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REI Grant Supports Preserve Maintenance

Land Trust of North Alabama has been awarded a $7,000 grant from REI Co-op to help support general operating costs in the areas of trail and nature preserve management. Land Trust of North Alabama, a nonprofit organization, provides eight public nature preserves in Madison County offering over 70 miles of free trails for hiking and other outdoor recreation opportunities.

This spring, the importance of these natural spaces became more apparent than ever before as many people sought solace and enjoyment in nature. While other parks and recreation options were closed, Land Trust nature preserves offered one of the few opportunities to get outside and stay active. As a result, the Land Trust saw unprecedented trail use at a time when volunteer work events had to be cancelled. This placed an increased demand on Land Trust staff and resources. With growing maintenance needs, the cancellation of fundraising events, and an uncertain financial climate, unrestricted income is especially critical to ensure land trust preserves and trails are available and maintained. REI recognized the challenges this unusual time might bring and reached out to ask how they could help.

Volunteers from REI assist work on a trail build at Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve in February.

“Everything we do is dependent on support from our community. So having a partner like REI, who values our work and is committed to helping sustain us, is invaluable. We are especially grateful for their willingness to give back at a time when retailers are experiencing such uncertainty themselves,” said Land Trust of North Alabama Development Director Hallie Porter.

Since their arrival in Huntsville community last year, REI has actively contributed to support the Land Trust financially as well as by volunteering their time. In 2019, REI Huntsville awarded the Land Trust and Alabama Rivers Alliance a joint $20,000 grant to enhance public opportunities to experience nature. In addition, REI Huntsville team members provided volunteer assistance for trail work days completing projects to enhance the trail system at Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve. To learn more about how REI invests in their communities, click here.

For information about Land Trust of North Alabama nature preserves, including downloadable trail maps, visit landtrustnal.org/explore.