Youth Getting Out on the River Thanks to Business Leadership

Waitsfield, Vt.  Support from icons of the outdoor recreation industry including The North Face, Old Town Canoes & Kayaks, Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), and Smartwool are helping to ensure a very successful season for the Northern Forest Explorers youth program.  The first five-day paddling trip of the season kicks off this week in New Hampshire.NFE on Umbagog June 2011

Northern Forest Explorers, a signature program of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT), connects youth, ages 10-14, to incredible learning experiences on five-day paddling adventures.   A recently released report by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) underscored the impact of outdoor recreation spending and support across the nation, including “undeniable economic, social and health benefits of outdoor recreation.”

This year, New Hampshire based Eastern Mountain Sports is helping to kick off the first trip of the summer season by supporting Explorers on a five-day adventure in northern New Hampshire on the Androscoggin River and Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge.  Participants will learn basic paddling and outdoor skills, environmental and ecological relationships, and the fundamentals of leadership.  All trips are guided by local outfitters.

NFCT also received grant funding from Smartwool, based in Colorado, and The North Face, based in California, enabling the group to provide scholarships so that no child that wishes to participate is prevented from doing so because of financial need.  The program is offering twenty trips this summer in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.  The grant from The North Face was through their national Explore Fund program which has a mission to “inspire and enable the next generation of explorers by funding nonprofit organizations that are working to re-connect children with nature.”  This is the first year the program has received funding from the Explore Fund.  This is the second year since the program began that Smartwool has supported Northern Forest Explorers. 

Old Town Canoe of Old Town, Maine, synonymous with paddling in the region, is supporting the fundraising efforts of a former NFCT intern and his brother who seek to raise $10,000 in support of Northern Forest Explorers and getting kids outside.  Ben Malakoff and his brother are planning on paddling the 350 miles of the NFCT in Maine, and Old Town has generously supplied the brothers with a canoe for their adventure.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is the longest recreational 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.


The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a 740-mile paddling trail tracing historic travel routes across New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire and Maine.  Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Inc. is internationally regarded as the preeminent water trail organization in North America, connecting people to the Trail’s natural environment, human heritage, and contemporary communities by stewarding, promoting and providing access to canoe and kayak experiences along this route.

To learn more visit, or call 802 496-2285.

Media Contact:  Kevin Mack, Director of Partnerships and Marketing
Northern Forest Canoe Trail
802 535-5855

Caption: A Northern Forest Explorer gets an unexpected treat on Lake Umbagog. Credit: Northern Forest Canoe Trail.


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