Give Back Guide: 5 Outdoor Non-Profits Worth Your Time and Money
Backpacking beyond cell service. Finding a new swimming hole. Catching a glassy left. What would life be without these hard-won, magical moments? In a season full of buying, giving and getting, it’s worth remembering that access to the outdoors isn’t a convenience, it’s a treasure. And while you can’t commodify your time spent in the wilderness—you can put your money and energy toward keeping the wilderness alive. Of course this is a rather small list compared to all the different possible ways to give back to the outdoors. From something as simple as picking up litter on your next hike to more involved volunteer work or financial gifts, every bit helps. Whether donating, volunteering or connecting, here are five of our favorite organizations that work to give back to the outdoors.
From trail maintenance to land protection, Sacramento, CA-based Pacific Crest Trail Association is dedicated to keeping the 2,650-mile long Pacific Crest Trail alive and well for generations to come. We are such big fans of the PCTA we even donated 10% of sales from our Pacific Crest Trail collection to this organization earlier in the year. Whether you plan on completing a thru-hike of your own or just hiking a more manageable section of it, everyone can appreciate the ability to hike continuously from border to border in the United States.
Neighborhood tree plantings are the source of Friends of Trees’ awesomeness, an organization committed to growing healthy communities by making them a little leafier. From adding shade to cleaning water, soil and air, having more trees is always a good thing. This program is based in Oregon, but similar programs can be found throughout the country.
Founded by John Muir back in 1892, the Sierra Club uses its size and influence to tackle agendas like the permanent protection of millions of acres of wilderness. In the past they’ve helped pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act, and more recently have been leading the way towards the move away from fossil fuels. We’re down with that—are you? Join the club and be heard.
We’ve been big fans of the Parks Project for a while now and are pleased to be carrying their products. Through their collection of highly usable and wearable goods, Parks Project creates products that directly fund conservation projects in the National Parks and also organize on-site volunteer projects. With each product sold, a portion of the proceeds are directly donated, but you can also meet up for one of their conservation work parties if you’ve already dropped in on a tee or a sweatshirt.
“Leave no trace”—it’s a code of ethics on how to use the wilderness in a way that sustains it for our kids and their kids. Leave No Trace is also a national organization that educates people about this and inspires them to go outside in a responsible way. From respecting wildlife and being considerate of other visitors to minimizing fire impacts and properly disposing of waste, the principals of Leave No Trace are important for outdoor enthusiasts to know. It’s easy to research the principals online or you can attend one of their many in-person training courses.