Why do you ride? It’s not a question we ask often because everybody has their own reason. Some of us do it for the adrenaline rush of high-speed wheeling through technical terrain. Some love making a big, powerful machine achieve feats of traversal that no other vehicle can.
And other’s do it for the love of the outdoors—especially our national forests. Whether it’s the chance encounters with rare wildlife or the the stillness under a green canopy miles away from our “normal” lives, we can’t live without it.
There’s a rejuvenating power in the purity of nature. And Polaris just announced a huge partnership to help steward our national forests so we can enjoy it that much more.
On June 3rd, Polaris announced that they’ve established a $5 million partnership with the National Forest Foundation through the Polaris Foundation. It’s called the Polaris Fund for Outdoor Recreation, and it will provide grants and funding to support outdoor recreation. It will be paid at $1 million annually through 2025.
The fund is the largest single private commitment in the history of the National Forest Foundation, and it will go to causes we can all get behind.
“Together, we will restore trails, improve wildlife habitat, and protect watersheds across the country,” said Ray A. Foote, executive vice president of the NFF.
Polaris and the NFF will work together to award grants that support trail creation, preservation, or improvements to promote riding access. They also support environmental stewardship to ensure that the forests are always growing and thriving even while throngs of off-roaders enjoy them.
The trails that spiderweb the over 180 million acres of protected forest across America are our highways to adventure. But it’s the forest itself and its inhabitants that make them worth riding on. At a time when access seems to be at odds with preservation across the country, it’s great to see Polaris committing to both.
[Polaris’ donation will will help protect access to serene trails like this one in the Hoosier National Forest.Photo by Kavan Wright]
The Polaris Foundation is Polaris’ non-profit organization that works to improve the community and environment for their employees. While this sounds like it would affect a small number of people, their grants and donations have been applied broadly across the US.
The foundation’s T.R.A.I.L.S program was started in 2006. Since then, it has supported approximately 325 ATV, off-road, and snowmobiling organizations with over $2.7 million in grants. These grants fund trail development, maintenance, and access among other things like OHV riding education and lobbying.
While T.R.A.I.L.S is certainly a very successful part of the Polaris Foundation, they have other initiatives as well. They support community initiatives like Warfighter Made and emphasize diversity and inclusion. Basically, they spend money to make the entire hobby better. That includes everything from supporting kids learning to be the next generation of OHV engineers and improving trails everywhere.
If you think this doesn’t affect you, consider this: There are 154 national forests spread across 40 states and Puerto Rico. Odds are that you have a gorgeous public forest in your backyard that will benefit from Polaris’ philanthropy.
From SuperATV, we can get to the Hoosier National Forest in about an hour. It’s the single largest tract of wilderness in Indiana and we don’t take it for granted. We can also drive less than three hours to get to Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. We’re guessing you’re in a similar boat.
More money for our forests can only be a good thing. And if you’re interested in supporting the National Forest Foundation directly, you can make your own donation.
You can help keep our forests healthy and thriving so that we can keep on riding.
[There are national forests in 40 states and Puerto Rico. You probably have a national forest you can ride in closer than you think.Image by the National Forest Foundation]