The United States has 193 million acres of National Forests which are managed by the U.S. Forest Service. These lands offer clean water for one-third of people in the U.S. and are home to thousands of species. They’re also a financial asset. The National Forests bring in nearly $14 billion to the U.S. economy every year thanks to the 170 million visitors that enjoy it annually.
As valuable as they are, local forests are not immune to ongoing issues. With so much land to maintain, the Forest Service often has to fight an uphill battle against forest wildfires and restoration challenges. Funding from the government is often too low to allow the organization to properly maintain the vast areas of land. In response to this issue, Weston Snowboards has taken it upon themselves to find a solution.
To help aid the forests, Weston has brought together a coalition of brands connected to the outdoors to launch the Freedom of the Forest campaign. Some of the brands include Big Agnes, Black Diamond, Breckenridge Distillery, Crazy Mountain, Grass Sticks, Phunkshun, Rocky Mountain Underground, Thule, Vans and Zeal Optics.
Weston’s main partner, is National Forest Foundation, a nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service that was charted by Congress in 1993. The National Forest Foundation works with the organization to promote the ongoing health of the forests. The team plans to promote the Freedom of the Forest campaign on a tour through major ski towns. Some of the locations will include Winter Park, Aspen, Steamboat, Jackson Hole and Lake Tahoe.
At each location, the group will host fundraiser parties and courses to encourage the communities to support the National Forests. They will also have activities like movie screenings, speakers, and raffles to raise money for the campaign. Apart from spreading awareness through events, Weston will contribute additional funds to the National Forest Foundation by donating 10 percent of their sales from custom Freedom of the Forest split boards.
Weston’s commitment to the forests stems from their close ties to the American backcountry. The company has a history of supporting groups that align with their passion for the outdoors and has also worked with organizations like the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) as well as the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). Keeping with their eco-conscious ethos, Weston opts for recycled materials and more sustainable fibers like bamboo.
Visit National Forest Foundation's page to check out upcoming stops on the tour.
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The summit will take place in mid-July.