REI Expands Offerings for National Parks

REI aims to make the national parks more accessible and fun.     Photo: Matt Matches/Flickr

REI Expands Offerings for National Parks

Gear deals and programs mark NPS centennial

Through 2017, outdoor retailer REI will be offering promotional details on gear and guided travel specific to the National Park Service, in celebration of the NPS’ 100th anniversary, according to a press release on the company’s website. 

Touting the parks as a crucial site of inspiration for its co-op members to better enjoy the outdoors, REI president and CEO Jerry Stritzke said the company would concentrate its efforts in making the parks more accessible and fun.

“REI is aiming to connect people everywhere, including our community of 5.5 million members, with America’s greatest natural spaces—in particular the hidden gems,” Stritzke said. “We’re channeling a good portion of our support for the centennial into stewarding these places so that their beauty can be enjoyed for generations.”

This week, REI was among the key corporate sponsors of Find Your Park, a public awareness program designed to help people better connect with the parks system. In addition, the Kent, Washington–based retailer will offer new NPS-specific gear and travel programs, including five new trips to U.S. national parks through REI Adventures, its proprietary travel company. Through 2016, REI will donate 10 percent of the retail price for each of these programs to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of the NPS.

According to the press release, REI’s partnership with the NPS extends from a long-held policy of supporting nonprofits that seek to make the outdoors more accessible, of which the National Park Foundation is a prime example.

“REI began in the national parks. Seventy-six years ago, our founders and their friends searched for an ice axe to climb Mount Rainier, and the co-op was born,” Stritzke said. “Spending time in these treasured places often creates a deep and lasting connection with the outdoors.”

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Indian Army to Remove Mount Everest Trash

The trash removal trip will coincide with the 50th anniversary of Indian Army members' first ascent of Everest.     Photo: emifaulk/Flickr

Indian Army to Remove Mount Everest Trash

On 50th anniversary of country’s first summit

Later this month, a 34-member team of Indian Army mountaineers will scale Mount Everest to carry down more than 8,800 pounds of garbage, Time reported Wednesday.

The trip will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first Everest summit by members of the Indian Army.

This is not the first action to remove the nonbiodegradable trash and equipment that have piled up as thousands of people have made the climb over the years. The Nepalese government has required each climber to bring down eight kilograms (17.6 pounds) of trash from the mountain since April 2014. Issues of trash removal on Everest exist alongside growing concerns about the effects of human waste on the mountain.

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America’s Cup to Reduce Size of Boats

Italy's team, Luna Rossa, have threatened to withdraw due to the downsizing of boats.     Photo: Carlo Borlenghi/Luna Rossa

America’s Cup to Reduce Size of Boats

2017 will feature smallest in race history

America’s Cup teams voted Tuesday to reduce the size of boats from 62 feet to an unprecedented 45-to-50-foot range for the 2017 race in Bermuda.

Organizers said a majority of teams favored reducing boat length to decrease the overhead cost of entry, the New York Times reported. Two major teams, Italy’s Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand—Oracle Team USA’s biggest competitors—have threatened to withdraw due to the downsizing. 

Organizers also pulled a qualifying regatta from Auckland, New Zealand, so all racing would take place in Bermuda. The move will make it difficult for Emirates Team New Zealand to secure government funding, the team said. Oracle Team USA has contested the race location, adding to the difficulties for other teams to raise sponsorship money.

The actual cost reduction is debatable, as many teams have already spent tens of millions of dollars designing their 62-foot race yachts. The boat length had already been reduced from 72 feet in the 2013 America’s Cup. 

Some fear smaller boats might have a negative impact on viewership for the 2017 America’s Cup. Red Bull has successfully applied the tactics and thrill of large catamaran racing to smaller boats, both in amateur and professional races. So the jury is still out on whether smaller boats would diminish interest.

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