On National Public Lands Day, we were pleased to announce six new KEEN Effect Grantees into our community. This spotlight is a six-part series on each of the grantees and our vision for the KEEN Effect Committee.
We thought we’d start off this series by featuring a KEEN neighbor to the North, an organization with a rich history in exploration and conservation. The Mountaineers is a community of adventurers, advocates, and most recently, a part of the KEEN Effect community. Founded in 1906 by 151 members—half of which were women—the Mountaineers were the first organization to build trails, name peaks, and explore unknown territory in the Pacific Northwest. And half of them did it in petticoats.
In addition to being fearless explorers, they were trailblazers when it came to protecting these incredibly wild places. It’s thanks to the Mountaineers and their early efforts to help create the Wilderness Act that we now have permanently protected places to explore in our backyard.
The team roster includes Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Mt. Everest, and Fred Beckey, who has made more first ascents than any other North American climber. Their members even went on to found REI.
Today, the Mountaineers continue to be a leading non-profit in the outdoor industry, led by volunteers and supported by a small staff. There are over 10,000 active members, and they have started a successful book publishing division of the organization that shares its 501(c)(3) non-profit status.
The Mountaineers have literally wrote the book on mountaineering, and we feel so lucky to be a part of it.
We recently got a chance to chat with the Mountaineers’ Conservation and Recreation Manager, Katherine Hollis, who gave us some insight into how the Mountaineers will use the grant. “We are excited to have been selected as a KEEN Effect grant recipient! Our grant will make it possible to expand on our Backcountry Impact Series program, which translates Leave No Trace Ethics into low-impact recreation skills to take with you when you play outdoors.” Something we can all be thankful for.
As a business rooted in the outdoors, we feel it’s our responsibility to take action to preserve our outdoor playgrounds, and to inspire responsible recreation on them. It’s part of doing business. This global group of KEEN Effect Grantees was chosen because they hold deeply rooted ethics to both preserve and protect the outdoors and to inspire those who play outside to tread lightly.
— Kirsten Blackburn, KEEN Effect