FREEPORT, Maine — L.L. Bean and 1 million of its customers have accomplished their goal of donating $1 million to the National Park Foundation’s America’s Best Idea program.

L.L. Bean launched its “Million Moment Mission” in January of this year and invited U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to its Freeport campus in June to bolster the effort. L.L. Bean challenged its customers to compile 1 million outdoor “moments,” including stories and photos of customers using its gear for outdoor adventures. As of Friday that goal has been met, according to the company.

As part of its 100-year anniversary celebration, L.L. Bean provided the donation to support outdoor programing for youth in the country’s national parks. The company’s $1 million donation will benefit approximately 60,000 underserved children across the country, who will experience a range of outdoor adventures.

“We are overwhelmed by how many people have shared their excitement for the outdoors,” said L.L. Bean CEO Chris McCormick in a press release. “In joining us in the Million Moment Mission and sharing their passion, our customers are helping to inspire the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. We are proud to partner with the National Park Foundation on this vital initiative to get more kids into healthy, outdoor activities.”

The funding will support the Assateague Adventure Academy in Maryland, where students participate in shoreside activities such as kayaking and digging for clams; the National Conservation Corps at the Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona, who for the first time recently hired an all-Native American guide crew; Women on Water: Leaders of tomorrow, a program developed for high school girls from cities and towns surrounding the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area; archeological work in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; and the Voyageurs National Park Teen Ambassadors Program in Minnesota, which brings kids from rural areas on outdoor adventures.

Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation, called L.L. Bean’s commitment to connecting youth to national parks “inspiring.”

“Through their generous support, we will continue to nurture the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and instill in them a sense of stewardship, ensuring that these special places will be protected and enjoyed today and always,” said Mulholland in a news release.


Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.