I want to thank REI for donating $200,000 dollars to the renovation of the Historic Crawford Path in the White Mountains of NH.
REI finally opened a store in NH a few weeks ago and on the wall as one walks in, you see the information concerning their donation. I grew up in the Whites (and still live nearby) and hiked the Crawford Path for the first time when I was 12 years old in 1968. It was a dream to hike on back then.
Over the years due to untold millions of hiker's using the path, it has become so eroded that it is virtually impossible to hike while staying on the original trail. So many trails in the Whites have fallen into such eroded rocky trails due to the unchecked traffic that it is very difficult to stay on the trails or even enjoy hiking them anymore.
For those unfamiliar with the Crawford Path, it is an 8.5 mile path where about two thirds of it is above timberline, which means Alpine Zone hiking where all flora and fauna is incredibly delicate. It is the United States' oldest continuously maintained hiking trail. It is heartbreaking to see what this very popular path has become. REI's willingness to put out this much cash to help renovate this once beautiful trail blows me away.
Please know, I am in no way slamming the Appalachian Trail Conference and White Mountain National Forest trail volunteers for their inability to keep up with the overuse of the trails. Having been a trail maintenance volunteer in the 70's, I know it feels like a losing battle sometimes. They do a great (and mostly thankless) job.
To whatever REI employee reads this, please pass up the corporate chain two things:
1) Thank them for opening a store in NH...it was a long time coming.
2) Thank them for the $200K donation. I hope it's used wisely.
@2manypacks thank you so much for this feedback! One of the coolest thing about being a member-owned co-op is our ability to make a real difference in our local communities - this is a great example of that work in action. We have forwarded your feedback to the many folks who were involved in our new store in North Conway and the grant giving decision for the Crawford Path.
At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.