Next week is National Park Week. And while that carries a deeper meaning on the 100th anniversary of the country’s National Park Service, well, it’s not that cool. Luckily the #RadParks movement, part of an innovative lifestyle campaign to support work in the national parks, is bridging the gap.
By designing and selling contemporary park-themed lifestyle apparel and accessories, the Parks Project is making conserving the great outdoors a hipper cause this year. Each collection is made in the USA and helps fund a project in a national park, from habitat restoration and wildlife conservation to youth education and visitor programs.
“Our goal is to be a valued partner of the parks. There are so many amazing stories out there and the best thing about our approach is that hopefully we can find a project, promote it and sell our tees, fund it, then move onto a new one,” Parks Project co-founder Keith Eshleman told GrindTV. “We can keep learning about interesting initiatives in the parks while helping resolve them with the support of our followers.”
The Parks Project collection has the cool factor that can filter organically from a group of folks from various industries — entertainment, fashion and music — all coming together because of a similar lifestyle and passion for the parks.
The co-founders came from TOMS. “With TOMS, we saw first-hand how a growing company could make an impact, and being outdoorsmen, we saw potential to take a give-back business in a different direction,” Eshleman says. “While doing volunteer days it was obvious that the parks could really benefit from a social enterprise that could support projects in the parks.”
Graphic T-shirts play up each park’s signature feature, and modern styling makes the apparel especially appealing to a younger generation. The best-selling Muir Woods tee is also one of Eshleman’s favorites. “It’s close to home for me having grown up in Mill Valley,” he says. “We have learned how many of the redwoods are having a hard time propagating in the park because non-native species are stealing ‘real estate.’ That means many redwood seeds aren’t making it to the ground because some of the Scottish bloom and other shrubs blossom earlier in the year and catch the redwood seeds before they have a chance. Bummer.”
To help this specific cause, Parks Project is supporting a nursery that grows the seedlings planted in the park. “The tee graphic has redwoods next to one another to tell that story,” Eshleman says. “We also hosted a volunteer day up there and got involved first-hand. We would like to think that this is a way for us to make an impact for the long-term sustainability of the park.”
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