A lot of exciting things have been happening at The Great Outdoors Fund recently and we’re excited to announce yet another new initiative that involves YOU (the public!). But before we get to the good stuff, let us give you a little bit more information about how we got here.

The Great Outdoors Fund was founded in 2017 to support one critical need we believe we could help fix: keeping the great outdoors great, and more importantly, open, for the benefit and enjoyment of people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. 

But why is this an issue?

Most people don’t realize this, but in the United States alone, our public lands have more than $100 billion (with a B!) in backlog maintenance. 

It’s true. But what’s that mean?  

Simply put: It means our public agencies don’t have the funds they need, so our infrastructure is completely dilapidated and outdated, and because of it, our (the public’s!) access to public lands and waters, and outdoor recreational opportunities are at risk of being greatly diminished. 

Since our inception, we’ve worked with our corporate, nonprofit and public agency partners to complete some exciting projects—with more on the way (stay tuned!)—but we haven’t called on the public and individuals to generate voluntary funding… until now. 

We all know that 2020 has been quite the, err, wild ride. And one of the many things that we’ve seen this year has been a global pandemic that has quite literally forced people to seek refuge in the great outdoors. 

We can’t express enough how much we’ve loved seeing people outside and enjoying the great outdoors. After all, our primary goal with our organization has been to encourage people to get back to nature so that it would remind them why it’s worth protecting. 

However, all these awesome outdoor adventures come with a harsh reality: the unexpected influx of people is putting even more strain on our already fragile recreational escapes. 

That’s why we’re launching a new initiative to call on the public for help through crowdfunding initiatives called our Featured Projects Program

Our Featured Projects Program is dedicated to helping our public agency partners secure funding for projects that are desperately needed in some of the most-visited recreation areas in the country. These projects have been specifically selected because they can get started as soon as we secure the funding, but we need your help to do it. 

From individuals to businesses alike, we encourage all lovers of the great outdoors to get involved. 

We’ll be continuing to add to the list of Featured Projects, which you can always find here we encourage everyone to find a project that resonates with them so we can all do our part to #GiveBackToNature and spread the word. 

To kick things off, we’re highlighting our project called the Jefferson Ridge Pedestrian Trail, which will provide a safe area for Jefferson Ridge Recreation Area visitors to experience outdoor recreation at the most highly-visited Recreation Area within the Millwood Tri-Lakes area. 

This is a very exciting opportunity to offer to those who this impacts most—YOU (the public!)—to help us in our mission. So, what do you say? 

Please help us by donating now and helping us spread the word by sharing our mission with your networks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

P.S. Don’t forget to give us a follow to stay up to date with our efforts.

The Great Outdoors Fund is excited to announce we’ve partnered with our friends at Unsmoke Canada to establish a new grant-giving program called the Unsmoke Canada Cleanups.

The Unsmoke Canada Cleanups program was created to provide groups with funding opportunities that support litter cleanup projects across Canada. The goal is to help everyone work together to clean up Canada’s great outdoors.

The program has successfully funded a variety of Canadian organizations in the past few months. In total, a whopping $50,000 in funding has been distributed to 17 different groups. With these grants, the groups will organize litter cleanup projects that will take place locally across Canada in 2020.

Litter is an issue of concern in society. It impacts diverse locations—from streets and city parks to beaches and oceans. Cigarette butts are among the most frequently littered items and the Unsmoke Canada Cleanups program will help raise awareness on littering in Canada with a specific emphasis on cigarette butt waste.

Changing the habit of littering requires action across three areas:

  1. Awareness
  2. Disposal infrastructure
  3. Social enforcement

Unsmoke Canada is ready to work with authorities, anti-littering organizations and other relative stakeholders to achieve the greatest impact.

So why this partnership and program? 

Lori McCullough, our Founder and CEO said it best, “Litter is a tremendous, yet solvable problem in the world. Given that cigarette butts are one of the most littered items on the planet, our partnership is natural. Together, we are providing support to clubs and organizations that are truly part of the solution.”

While we’ve had to make some adjustments due to COVID-19, nothing can stop those who love the great outdoors from lending a helping hand.

Some of our cleanups are already underway and we’ll be posting regular updates as we work our way across Canada, so be sure to follow along with our progress on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

To learn more about this program or other partnership opportunities, please contact info@thegreatoutdoorsfund.org, and don’t forget to check out our current list of projects that need funding and help us #GiveBackToNature!

The Rampart Range Recreation Area project supports The Great Outdoors Fund’s dual mission to enhance the nation’s recreation infrastructure and to expand access to public lands and waters.

 

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2019 – The Great Outdoors Fund, USDA Forest Service and Yamaha Motor Corp USA were joined by dozens of Coloradans to celebrate the Rampart Range dispersed camping project – the first fully funded under The Great Outdoors Fund’s public-private partnership campaign.

The Great Outdoors Fund was established to help public agencies address the growing gap between needs and resources by unleashing private sector capital to update and improve outdoor recreation infrastructure and increase access to our public lands and waters.  For the Rampart Range Recreation Area project, The Great Outdoors Fund secured funding from Yamaha’s Outdoors Access Initiative to leverage with federal funding from the Forest Service.

The project involves the installation of fire rings in 95 campsites dispersed throughout the Rampart Range Recreation Area on the Pike National Forest. The campfire rings meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. They are being installed by the Mile High Youth Corps—a Colorado-based nonprofit that provides young people with real-world job skills and training through the pursuit of community service.

Rampart Range Fire Ring
ADA-compliant fire rings installed by the Mile-High Youth Corps at campsites dispersed throughout the Rampart Range Recreation Area on the Pike National Forest.

“We are excited for this project to serve as a springboard for many more projects just like this one to enhance camping experiences for people of all ages and abilities,” said Lori McCullough, Founder of The Great Outdoors Fund. “With an estimated $100 billion in backlog maintenance of recreation infrastructure nationwide, there is certainly no shortage of opportunities for the private sector to chip in and give back to nature for the greater good.”

“We are committed to providing easy access to this country’s national forests and grasslands.  Success happens when shared stewardship with organizations like The Great Outdoors Fund is used to leverage our capability to accomplish work that benefits everyone,” said Diana Trujillo, Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands. “National forests and grasslands are destinations of choice for world-class recreational opportunities and for families and friends to build memories that last a lifetime.”

The goals of the project are to work together to improve recreation settings and access and foster outdoor recreation experiences.  This project and the Forest Service’s partnership between The Great Outdoors Fund complements the agency’s top national priorities:

For more information about The Great Outdoors Fund, please visit thegreatoutdoorsfund.org.  For more information about the USDA Forest Service, please visit fs.fed.us.  For more information about Yamaha Motor Corporation USA or Yamaha’s Outdoor Access initiative, please visit Yamaha-motor.com and Yamahaoia.com.

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About The Great Outdoors Fund

The Great Outdoors Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to generate voluntary funding from the private sector to assist America’s public agencies and their nonprofit partners in improving recreational opportunities for the benefit and enjoyment of people of all ages, abilities and socio-economic backgrounds. From city parks to national forests, The Great Outdoors Fund and its partners strive to make a difference and help keep the great outdoors great.

CONTACTS:                                                              

Lori McCullough, 202-484-0930, lori@thegreatoutdoorsfund.org

Lawrence Lujan, 303-815-9902, lawrence.lujan@usda.gov