The American Hiking Society recently announced the recipients of National Trails Fund grants in 2012. Thanks to the generous support of Charter Sponsors, L.L.Bean and Cascade Designs (Therm-a-Rest and MSR), the National Trails Fund (NTF) awarded a total of $26,000 in grants this year. A cumulative total of $540,500 has been awarded to trail clubs over the life of the program, since its inception in 1998.
American Hiking Society received 104 applications from organizations in 36 states, seeking funding from the NTF in 2012. Of these, eleven outstanding projects were chosen.
The following organizations have been awarded grants ranging between $500 and $5,000 to support trail projects:
• Appalachian Mountain Club, NH
• Butler Outdoor Club, PA
• Colorado Mountain Club, CO
• Florida Trail Association, FL
• Friends of Lake Barkley, KY
• Newton Marasco Foundation, VA
• Pine Mountain Trail Conference, KY
• Starflower Experiences, NY
• Trails4All, CA
• Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park, NY
• Wilderness International, ID
The funds will allow recipients to create, expand and renovate hiking trails throughout the country. This year, several grant winners will be using their funds to implement better erosion controls on their favorite trails. Depending on the project, this will involve the installation of water bars and fortified embankments. Proper drainage systems ensure the long-term sustainability of trails, circumventing damage done by severe weather.
Winners are also using their funds to improve hiking experiences by removing graffiti and installing new, updated signage. The Butler Outdoor Club and Colorado Mountain Club will be improving signage at each of their respective trails. Directional signage enables hikers to feel safe, as well as preserving sensitive natural spaces by keeping hikers on the trail. A few of the winners are also improving accessibility by constructing new trails, connecting existing trails and providing new walkways.
“L.L.Bean recognizes the important role that outdoor recreationalists have in being good stewards of the resource. We applaud American Hiking Society's efforts to establish, protect, and maintain America's foot trails. We are proud to sponsor the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Fund to support the critical role the volunteer stewards play at the local level,” stated Janet Wyper, L.L.Bean’s Manager of Community Relations.
Even as great work is accomplished for America’s trails this year by these grant recipients, there will always be more work to be done to protect our trails. Applications will be accepted beginning in early November 2012 for the 2013 NTF grants.
To learn more about American Hiking Society and its mission and programs, visit www.AmericanHiking.org or call (301) 565-6704.
Hiking in the Smokies