REI is PCTA’s Partner of the Year

When Pacific Northwest mountaineer Lloyd Anderson began his search for an ice axe, the spirit of REI was born. Only finding what he wanted in an Austrian catalog, Lloyd and his wife Mary, along with 21 fellow climbers, established an outdoor gear co-op in 1938. From the beginning, REI was committed to helping people enjoy the outdoors.

Today, 77 years later, REI is the nation’s largest consumer cooperative with more than five million active members. REI’s goal is to “inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.”

At our recent Trail Dirt Live event in Seattle, Washington, we presented REI with the 2014 Partner of the Year Award for their long-time support of our work to take care of the PCT and protect the iconic experience it provides to hikers and horseback riders from around the world.

Since 1997, REI has generously donated more than $250,000 to PCTA. REI grants have enabled the PCTA to recruit and train a whole new generation of trail volunteers, launch our Trail Skills College program, improve signage along 75 miles of the trail in Northern California, and promote our #ResponsiblyWild campaign to help new PCT lovers learn about being safe and responsible trail user. In 2015, REI granted PCTA $25,000 to support our strategic plan initiatives that will increase the pace of land acquisition to permanently protect the trail, engage a broader base of members and volunteers, and work with our partners to protect the wilderness qualities of the trail.

REI, thanks for your decades of support for the Pacific Crest Trail!

REI, thanks for being good friends and for your decades of support for the Pacific Crest Trail!

In addition to financial support, REI has donated much-wanted gear for silent auctions and gift cards for rewarding PCTA volunteers. Local stores offer free clinics where thru-hikers present slideshows and discuss how to best hike the trail. They host PCTA volunteer recruitment presentations and tabling events and they allow volunteer trail maintaining groups to use store meeting space for planning sessions.

REI’s success hinges on satisfied and motivated employees. The co-op leads the way in philanthropy and community involvement, encouraging its employees to volunteer, participate in the grants process and support their favorite causes. REI employees coordinate and recruit volunteers for service projects, and generously donate their time to help others experience the outdoors.

At Saturday’s event, Marc Berejka, REI’s director of government and community affairs, accepted the award and spoke to the crowd about REI’s commitment to the PCTA and the trail. He spoke to the mutual challenges that both REI and PCTA face in playing pivotal roles at the local, regional and national levels to protect wilderness, encourage outdoor recreation and engage the community as stewards of our natural resources.

“When we marry the local and national interests, we give back to society as a whole for healthy people, places and planet,” he said.

Join us in thanking and recognizing REI as an exemplary partner of the PCTA.

Author: Angie Williamson

Angie Williamson is the Director of Philanthropy for the Pacific Crest Trail Association. She oversees our fundraising work so that we have the resources we need to fulfill our mission. Her favorite part of her job is talking with donors who share our passion for the PCT.