Multi-million dollar, multi-year partnership aims to inspire deeper experiences; co-op unveils new digital national parks guide and Milepost podcast series
Press Release // Seattle, WA • January 7, 2016 – Today REI announced that to celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, it has focused its multi-million dollar partnership with the National Park Foundation on helping people to go deeper into the National Park System. The effort sets out to diversify access to national parks for new visitors and unlock new experiences for those who already know and love them.
To kick-off the centennial, the co-op unveiled a new, dynamic digital trail guide to the national parks at a gathering of industry partners in Salt Lake City, inviting lovers of the outdoors to share their expertise. The crowdsourced app, called the REI Co-op Guide to the National Parks, is powered by the collective knowledge of the outdoor community and puts their shared wisdom about deeper park experiences into the hands of America’s adventurers.
Now available on Android and iOS platforms, the app helps you find and share content about hidden trails, unknown viewpoints and idyllic spots to enjoy life outside. The guide has been developed to enable deeper experiences across the park system, while alleviating strain on the highly trafficked places. The tool was developed by the creators of Mountain Project, an app used by millions of climbers who record and share their favorite climbing routes in near-real time.
“This centennial, we should take full advantage of the freedom we have to explore our nation’s most inspiring natural, cultural and historical places,” said Jerry Stritzke, REI president and CEO. “REI members are an incredible, ready-made network of guides and advocates. Together, we can better protect and promote broader enjoyment of these amazing national assets for the next 100 years. I hope our members will share their passion by inviting new people to experience the parks in new ways.”
Building on #OptOutside, which invited people to share their passion for a life outdoors, REI is also presenting a new podcast series, Mileposts, in partnership with the creators of the Dirtbag Diaries. The co-op will co-create a series of eight podcast episodes relating stories of transformational experiences in the national parks. The first episode will launch later in January and more information on the podcasts can be found on the REI blog.
REI is also contributing to the centennial narrative by sponsoring National Parks Adventure, a new film to be released in IMAX® theaters and giant-screen cinemas in February. REI will promote the film through its stores and digital platforms, and host special events for REI members.
As the “Official Outdoor Retailer” of the National Park Centennial celebration, REI’s financial and in-kind support adds momentum to #FindYourPark (#EncuentraTuParque in Spanish), jointly run by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, to unlock new experiences for those who already know and love their national parks and to encourage new, diverse audiences to take them in for the first time.
Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, said, “Speaking to the essence of the Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque movement, REI’s new digital trail guide and podcast series will encourage park enthusiasts to inspire each other and people who have never visited parks to explore the natural, cultural, recreational and urban gems found across our National Park System. Our relationship with REI is a quintessential example of a public-private partnership that strengthens and supports the National Park Service and connects people from all backgrounds to the diverse park experiences that can be had across the country.”
REI first announced its involvement in the 100th birthday of the National Park Service last March, which kicked off with #FindYourPark, a public awareness campaign. Other areas where the co-op is currently involved include:
- REI Adventures’ national park trips – The co-op is donating 10 percent of the retail price for each REI Adventures’ national park trip purchased through the end of 2016 to the National Park Foundation. With the broadest assortment of backpacking trips in the national parks of any guide company, REI Adventures offers more than 45 national park trips. In 2015, REI Adventures’ trips into these national treasures generated $300,000 in additional funding for the National Park Foundation.
- REI Outdoor School – More than 300 classes and outings are offered in national parks through REI Outdoor School. Participants can choose from a variety of outdoor activities across the country led by expert instructors and can look for special opportunities on fee-free days in the parks.
- REI private brands products and America the Beautiful passes – REI is also providing 10 percent back on all sales of REI private brands park-related clothing and America the Beautiful passes. The pass provides admission to all national parks and sites managed by the Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation.
Additional elements of the REI partnership with the National Park Foundation are in development.
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 5.5 million active members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 143 stores in 35 states. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI.com/outlet or the free REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs 150 custom-designed itineraries on every continent. REI’s Outdoor School is run by professionally-trained, expert-instructors who teach beginner- to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to–and steward–the outdoor places that inspire us.