Northern Forest Canoe Trail Awarded Grant from Merrell and Outdoor Nation to Reconnect Millennials to the Outdoors

Waitsfield, Vt  Merrell The PackThe Northern Forest Canoe Trail, based in Vermont, was awarded the Merrell Pack Project activation grant from Outdoor Nation, a national initiative that reconnects millennials to the outdoors. The activation grant provided by Merrell and Outdoor Nation will fund Northern Forest Explorers, a program developed to reconnect young people to the environment through week-long paddling adventures along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

This program reaches out to young people, ages NFCT NFE logo10–14, who live in rural communities in the region of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. The Trail, the longest recreational paddling trail in the nation, includes the states of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine and the province of Québec.  Eleven week-long trips will take place in 2013 with approximately 200 young people participating. These trips take local kids on local waters supported by local guides and outfitters.

“WOutdoor Nation logoe are proud for the opportunity to turn our young people’s ideas into actions,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation, the organization that started the Outdoor Nation movement. “Thanks to Merrell’s support, the Pack Project activation grant will help empower millennials to take on their generation’s most significant outdoor challenges by removing barriers to participation and engaging more young people in outdoor activities.”

Throughout the year, Outdoor Nation awards grants through a competitive application and review process. Projects serve various audiences and activities include kayaking, photography, urban gardening hiking, painting, biking, environmental education and map and compass skills.

“The vision for Northern Forest Explorers is to support the long term vitality of the North Country by helping its youth discover a sense of pride and purpose within the natural beauty that surrounds them,” said Roger Poor, Program Director for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

The grant was made possible thanks to the fundraising efforts of brothers Ben and Liam Malakoff who paddled 350 miles of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail in Maine last summer in order to raise awareness about Nature Deficit Disorder and encourage kids to get outside. Ben was an intern at the Northern Forest Canoe Trail in 2009, and applied for this grant on behalf of the organization.

Outdoor Nation is an initiative of The Outdoor Foundation and was founded with initial support from The North Face, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, The REI Foundation, The Conservation Fund and the National Park Service.


The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through groundbreaking research, youth engagement and charitable investment, the Foundation works with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In 2010, the Foundation launched Outdoor Nation, a pioneering initiative that aims to empower youth to champion the outdoors on campuses and in communities across the United States.  For more information visit: and

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is the longest paddling trail in the nation and runs from Old Forge, New York through Vermont, Québec, and New Hampshire to Fort Kent, Maine. In 2011 the Trail was named “Best Canoe Trail” by Outside Magazine and in 2012 the magazine named the Trail a “Best East Coast Adventure.” For more information visit: and


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