An Arizona-based nonprofit is $50,000 richer after winning the title grant in the Redwood Creek wines Greater Outdoors Project. The Arizona Trail Association (ATA) was named the winning environmental organization after a summer-long, nationwide vote at RedwoodCreekWine.com.
Arizona residents rallied behind ATA, helping the organization to reach nearly 27,000 votes. The group's victory is even sweeter after being named a finalist in last year's competition and coming up short in a tight race with reigning champ, Friends of New Orleans City Park.
The Arizona National Scenic Trail is a continuous, 800-mile path across Arizona from Mexico to Utah. The trail offers hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians and outdoor aficionados a unique opportunity to enjoy scenic Arizona.
With grant money from Redwood Creek wines in place, ATA is ready to construct a new, 11-mile trail in the lush, central Arizona Sonoran desert to replace nine miles that are now on a rocky, eroded road. The new, sustainably constructed trail will follow a ridgeline that offers a sweeping mountain range and desert valley views. A more scenic and enduring trail creates a more attractive destination and will entice a greater number of trail enthusiasts to nearby rural communities.
'I speak for all Arizona Trail friends in thanking the Redwood Creek wine folks for their unique Greater Outdoors Project,' says Dave Hicks, Arizona Trail Association Executive Director. 'The many friends of the Arizona Trail stepped up and made a strong effort, just like they do when working and playing on our trail. Arizona Trail supporters never give up on a challenge until they succeed, and they have done it once more!'
The Greater Outdoors Project was established in 2008 by Redwood Creek wines. With a mission to preserve, protect and provide access to the great American outdoors, the winery supports nonprofits that share this goal by offering environmental grants.
'We are thrilled to present our Greater Outdoors Project grant to an organization that means so much to an entire state,' says Sean Hails, Redwood Creek Winemaker and grant judge. 'Redwood Creek's wine relies on the outdoors and our natural environment to nurture our grapes and produce richly flavored wines that enhance outdoor experiences. These experiences would never be possible without organizations like the Arizona Trail Association, whose members and supporters are so dedicated to the protection and improvement of our natural sanctuaries.'
In March, an expert judging panel - including Hails, Survivor winner Ethan Zohn and John Hopper, Chief Development Officer for Friends of New Orleans City Park - narrowed the field of grant applications to ten, worthy projects, and it was up to the public to determine the winner.
In addition to Arizona Trail Association, the 2010 Greater Outdoors Project finalists included American Forests, Catamount Trail Association, Coosa River Basin Initiative, Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition, Hudson Basin River Watch, MillionTreesNYC, Sugar Pine Foundation, The Wetlands Initiative and Yellowstone Park Foundation. Each of these other organizations was awarded a $10,000 runner-up grant to jumpstart their next project.
The new Arizona Trail construction will begin in November of this year, to be completed by December 2011. For more information about the Greater Outdoors Project, please visit RedwoodCreekWine.com.
About Redwood Creek:
Redwood Creek wines embody the adventurous spirit of the great outdoors. Redwood Creek Winemakers Cal Dennison and Sean Hails crafted a portfolio of nine, food-friendly wines that consistently deliver outstanding quality at an attractive price. Redwood Creek wines are available at retailers nationwide at a suggested retail price ranging from $6.99 to $9.99.
About Arizona Trail Association:
The mission of the Arizona Trail Association is to coordinate the planning, development, management and promotion of the Arizona Trail for the recreational and educational experiences of non-motorized trail users.