REI Adventures Teams with Conservation Volunteers International Progra

Travelers to Help Restore Internationally Treasured Destinations; Patagonia and Machu Picchu Expeditions Scheduled Beginning Spring 2010
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REI Adventures (REI Adventures), a leader in worldwide guided active adventure programs, today announced its collaboration with Conservation Volunteers International Program (Conservation VIP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving iconic destinations and cultural sites around the world, to offer Volunteer Expeditions that blend adventure, service, cultural appreciation and unforgettable experiences for travelers.

“Collaborating with Conservation VIP is a natural fit for REI Adventures as we share the commitment to take care of the outdoors for the enjoyment of all outdoor enthusiasts,” said Cynthia Dunbar, REI Adventures manager. “Offering Volunteer Expeditions aligns with REI’s core purpose of stewardship, and provides an option for people to travel while making a difference in restoring and protecting these amazing destinations.”

The first of two itineraries includes the Machu Picchu Volunteer Expedition beginning in June, available to book now. This 13-day trip will focus volunteer efforts in Peru’s Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary and the Sacred City of the Incas, its main archaeological complex. Volunteers with Conservation VIP, currently the only group authorized to conduct volunteer work in the Sacred City, work closely alongside park rangers to help restore architectural integrity by removing exotic or unwanted vegetation along the trails or the stone walls of buildings and agricultural terraces, maintain ancient Inca trails, restore areas impacted by visitor use or fire, plant trees, collect native plant seeds to be used in restoration projects, or monitor restoration study plots.

The Torres del Paine Volunteer Expedition to Patagonia begins in December and is also available to book now. The 14-day trip provides volunteer travelers a unique opportunity to work alongside local park rangers in Chile’s stunning Torres del Paine National Park to help restore trails, clear overgrown vegetation, angle trails to help shed excess water, remove rocks and widen trailheads, as well as restore wildlife habitat in areas that have experienced over use. Travelers may also use their rest days to hike along the shores of Lago Grey en route to the massive Grey Glacier, the southernmost tip of the giant Southern Icefield, or to watch for the Andean condor or the elusive huemul deer.

“We are proud to team with REI Adventures on this endeavor,” said Rich Tobin, president and CEO of Conservation VIP. “Blending our conservation and service values allows like-minded people an invaluable opportunity to experience or return to some of the most incredible destinations around the world while simultaneously helping to preserve them.”

Although REI’s Volunteer Expeditions trip pricing reflects a more basic style of lodging and amenities compared to REI Adventure’s active vacations, volunteers will work alongside local experts, gaining extensive insight into regional culture and geography, and helping to protect some of the planet's most iconic and treasured destinations. All ground transportation, lodging, meals, expert leadership and necessary equipment to complete projects are provided. Each trip will incorporate rest days to allow travelers the opportunity to explore the destination in a more relaxed manner. No previous volunteer experience is required.

About REI Adventures

REI Adventures has been a global leader in worldwide guided active adventure programs since 1987. The company offers unique itineraries focused on sustainable, human-powered outdoor adventure; hiking, biking, kayaking, climbing and more. Guests will experience iconic destinations as guides take them off the “beaten path,” and provide opportunities to explore a destination, get to know the local people, their culture, the flora and fauna and discover things they would not be able to duplicate on their own or with another travel company. For more information and available destinations, please visit www.rei.com/adventures.

About Conservation Volunteers International Program

Conservation VIP is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes “Green Diplomacy,” international cooperation that builds capacity for environmental protection and community economic development by creating partnerships between volunteers, public land managers, private landowners, local communities, non-governmental organizations, government, universities and businesses. The organization does this by strengthening sustainable development and protection of parks, wilderness areas and cultural and historical sites. For more information, please visit www.conservationvip.org.

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