National Park Trust Awarded a Paddle Nation Grant to Get Washington, DC Students to Explore Their Waterways

National Park Trust Awarded a Paddle Nation Grant to Get Washington, DC Students to Explore Their Waterways


Rockville, MD (June 27, 2018) – This year 2,424 people will have the opportunity to get outside, many for the first time, and explore America’s waterways. The influx of participation is a result of the Paddle Nation Grant Program, an initiative connecting young people to their rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans, funded by Outdoor Retailer, National Park Service, and many paddle-sport manufacturers, retailers, and stakeholders.

National Park Trust (NPT) received funding to support its work to engage approximately 1,300 students in the Washington, DC area with  their local waterways in partnership with Wilderness Inquiry (WI) and REI. Using WI’s 24-ft Voyageur canoes, these students will enjoy paddling, many for the very first time, on the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers.

“Teaching youth about the importance of cleaning and protecting the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers is vital to the longevity of these waterways,” said Grace Lee, executive director of National Park Trust. “NPT believes in fostering the next generation of park stewards and this grant provides DC-area youth with a tangible understanding of why these rivers are important to their everyday lives.”

“The Outdoor Foundation believes that bringing innovative outdoor projects to life will dramatically increase outdoor participation,” said Ivan Levin, deputy director of the Outdoor Foundation. “Through these Paddle Nation Grants, young people across the country will explore rivers, lakes, and streams through a variety of activities—resulting in a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and environmental stewards.”

Unique in the outdoor industry, the Paddle Nation Grant Program was launched in 2012 with financial support and leadership from Outdoor Retailer and many companies in the paddle-sport industry, including Confluence Outdoor, Johnson Outdoors, Rutabaga Paddlesports, OARS, BIC Sports, Glenbrook, Advanced Elements, River Sport Outfitters, and ACK. Leveraging this industry support, the National Park Service joined as a major funder in 2013, significantly expanding the grant program.

Since 2012, 87 projects have been funded with more than $237,000 given to noteworthy projects. Working with nearly 60 different retailers, 16,170 individuals have gotten outside on waterways, including 11,021 youth. In total, 196,267 hours have been spent outside paddling.

Other 2018 nonprofit grant recipients include: Baltimore Heritage Area Association, Inc.; Black Butte School; Colorado River School; Families in Nature; Outdoor Chattanooga and Friend of Outdoor Chattanooga; and Regional Fitness Center.



NPT’s mission is preserving parks today; creating park stewards for tomorrow. In the 35 years since NPT was established, the non-profit organization has completed 62 land acquisition, restoration, and mitigation projects in 30 states, 1 U.S. Territory and Washington, D.C. including 49 National Park Service projects. In 2009, NPT launched its nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs which currently supports more than 200 Title I schools across the country. Since 2011, NPT has organized Kids to Parks Day, an annual national celebration of America’s parks hosted on the third Saturday in May.

More details about NPT can be found at



Founded in 2000, the Outdoor Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor leaders and enthusiasts. Through youth engagement, community grant-making, and groundbreaking research, the Foundation works with young leaders and partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In seven years, the Foundation has invested more than $5 million into 930 not-for-profit and college programs that have connected more than 262,000 young people to the outdoors. Importantly, 90¢of every dollar goes directly into this critical work. Visit us at and for more information. To learn more, visit