The National Forest Foundation works with the U.S. Forest Service and local partners to restore our National Forests and Grasslands. We are proud to be continuing our national partnership with REI into 2019. Through its members-only REI Co-op Mastercard®, REI is investing up to $1 million in our National Forests and Grasslands for the third year in a row.1
Focused on REI’s mission of inspiring, educating and outfitting outdoor enthusiasts for a lifetime of adventure and stewardship, this partnership will support meaningful on-the-ground restoration and youth engagement efforts on National Forests and Grasslands across the country. Learn more about our 2019 projects below.
Revitalization of Lytle Creek Recreation
San Bernardino National Forest. This project will help restore stretches of Lytle Creek in Lytle Creek Canyon, which have sustained damage by visitors who don’t follow Leave No Trace principals. With the assistance of volunteers, we will work to repair instream damage caused by improper recreational use and clean-up this popular natural playground that lies just minutes away from several million people in Southern California’s Inland Empire.
Jackass Trail Maintenance and Extension
Tahoe National Forest. When we complete this trail construction project, bikers, runners, walkers and other recreationalists in the Lake Tahoe area will have a new one and a half mile trail that will link from downtown Truckee to a popular paved path that extends to Donner Lake. This new loop trail will be the first stage of a planned trail system that will stretch down to Squaw Valley, 6 miles away.
Grays and Torreys Peak, Find Your Fourteener
Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forest. Just over an hour outside of Denver, the Stevens Gulch Trail to Grays and Torreys Peaks is often flooded with visitors, which has led to severe degradation on this popular route. This year, with the help of REI, we will launch a 3-year effort to reconstruct a more sustainable, durable trail as part of our Find Your Fourteener campaign.
Crawford Path Trail
White Mountain National Forest. REI will again help us in our multi-year effort to restore Crawford Path, an historic route that includes a piece of the Appalachian Trail. Built in 1819, this track that summits Mt. Washington is one of the oldest established footpaths in the country. Our 2019 restoration and maintenance work will continue efforts to both protect the fragile alpine habitat along the popular trail and make the user experience safer and more enjoyable by improving the conditions.
Sharps Fire Restoration
Sawtooth National Forest. In 2018, the Sharps Fire burned nearly 65,000 acres, primarily on public lands, east of Idaho’s Wood River Valley. The human-caused fire spread rapidly in the hot, dry, windy conditions. To restore critical wildlife habitat and help hasten recovery in the burn footprint, we will conduct work to prevent establishment of invasive weeds and we will plant approximately 10,000 native bitterbrush and sagebrush plants. Local youth of a variety of ages will be engaged to help us complete this project.
Midewin Youth Corps
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. For a second year, REI is partnering with us to provide urban Chicago youth with the opportunity to live life outside. The NFF's Midewin Youth Corps offers a 6‐week paid summer work experience to 16 young adults on the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, a place where bison roam and wildflowers abound. Youth will help with prairie restoration, trail maintenance and other projects on the Midewin, but they will also have the chance to visit and enjoy other public lands near Chicago.
Jake and Bull Mountain Trail System
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. The Jake and Bull Mountain Trail System, located about 45 miles outside of Atlanta, GA provides 36 miles of multi-use trails to bikers, equestrians, hikers, and runners. Through this project, we will construct a mile and a half reroute on the Jones Creek Dam Trail to make it safer for users and to eliminate erosion issues that were causing habitat damage.
Engaging Underserved Youth in Sustainable Recreation
Mt. Hood National Forest. This project will improve 10 miles of trails used by hikers, runners and mountain bikers on iconic Mt. Hood in Portland’s backyard. This work will be done in partnership with Northwest Youth Corps. It will employ diverse and underserved youth, who will be gaining job and leadership skills while helping to steward our public lands.
UKB Youth Conservation Corps
Cherokee National Forest. Youth participants from the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma will travel to their ancestral homelands to conduct archeological surveys, wildlife habitat restoration work, and recreation enhancement projects. This unique experience will provide these youth with an opportunity to build a stronger connection with their heritage, while learning new skills and stewarding the Cherokee National Forest.
SAWS and Naval Academy
George Washington-Jefferson National Forest. Through a partnership with the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards and the Naval Academy, this stewardship program provides an opportunity to midshipmen/women to develop leadership skills and gain wilderness experience. By organizing and leading restoration efforts on wilderness trails and campsites, including conducting volunteer days, these future Naval officers are learning valuable skills and accomplishing critical on-the-ground work.
