REI Co-op to invest up to $1 million in the National Forest Foundation in 2019
Funds this year will support 15 projects and engage youth in outdoor stewardship projects in America’s National Forests and Grasslands
May 2, 2019
SEATTLE – REI will donate up to $1 million to the National Forest Foundation in 2019 in continuation of a commitment that began in 2017 and bringing the co-op’s total investment in the NFF to nearly $3.5 million. Funds this year will support 15 projects that will bring significant and sustainable improvements to highly-used trails and campgrounds in National Forests and Grasslands across the country and engage youth in stewardship. This investment in the 193-million-acre National Forest System is made on behalf of REI members using the REI Co-op Mastercard, and one of the many ways REI involves its members in its philanthropy. With every purchase cardholders make, REI donates to the National Forest Foundation, up to $1 million.*
“As more and more people get outside and enjoy public lands, this investment in National Forests will bring improvements to trails and campgrounds that see a lot of use,” says Kristen Ragain, REI philanthropy and community partnerships manager. “This year, many projects our members are supporting are also helping connect youth to National Forests, as we know inspiring the next generation of outdoor advocates is critical to the future of our public lands.”
National Forests and Grasslands are a key way for people to enjoy the outdoors, providing more than 158,000 miles of trails and 5,000 campgrounds, and attracting 170 million visitors per year. As an organization dedicated to awakening a lifelong love of the outdoors for all, REI invests deeply in efforts to create access to outdoor places and assure wild places stay wild for future generations to enjoy. Since 2017, REI’s investment in the NFF helped engage more than 1,700 volunteers in stewardship projects that touched over 160 miles of trail and nearly 65 campgrounds in 16 National Forests across the country.
“We are proud and excited to be partnering with REI for a third year on projects to make recreational opportunities in our National Forests more ecologically sustainable, and more accessible and enjoyable for the people who seek them out,” says Mary Mitsos, NFF president. “This extraordinary and unique partnership demonstrates the deep commitment that REI and its members have to restoring and protecting our public lands.”
This year’s investment will support 15 projects in National Forests across the country including:
- The Crawford Path in the White Mountains National Forest in New Hampshire: In celebration of The Crawford Path’s 200th anniversary, REI funds will support sustainable trail repairs along the country’s oldest continuously-used mountain trail in New Hampshire. REI helped begin this work in 2018, and this year will assist in completing the project. In addition, REI funds will support a Friend of the Forest Day, where youth and the public can engage in stewardship on this historic trail. 2019 marks the co-op's second year in providing funding for this work.
- Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois: REI funds will support restoration efforts in the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie near Chicago. The NFF will partner with the Midewin Youth Corps to offer a six-week long summer work program for students from urban areas. Students earn an hourly wage, learn valuable work skills and are exposed to nature and conservation.
- Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon: REI funds will help improve 10 miles of trails used by hikers, runners and mountain bikers. The project will engage the Northwest Youth Corps to employ 20 young adults for 17 weeks in trail stewardship, allowing them to gain experience for possible jobs in the natural resource field in the future.
Other projects supported by the REI investment include work in California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Washington. For a full list of projects, click here.
About the REI Co-op
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 18 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 154 stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI Outlet or the free REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs more than 170 custom-designed itineraries worldwide. The REI Outdoor School is run by professionally-trained, expert-instructors who teach beginner-to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.
About the National Forest Foundation
The National Forest Foundation promotes the enhancement and public enjoyment of the 193-million-acre National Forest System. By directly engaging Americans and leveraging private and public funding, the NFF improves forest health and Americans’ outdoor experiences. The NFF’s programs inform millions of Americans about the importance of these treasured landscapes. Each year, the NFF restores fish and wildlife habitat, plants trees in areas affected by fires, insects and disease, improves recreational opportunities, and enables communities to steward their National Forests and Grasslands. On Earth Day (2018) the NFF announced a five-year goal of planting 50 million trees on National Forests. Learn more at www.nationalforests.org.
*This year, REI will donate $0.10 per REI Co-op Mastercard purchase transaction made to the National Forest Foundation, up to $1 million. Non-Purchase transactions, including cash advances, convenience checks, balance transfers, and other advance transactions as defined in the Cardmember Agreement, as well as interest charges and fees, do not qualify. Transactions posted in late December of the current year may be applied in the following year. REI may change the benefit or named charity in future years. REI is solely responsible for making the donation.
The creditor and issuer of the REI Co-op Mastercard® is U.S. Bank National Association, pursuant to a license from Mastercard International Incorporated.
© 2019 U.S. Bank
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