Northeast Organizations to Support on Giving Tuesday

The days after Thanksgiving are the busiest shopping days of the year. In fact, two are so busy they get their own designations: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But, while everybody loves sweet deals on gear, don’t forget to support the organizations that protect the places where we recreate and explore. Although you can do this at any time during the year, Giving Tuesday opens up this opportunity. Without these organizations, we wouldn’t have glades to ski, cracks to climb, trails to hike, or scenic vistas to admire. So, keep reading to discover some of the great local organizations that could use your support.

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Climbing Organizations

Whether you prefer to clip bolts at Rumney, pull roofs in the Gunks, traipse on Connecticut traprock, or think the nicest climbing is found in Western Mass, a handful of great groups represent climbers in the Northeast. In recent years, the Rumney Climbers’ Association has worked to purchase and protect numerous crags at the Northeast’s mecca of sport climbing, in addition to constructing parking lots and attempting to ease congestion. For those who prefer placing gear, the Mohonk Preserve in New York helps preserve and protect the Gunks’ iconic routes, boulders, and trails.

Of course, plenty of smaller organizations work to protect local and lesser-known crags. The Western Massachusetts Climbers’ Coalition works tirelessly to secure and protect access at numerous crags. Their efforts have included purchasing land to ensure parking at Farley Ledges, a popular sport, trad, and bouldering destination.

In Connecticut, the Ragged Mountain Foundation owns 56 acres of conservation land in Southington. Notably, those 56 acres include the Ragged Mountain climbing area, which is home to routes established by various climbing legends, including Fritz Wiessner, Layton Kor, and Henry Barber. Giving, however, won’t make your project any easier.

Finally, if you find yourself regularly visiting routes like the Lion Head Winter Route or the Northeast Ridge of the Pinnacle, consider supporting the folks who will help you out if you ever run into trouble—the Mountain Rescue Service in North Conway.

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Skiing Organizations 

Backcountry skiing’s recent popularity has led to crowding at many Northeastern destinations. Luckily, a handful of organizations help skiers gain access to and maintain new terrain. In New Hampshire, the Granite Backcountry Alliance has opened up numerous glades and helps maintain well-established trails, like the Sherburne and Gulf of Slides trails. Speaking of Mount Washington, don’t forget the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol. This 140-member strong volunteer organization provides wintertime first aid and rescue to skiers injured on the mountain and in the ravines.

In Vermont, the Vermont Backcountry Alliance has also been working to preserve and protect existing ski terrain while opening up new areas to skiers. Equally interesting is the work being done by Ascutney Outdoors. They’ve kept slopes of the former Ascutney Mountain Resort open to those who want to earn their turns and mark and maintain a vast network of XC ski trails.

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Mountain Biking Organizations

The New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) has been a fixture in the Northeast since 1987. Consisting of 27 chapters spread across New England with more than 5,000 members, NEMBA does everything from holding weekly rides to creating, preserving, and maintaining trails. NEMBA even purchased 47 acres of land in 2003 to protect the popular “Vietnam” trail system in Central Massachusetts, becoming the first mountain bike group in the country to own its own property.

The Kingdom Trails Association has worked alongside 90 local landowners in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom to create one of the best bike trail networks in the country and continues to grow that vast (and awesome) network. Another fantastic Vermont-based organization, the Waterbury Area Trail Alliance, part of the larger Vermont Mountain Bike Association, works to build some of the Waterbury region’s best bike trails.

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Hiking Organizations

The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) is seemingly synonymous with hiking—especially to those in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. And, while their high mountain huts and visitor centers draw a lot of attention, the AMC has been promoting the protection and enjoyment of the outdoors since 1876. Another fantastic New Hampshire organization, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is dedicated to preserving some of the region’s most significant landscapes and vistas.

The Appalachian Trail passes through all but one New England state (sorry, Rhode Island). Thus, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has been a part of the trail from the beginning. Since 1925, the ATC has protected, maintained, and celebrated the nation’s premier footpath.

More locally, groups like Friends of the Wapack and the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail Club are helping to preserve some of New England’s lesser-known long trails and green spaces. Speaking of the Long Trail, don’t forget about the Green Mountain Club, the founder and maintainer of the Long Trail, the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the U.S.

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Paddling Organizations

The Northeast is packed with awesome places to paddle, and numerous nonprofits are helping to keep waters clean and access open. In Massachusetts, the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) works with officials, groups, and people in 35 watershed towns from Hopkinton to Boston to protect this well-used waterway. Operating since 1965, the CRWA has played an important role in the Charles’ ever-improving condition.

Another fantastic paddling organization is the Maine Island Trail Association. MITA created the country’s first water trail, which runs along Maine’s rugged, beautiful coast for 375 miles from the Maine-New Hampshire border to the Canadian border.

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Other Outdoor Orgs Doing Great Things

While we love supporting groups that support the places and things we love, plenty of other great groups use the outdoors in interesting and impactful ways. In North Conway, New Hampshire, the Kismet Rock Foundation teaches rock climbing to vulnerable children before they reach their teens.

From the 1930s to the 1950s, New England was the epicenter of skiing in the United States. The New England Ski Museum—with locations in Franconia Notch and North Conway—is working to collect, conserve, and share the region’s rich ski history. With exhibits ranging from the 10th Mountain Division to housing Bode Miller’s Olympic Medals, the museum is worth both a visit and a donation.

Surfers Healing assists people with autism by introducing them to surfing. As inspiration for the organization, co-founder and pro surfer Israel “Izzy” Paskowitz (son of legendary surfer Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz) discovered the calming effect riding waves had on his autistic son, Isaiah. While not a local org, Surfers Healing runs numerous camps throughout the Northeast and is always looking for support from the paddling community.

For Giving Tuesday, are there any outdoor groups we forgot to mention? If so, leave the organization in the comments, and tell us why we should support them!