Baileys Mountain Bike Trail
Wayne National Forest. We will work with local organizations to construct 14 miles of new multi-use trails optimized for mountain biking, but that also serve hikers and trail runners. It will be the first phase of the Baileys Mountain Bike Trail Project to develop a purpose-built trail system intended to be a regional mountain biking destination, which will serve as an economic driver for the surrounding rural communities.
Pahvant Range Trail Construction
Fishlake National Forest. While renowned for its large Aspen stand, the Fishlake offers an abundance of recreation opportunities, but sometimes user groups clash due to conflicting activities. This project seeks to address this issue by kicking off the first phase of a proposed 80-mile single-track trail system designed to accommodate mountain bikers. REI and the NFF will partner with the Forest Service and the City of Richfield on this work, which will be implemented with the help of local contractors, volunteers and summer youth crews.
Pisgah Rain Garden
Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest. This Forest in the Southern Appalachians near Asheville, N.C., contains some of the country’s most pristine waters. To build system-resiliency to large storm events that due to climate change are increasingly more common in this area, we will work with the Forest Service and local partners to construct a rain garden. This drainage basin will capture storm run-off to help alleviate downstream flooding, and filter contaminants from nearby parking areas to keep them out of rivers and streams. We will plant the garden with native plant species to benefit pollinators.
Trail Information Project
Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. This project will update trail signage to improve trail information and improve the visitor experience on this 2,169,596 acre forest that lies in the backyard of Salt Lake City. With nine wilderness areas and more than 1,700 miles of trails, this Forest offers plenty of opportunities for exploration.
Mountain Loop Trails Restoration
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The North Cascades Mountains are sometimes called North America’s Alps. Trails leading into these mountains can receive heavy use from Puget Sound visitors seeking to experience the beauty. The Heather Lake and Lake Twentytwo Trails, easily accessible from the Mountain Loop Highway north of Seattle, are especially popular. We will partner with a local youth group to restore sections of these trails to improve drainage issues to protect water quality and wildlife habitat, and improve conditions for users.
1This 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 ©2019 Recreational Equipment, Inc. All rights reserved
Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks Recreation Area
Monongahela National Forest. This project improved trails in the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area, which is on the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. Well-known by eastern rock climbers, this area is also a great hiking destination. Work focused on the Lumberjack Trail, the Seneca Rocks Hiking Trail and the North Fork Mountain Trail, three popular routes in the Recreation Area.
Mt. Elbert, Find Your Fourteener
Pike San-Isabel National Forest. Part of the NFF's Find Your Fourteener campaign in Colorado, this project is a continuation of work REI and the NFF did in 2017. This year, we constructed a new ecologically sustainable trail segment on Mt. Elbert’s popular South Elbert Trail, completing trail work on this route.
Restoring Trails after Hurricane Harvey
Sam Houston National Forest. Following Hurricane Harvey, National Forests in Texas received much-needed restoration and maintenance work that will improve trail user’s experiences and reduce environmental impacts stemming from storm damage.
Restoring Trails After Hurricane Irma
Ocala National Forest. Hurricane Irma impacted the Ocala National Forest in central Florida. This project improved three popular trails on the Forest: the Florida Trail (a National Trail), the Saint Francis Trail System (which accesses an old ghost town) and the Lake Eaton Sinkhole Trail (which provides visitors the chance to enter a sinkhole on the Forest).
Quandary Peak, Find Your Fourteener
White River National Forest. Part of the NFF's Find Your Fourteener campaign, the Quandary Peak project in Colorado, is a continuation of work REI and the NFF did in 2017. In 2018, we worked on the high-elevation trail that accesses Quandary’s summit, completing this multi-year project.
Wilderness Restoration with Naval Midshipmen
George Washington-Jefferson National Forest. Through this program to conduct much-needed work on Wilderness trails in Virginia’s George Washington National Forest, we partnered with both the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards and the Naval Academy. Midshipmen lead implementation of the on-the-ground stewardship projects, which provided them with important leadership training and experience in the natural world.
