Boardwalks, signage, and new trail tread are just some of the items that will be installed by the eight members of the Alliance of Hiking Organizations who have been selected as winners of the 2013 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 by charter sponsors L.L.Bean, Mountain Safety Research (MSR), and Therm-A-Rest.
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 National Trails Fund’s annual grant competition, Alliance members apply for trail building micro-grants, each valued between $500 and $5,000. Over half a million dollars’ worth of financial assistance has been awarded 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. The National Trails Fund provides some financial support to help them achieve this shared mission,” explained AHS President, Gregory Miller.
American Hiking Society recently awarded funds to the eight winners of National Trails Fund grants in 2013. The selected projects demonstrated critical funding gaps and prepared detailed strategies to effectively improve hiking trails in their respective communities. “It’s a tough job to have to choose grant winners from so many worthy applicant organizations, and the committee takes it very seriously,” said Kerri Dellisanti, Public Relations and Partnerships Manager for Therm-a-Rest and MSR. “We are always humbled and inspired by the hard work and dedication given by so many individuals to repair, establish and promote hiking trails in their communities.”
The winners of the National Trails Fund 2013 grant competition are:
- Friends of Sloppy Floyd State Park – Summerville, GA
- Friends of Stroud Open Space and Recreation – East Stroudsburg, PA
- Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences – Raleigh, NC
- Friends of Van Cortlandt Park – Bronx, NY
- Girdwood, Inc. – Girdwood, AK
- Hui Aloha Kiholo – Kamuela, HI
- International Wildlife Refuge Alliance – Grosse Ile, MI
- Northeast Arkansas Master Naturalists – Jonesboro, AR
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 improve the hiking experience for hikers on their trails by installing new signage and distributing safety information. The completion of these tasks will improve hiker safety and help protect sensitive natural spaces by keeping hikers on the trail. For more details on each of the winning projects, please visit http://www.americanhiking.org/national-trails-fund-2013-grant-recipients/