The North Face Awards American Hiking Society’s Alternative Break Program with Explore Fund Grant

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SILVER SPRING, MD- July 9, 2015 – The North Face announced American Hiking Society as a winner of the 2015 Explore Fund grant for its Alternative Break program, a college focused environmental stewardship program that connects youth to the outdoors through service, conservation, and fun.

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“We are thrilled that The North Face has recognized American Hiking Society’s Alternative Break program as part of the national movement to inspire and engage youth to explore the outdoors”, commented Gregory Miller, American Hiking Society’s President. “In supporting American Hiking Society’s Alternative Break program, The North Face is helping to embolden a new generation of trail stewards by encouraging, educating and equipping them to be public land champions in their own communities.”

The Alternative Break program matches college student groups with Federal and State parks and forests in need of volunteer assistance with land conservation projects. Student volunteers, often experiencing environmental stewardship for the first time, participate in a variety of trail maintenance activities during their week-long Alternative Break. Beyond new stewardship skills learned on the trail, students have free time to enjoy the great outdoors as well as develop a sense of team work and comradery with their peers. Through this immersion, they build leadership skills, confidence, and a new appreciation for the environment.

The North Face selected a total of 47 organizations as grant recipients, engaging more than 30,000 people in outdoor recreation. American Hiking Society was voted one of the top grantees for 2015, because like The North Face, American Hiking seeks to inspire the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and uses outdoor exploration as the catalyst for positive, personal, and community improvements. When youth develop a sense of responsibility for the environment and a love of the outdoors, our treasured outdoor spaces will be here for future generations to enjoy.

“It is exciting to see the incredible organizations who are just as passionate about giving more kids the opportunity to experience the outdoors as we are,” said Ann Krcik, Senior Director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. “Together we are making an investment in the next generation of outdoor explorers who will grow to love and protect the wild places we all love to play.”

American Hiking Society has been organizing trail stewardship projects and successfully managing volunteers for almost 40 years. In 2015, the Alternative Break program engaged 131 volunteers in 13 stewardship projects located in five different states. Since it’s founding in 2008, the program has provided critical volunteer assistance to public land managers, educated the next generation of trail stewards, and inspired college students to champion environmental conservation issues across the country.

As part of its mission to start a global movement of Outdoor Exploration, The North Face introduced the Explore Fund (www.explorefund.org) in 2010 and the program has since provided more than $1.5 million in U.S. grants to more than 300 non-profit organizations committed to inspiring the next generation of outdoor explorers and conservationists.

About American Hiking Society
Founded in 1976, American Hiking Society is the only national, recreation-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s hiking trails, their surrounding natural areas and the hiking experience. To learn more about American Hiking Society and its mission and programs, visit www.AmericanHiking.org.

About The North Face®

The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1966. Headquartered in Alameda, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company's products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.

Media contacts:

Libby Wile, American Hiking Society, 800.972.8608 ext. 704, lwile@americanhiking.org 

Pamela Bennett Ajello, The North Face, 510.748.2742, pamela_ajello@vfc.com

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