National Forest Foundation

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Join REI and the NFF in Helping Communities Impacted By Fire


With wildfires having burned over 9.2 million acres in the U.S. so far in 2015, REI, one of the world’s leading outdoor retailers, has partnered with the National Forest Foundation to support post-fire restoration efforts to spur recovery and prevent further damage in National Forests and surrounding communities adversely impacted by wildfire. Post-fire restoration work can be critical to prevent devastating floods and debris flows and to protect water resources. It can be important to help habitat for fragile species recover and to prevent non-native species from invading. It can also be very important to restore access to and to repair recreation infrastructure, such as trails, for nearby communities who are reliant on an outdoor recreation economy.

“Our partnership with REI will allow us to accomplish crucial on-the-ground restoration work. It has also has given us an important opportunity to show that the impacts from a wildfire can last long after the flames have been extinguished.”

Mary Mitsos, National Forest Foundation Interim President

The National Forest Foundation, the congressionally chartered non-profit partner of the Forest Service, works on both immediate and long-term post-fire restoration actions throughout the country’s 193 million National Forest System. The National Forest Foundation works with local partners and volunteers in these efforts to restore watersheds and wildlife habitat, replant trees, reseed native grasses, facilitate collaborative community post-fire recovery efforts, and rebuild recreation facilities.

REI, a consumer cooperative dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship, stepped in to provide assistance in these efforts. “At REI, we were deeply impacted by the losses to communities across the country as a result of summer wildfires and we wanted to do something to help,” said Kristen Ragain, REI Community Affairs Program Manager. “Investing in the restoration of outdoor recreation places and infrastructure damaged by wildland fires is important to local communities. Recovery would be significantly enhanced if others joined us in this effort.”

The funding needs for post-fire restoration are enormous, especially with over fifty percent of the Forest Service budget currently going to fire suppression, which borrows from both forest health programs designed to prevent forest fires and from restoration budgets. And post-fire recovery is usually a long-term effort, which can take years to accomplish, after focus has already been shifted to the next fire.

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About REI

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 5.5 million active members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 140 stores in 33 states. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI.com/outlet or the free REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs 150 custom-designed itineraries on every continent. REI’s Outdoor School is run by professionally-trained, expert-instructors who teach beginner- to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to–and steward–the outdoor places that inspire us.