes of Bear Mountain and restore a half mile stretch of trail to the summit.
· Texas: Violet Crown Trail – The Hill Country Conservancy will construct the next seven miles of the new 30-mile trail system, connecting urban life to outdoor spaces.
· Washington: The Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Trail – The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and the Washington Trails Association will re-route a section of the trail to restore access to the upper reaches of the Middle Fork Valley following repeated flooding.
To create additional opportunities to engage with trails, REI stores are partnering with nonprofits to host or promote volunteer events for National Public Lands Day on September 26, including on each of the 10 featured trails. Throughout the year, REI Outdoor School, the national leader in outdoor education, offers classes for a variety of outdoor activities. Leading up to this fall, many REI Outdoor School classes will focus on trail-specific offerings from run clubs to hiking-based programs that highlight local trails.
Outdoor lovers can learn more about the co-op’s efforts to give back to its communities at REI.com/stewardship, and can share photos and inspiration on Instagram or Twitter using #everytrailconnects.