The selected projects demonstrated critical funding gaps and prepared detailed strategies to effectively improve hiking trails in their respective communities.
Boardwalks, signage, and new trail tread are just some of the items that will be installed by the ten trail clubs of the Alliance of Hiking Organizations who have been selected as winners of American Hiking Society’s 2014 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 exclusively by L.L.Bean.
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 annual National Trails Fund grant competition, Alliance Members apply for trail building grants, each valued between $500 and $5,000. American Hiking Society has awarded over half a million dollars’ worth of financial assistance 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. Thanks to L.L.Bean, the National Trails Fund provides financial support to help them achieve this shared mission,” explains AHS President, Gregory Miller.
“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. “We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation for the trail volunteers who make this important work happen.”
On National Trails Day, June 7, 2014, American Hiking Society presented a National Trails Fund grant check to the Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation for their work in opening 2 new miles of public trail in Morven Park, Leesburg, Virginia. One trails is a short connector path from Turkey Hill Farm leads to the 1.24-mile Ridge Top Trail. This trail was constructed by 8th-grade students from Sterling’s Seneca Ridge Middle School as part of a service learning project developed by Morven Park in partnership with Loudoun County Public Schools. A number of volunteer mentors – including representatives from Loudoun County’s Master Gardeners, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, local businesses and non-profits – provided guidance to the 8th graders.
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 engage youth in trail stewardship and improve the hiking experience for hikers for local communities.
The winners of the National Trails Fund 2014 grant competition are:
- Arizona Trail Association (AZ)
- Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy (CA)
- Cayuga Trails Club, Inc. (NY)
- Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia State Parks (VA)
- Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area (OR)
- Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes (MI)
- Friends of Woodland Park (TX)
- Tar River Land Conservancy (NC)
- Washington Road Community Trail (MD)
- Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation (VA)
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. For more details on each of the winning projects, please visit http://www.americanhiking.org/national-trails-fund/2014-national-trails-fund-projects/.
Logo courtesy American Hiking Society