Artist Point and Heather Meadow Trail
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Washington State’s Artist Point is a very popular site located at the end of the Mt. Baker Highway. It boasts 360-degree views of Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker, and provides access to a variety of trails, including the Heather Meadows Trail. This project improved the Artist Point area and rehabilitated the Heather Meadows Trail.
UKB Youth Conservation Corps
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. Youth from the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma received a unique opportunity to return to a part of their ancestral homelands in Georgia to work on a variety of Forest Service programs that support recreation, trails and wildlife projects on the Forest. The youth also spent a week with a Forest Service archaeologist surveying native homestead sites on the forest.
Pikes Peak, Find Your Fourteener
Pike-San Isabel National Forest. Part of the NFF's Find Your Fourteener campaign, this project started a multi-year effort to rehabilitate trails that lead up “America’s Mountain” In 2018, we rerouted parts of the Devil’s Playground Trail, restoring degraded habitat and removing user-created routes.
Vincent's Gap Trailhead
San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. With support from REI, the NFF worked in the backyard of Los Angeles to improve the Vincent’s Gap Trailhead and many of the trails that depart from this popular spot, including the Pacific Crest Trail, the Mt. Baden-Powell Trail, the High Desert Trail and the Vincent Gulch Trail. With so many diverse visitors, trailhead improvements included the addition of universal signage and kiosks.
Big Chief Trail
Tahoe National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Mgmt. Unit. The Tahoe Rim Trail is an extremely popular route that circumnavigates forests and mountains around Lake Tahoe. This project built a new multi-use trail, called the Big Chief Trail. With a focus on mountain biking, the Big Chief Trail also provides hikers and trail-runners with new access to the Tahoe Rim Trail and surrounding areas.
Angoon Youth Conservation Corps
Tongass National Forest. This project benefited hikers and sea kayakers and provided an opportunity for six rural Alaskan Native youth to participate in an eight-week public land stewardship program.
Commemorative Emigrant Trail Project
Tahoe National Forest. This project is part of a large-scale effort that melds stream and riparian restoration with recreation improvements. It re-opened a 1.4-mile segment of this 15-mile multi-use trail popular with mountain bikers, trail runners and day hikers.
Mt. Elbert, Find Your Fourteener
Pike San-Isabel National Forest. Part of the NFF's Find Your Fourteener campaign, this project improved trail conditions on Colorado’s highest peak by repairing degraded trails, restoring fragile alpine tundra ecosystems and enhancing access and recreational experiences.
Midewin Youth Corps
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Getting youth, especially urban youth, outside is critical for them and for the future of our public lands. The NFF's Midewin Youth Corps does just that through a 6‐week long summer work program offered to 16 youth from the North Lawndale College Prep High School in urban Chicago.
Alden Gulch Trail
Sawtooth National Forest. This project will rebuild 3 miles of the Alden Gulch Trail #144 on the Ketchum Ranger District. This section of the important community trail was damaged and made impassable in places by landslides, flooding and erosion following the uncharacteristically severe Beaver Creek Fire of 2013.
Crawford Path Trail
White Mountain National Forest. Crawford Path is one of the oldest and most popular trails in the country. The Crawford Path project will address degraded and unsustainable trail conditions on this historic trail that is also part of the Appalachian Trail.
Quandary Peak, Find Your Fourteener
White River National Forest. Part of the NFF's Find Your Fourteener campaign, the Quandary Peak project improved trail conditions on one of Colorado’s highest peaks by repairing degraded trails, restoring fragile alpine tundra ecosystems and enhancing access and recreational experiences.
Chattooga River Access Enhancement
Nantahala National Forest. The Wild and Scenic Chattooga River holds a special place in the hearts of river fans. This project on the upper section of the river includes construction of three kayak launch sites, construction of access trails to launch sites, installation of trailhead information kiosks, and trailhead parking improvements.
West Pinto Creek Trail Restoration
Tonto National Forest. Years of increasing recreational traffic and deferred maintenance, significant erosion and sedimentation caused increased ecological concerns in West Pinto Creek. This project is part of a multi-year effort to reduce erosion from trail networks throughout the area.
UKB Youth Conservation Corps
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. Youth from the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma participated in a unique opportunity to return to their ancestral homeland to work with a variety of Forest Service programs that supported recreation, trails and wildlife projects on the forest. The youth also spent a week with a Forest Service archeologist studying native homestead sites on the Forest.