THE GREAT OUTDOORS — In 2016, Granite Gear made news by launching its Grounds Keepers program. Interested individuals submitted a short application, from which a nationwide team of trash-collecting, nature-beautifying hikers was chosen. Once outfitted with a high-quality backpack, a packing system kit and garbage-picking tools, they were unleashed on the wilderness.
The good news is that the program was a raging success, with more than 1,000 pounds of trash removed from the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, Pacific Northwest Trail, Arizona Trail, Colorado Trail, Florida Scenic Trail and Superior Hiking Trail thanks to the Grounds Keepers.
The better news is that Granite Gear is expanding the roster size this year to 25 hikers, so that more people can participate. Specifically, they're looking for a diverse group of individuals who will make more flexible hiking commitments. For example, the program is no longer limited only to those planning to trek a long trail. Instead, applicants also have the option of committing to 300-miles worth of various forms of public lands.
"It's about respect — for our planet and for one another," said Rob Coughlin, Sales and Marketing vice president for Granite Gear. "Our passions lie in protecting and cleaning up our public lands and promoting diversity and inclusion in the great outdoors. We hope to form a Grounds Keepers team of 25 diverse individuals who share our values and can effectively tell their stories in order to inspire thousands to better respect each other and our planet."
The application will be open from Dec. 1 - Dec. 15, with the team selected and announced in late January. Application requirements include:
A 100-percent promise to "leave it better" by picking up and packing out trash whenever possible
Ability to be a storyteller on social media and the Granite Gear Journal
A short video of yourself at the end of the application
Use of products supplied by Granite Gear throughout your entire thru hike
Complete your mission by October 2018
If you'd like to become a 2018 Grounds Keeper, you can apply by clicking here. For those who are interested in this opportunity, be sure to apply by Dec. 15. And if you need a little reminder about how fun trash cleanup can be, watch this classic video.