SAN LEANDRO, Calif. — The North Face, the outdoor product company specializing in outerwear, footwear and backpacks, is partnering with state parks around the country to encourage participation in outside activities.
Called the North Face Explore Your Parks program, the initiative is an award-winning outreach effort in its fourth consecutive year, running from now through August. The program has expanded to 13 markets, including state parks in California, Idaho, Massachusetts, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Oregon, as well as the Chicago Park District. This marks the first time Explore Your Parks has partnered with a city park district.
Offered again this year is the Camping 101 program for first-time campers. The overnight experience, guided by park rangers, focuses on camping basics including campsite setup and etiquette, outdoor cooking, safety tips and staff-led nature education sessions.
Camping 101 activities are customized in each of the 13 markets with some state park locations offering family-oriented activities like fishing, hiking and canoeing. In Chicago, participants will learn how to camp in an urban setting with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop.
Currently, the North Face Explore Your Parks reaches approximately 25% of the U.S. population and the company says it is committed to expanding the program every year to boost interest in outdoor exploration.
"Research shows only half of Americans currently participate in outdoor activities," said Ann Krcik, director of Outdoor Exploration for the North Face. "The North Face looks to encourage people of all ages to get off the couch and venture outside to enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature — especially our parks."
"Our mission is to foster a love of the outdoors," Krcik added. "With Explore Our Parks and family involvement, we are reaching kids at an early age. If youth experience outdoor activities in a positive way, it's possible to set long-term trends for an overall healthier life."
The North Face is a division of VF Outdoor. Founded in 1968, the company caters to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snow-sport athletes, endurance athletes and explorers. The company's products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snow-sport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.