It’s official!

The Great Outdoors Fund and our favorite neighbors to the north, Unsmoke Canada, have officially opened the application process for the second annual Unsmoke Canada Cleanups grant-giving program.

In case you missed it last year, Unsmoke Canada Cleanups was established in 2020 as a grant-giving program between Unsmoke Canada and The Great Outdoors Fund. The goal of the program is to support litter cleanup projects across the country and to help everyone work together to clean up Canada’s great outdoors.

“Litter is an issue of concern in society whether you’re in an urban or rural area. It impacts diverse locations –from streets and city parks to beaches and oceans—and cigarette butts are among the most frequently littered items,”  said Vasie Papadopoulos, Communications Manager at RBH. “The Unsmoke Canada Cleanups program will help raise awareness of littering in Canada with a specific emphasis on cigarette butt waste.

In 2020, the program provided $50,000 in funding to 17 groups that went on to organize local litter cleanup projects throughout the year. From Penticton, British Columbia to Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland and Labrador, 283,977 volunteers from coast-to-coast ­dedicated 427,122 hours to collect 1,031,926 pounds of litter—all during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Talk about dedication to the great outdoors!  

“2021 is the second year of the Unsmoke Canada Cleanups campaign, and we were so pleased with the achievements during the inaugural year in 2020 that we increased the amount of available funding this year,” said Lori McCullough, Founder and CEO of The Great Outdoors Fund. “We encourage any nonprofit organization in Canada to be a part of the solution to address the global issue of litter by applying for a grant to help keep Canada’s natural resources beautiful.”

The Great Outdoors Fund and Unsmoke Canada encourage nonprofit organizations with a connection to nature, outdoor recreation, outdoor conservation, health and wellness, volunteer engagement, and/or community service to apply for the grant. With these grants, the groups will organize litter cleanup projects that will take place in local communities across Canada in 2021.

To apply for the grant, please visit this link.

 And stay tuned!

Public and private funding will help restore popular campground in hurricane-ravaged Louisiana.

 

Feb 18, 2021 – The Great Outdoors Fund has been awarded a grant from Yamaha’s Outdoor Access Initiative to match with funding from the Great American Outdoors Act and restore Lotus Camp, a run-down campground on the Kisatchie National Forest in Central Louisiana.

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.

“We’re excited to facilitate a donation from Yamaha and bring a greater return on tax-payer dollars appropriated through the Great American Outdoors Act,” said Lori McCullough, Founder of The Great Outdoors Fund. “The new law encourages donations and relevant public-private partnerships which is exactly what we’ve established between Yamaha and the USDA Forest Service in order to build back Lotus Camp better than it’s been before.”

Lotus Camp 1

Lotus Camp is accessible from the Sandstone Trail, a multi-use trail popular with mountain bikers, horseback riders, and a variety of off-highway vehicle enthusiasts.

“For years the Forest Service has wanted to refurbish Lotus Camp and improve the conditions of this site to provide a better experience for the visitors to this Forest,” said Lisa Lewis, Forest Supervisor of the Kisatchie National Forest. “With the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act we have funds to address our backlog maintenance.  Thankfully, with the support we received from The Great Outdoors Fund and the generous donation from Yamaha, now we’ll be able to install new campfire rings, picnic tables, an information kiosk, and improve the grade and drainage of the entrance road and Sandstone trail.”

Lotus Camp 2

“Yamaha has contributed nearly $4.5 million to support projects that create and improve Americans’ opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors,” said Steve Nessl, Yamaha Motorsports Marketing Manager. “We are happy The Great Outdoors Fund is able to fully leverage the Outdoor Access Initiative grant and be among the first in the nation to attract funding from the Great American Outdoors Act.”

The restoration and enhancements made to Lotus Camp and the Sandstone Trail will be completed by no later than June 1, 2021.

For more information, please visit thegreatoutdoorsfund.org or visit us on Instagram at @thegreatoutdoorsfund.

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National nonprofit and partners launch crowdfunding initiative to generate funds from the public.

 

Dec 16, 2020 – The Great Outdoors Fund and Colorado Parks & Wildlife have joined forces with the Upper San Juan Watershed Partnership to improve access to the San Juan River and build a new, much-needed take-out ramp near Pagosa Springs, CO.

“Using crowdfunding to generate money through individuals and the public has become commonplace,” said Lori McCullough, Founder of The Great Outdoors Fund. “What is not commonplace is crowdfunding to build new or restore dilapidated recreation infrastructure, which is just what we’re venturing to do.”

The San Juan River Public Access project is one of the nation’s first crowdfunding campaigns to build outdoor recreation infrastructure to fulfill recreational demands while also protecting the health of the water resource.

“This is a signature run in the Pagosa area, it’s a beautiful section of the San Juan River to float and it’s become very popular,” said Tobi Rohwer, owner of Pagosa Outside. “With the funds raised, we’ll construct a new boat ramp and eddy feature to make it safer for boaters to take their boats out of the river. Plus, we’ll expand the parking area, making the overall experience better and safer for everyone.”

The San Juan project is the first project to be highlighted in The Great Outdoors Fund’s new Featured Project Program, in which the partners are piloting digital donation strategies focused on projects that meet specific criteria. Up next, The Great Outdoors Fund and USDA Forest Service, along with the Friends of the Bridger Teton will collaborate to fundraise for the Green River Lake Recreation Site enhancement project, which is slated to receive funding from Year 1 of the Great American Outdoors Act, pending approval by Congress.

Click here to donate directly to the San Juan River Public Access project. Importantly, 100% of all donations will go directly to a project specified by the giver.

For more information, please visit thegreatoutdoorsfund.org or visit us on Instagram at @thegreatoutdoorsfund.

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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 in improving recreational opportunities for the benefit and enjoyment of people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

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 San Juan River Public Access Project (Phase 1), which will provide a variety of improvements to help meet recreational demands at a highly-visited access point on the upper San Juan River near Pagosa Springs, CO.

San Juan River Public Access Project_QR Poster

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.