WAITSFIELD, Vt. — All Terrain of Sunapee, New Hampshire and Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) of Seattle, Wash., recently joined with other local businesses in the region to support the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT).
Grants from All Terrain, a maker of natural care outdoor products, and REI, one of the nation’s largest retailers of outdoor gear, will help Northern Forest Canoe Trail manage the 740-mile water trail and engage rural youth in active outdoor pursuits.
“The Trail is really about helping to empower local businesses and communities to benefit from this incredible resource,” says NFCT Executive Director Kate Williams. “Support from companies with a strong regional presence, like All Terrain, L.L. Bean, Old Town Canoe, and REI among many others, is a critical part of the equation. We are very fortunate that they too see the empowerment that comes from having such a recognizable recreational asset in their backyard.”
A grant from All Terrain will assist the Northern Forest Canoe Trail in getting rural youth out on the ponds and rivers of the Trail through the Northern Forest Explorers program. This approach to youth engagement places rural youth from northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine in week-long outdoor adventures that build a connection to and pride of place and helps encourage participants in becoming lifelong learners and leaders. The Obama Administration in its 2011 America’s Great Outdoors report highlighted the weakening of our nation’s youth connection to nature as a trend that should be reversed.
Support from REI allows Northern Forest Canoe Trail to continue building its corps of Trail Maintainers, local volunteers who help keep the Trail open and accessible for all. REI’s assistance will allow 13 hubs to be established where volunteers can access the tools and other equipment they need to help maintain the Trail.Williams stressed that “this program gets to the heart of what the Trail is all about and that connection to community we strive towards.
“Support from REI or the owner of the local corner store is what makes the Trail so special and is the thing that will continue to draw visitors into Trailside communities. This commitment from our business partners is such a critical part of the success of the Trail.”
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a 740-mile inland paddling trail tracing historic travel routes across New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire, and Maine. Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Inc. is internationally regarded as the preeminent water trail organization in North America, and connects people to the Trail’s natural environment, human heritage, and contemporary communities by stewarding, promoting, and providing access to canoe and kayak experiences along this route.
To learn more about paddling the NFCT, to become a member, and to purchase a guidebook and maps, visit http://www.northernforestcanoetrail.org or call 802-496-2285.