Meet Our New Charity Partner: American Hiking Society

Customers who shop at our online store tacticalgear.com can now make a charitable donation with every purchase to help preserve the foot trails we love so much.

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We have teamed up with American Hiking Society (AHS), a national nonprofit that has been at the forefront of many major conservation issues focused on preserving America’s trails for more than 35 years. Through this alliance, we now give our customers a chance to help protect the places where they love to hike with each pair of boots they buy.

AHS was formed in 1976 to fill the need for a national organization that could focus on trails and hiking. Started by group of hiking enthusiasts, journalists and conservationists—including William Kemsley, Jr., the founder of Backpacker magazine—AHS has made a name for itself as being an advocate for all hikers and for the trails they enjoy.

One of the organization’s major achievements was the creation of National Trails Day®. National Trails Day® (NTD) occurs annually on the first Saturday in June, and it includes all sorts of activities that promote the use of America’s more than 200,000 miles of trails.   The celebration has now grown to more than 2,000 events and more than 150,000 participants across all fifty states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.  NTD’s trail stewardship impacts are significant and measurable; in 2012, NTD trail volunteers completed more than 400 trail projects, resulting in the construction or maintenance of 1,291 miles of trail.

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AHS’s other major accomplishments include:

– Creation of the Volunteer Vacations program in 1979, sending hundreds of individual yearly into public lands nationwide to restore and maintain trails. Annually, AHS places more than 500 volunteers on 60 to 70 Volunteer Vacation projects, resulting in thousands of hours of sweat equity on behalf of trails. In addition, AHS’s Alternative Break volunteer program for college-aged students engages universities and students nationwide and helps to create the next generation of impassioned trail stewards and dedicated conservationists.

– Establishment of Hike the Hill in 1997, an annual event designed to convene trail supporters in Washington, D.C. to advocate for trail funding and protection. AHS also responds to new or emerging threats to hiking trails and natural areas on a continuing, year-round basis.

– Launch of the National Trails Fund in 1998, the only privately-funded grants program dedicated to establishing, protecting and maintaining foot trails. Since its inception, the Fund has awarded more than $500,000 to grassroots efforts to save trail lands and build and maintain foot trails.

Stay on the lookout for the American Hiking Society’s donation box during your next purchase at tacticalgear.com. You can also follow AHS on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter. Here’s to protecting the trails one small donation at a time!

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