L.L.Bean Hits the Trail with Employees Hiking 2,180 Miles of Appalachian Trail

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Outdoor brand marks National Scenic Trail anniversary by sending employees on relay from Georgia to Maine, cataloging views along the way for National Park Service and Appalachian Trail Conservancy

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System and inspire others to get outside, a total of 86 L.L.Bean employees will hike in pairs along sections of the trail ranging from 10 to 20 miles each day until September.

New England outdoor retailer L.L.Bean, best known for its Maine-made L.L.Bean Boots, took the first steps today of a hike that will last all summer, with teams of employees relaying along the 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail (AT) leading from Georgia to Maine. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System and inspire others to get outside, a total of 86 L.L.Bean employees will hike in pairs along sections of the trail ranging from 10 to 20 miles each day until September. The L.L.Bean relay continues the company’s decades-long support and maintenance of the Appalachian Trail.

The first team of the L.L.Bean AT Relay began the hike this morning at Springer Mountain, Georgia amid icicles and chilly temperatures. Grace Bender and Jeff Morton both work at the L.L.Bean retail store in Mashpee, Massachusetts and were thrilled to be the lead relay team. “Grace and I wore our packs around the store to get used to having the weight on us for long periods of time – and it inspired many of our customers to get outdoors and start hiking,” Morton said. The pair will hike the first 109 miles into North Carolina, where they will tap the next team from the L.L.Bean store in Danbury, Connecticut, who will continue to Tennessee. Along the way, hikers will be capturing photos and sharing their journey through 14 states using the hashtag #LLBeanATrelay on social media.

L.L.Bean and its employees have supported the preservation of the Appalachian Trail for decades through charitable support of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and its partner trail clubs, as well as hands-on trail maintenance. Since 1980 the company has organized trips for employees who volunteer their time for a week in the northern Maine woods to keep an 18.5-mile section of the trail passable for the thousands of hikers who pass through each year.

This year, in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) and the ATC, L.L.Bean is helping maintain the trail in a new way. L.L.Bean AT Relay hikers are photographing and collecting data on key views from the trail that will allow NPS and ATC to assess and track how the landscape along the trail is changing. “The Appalachian Trail is a national treasure and a tremendous resource for outdoor recreation,” said Janet Wyper, Community Relations Manager for L.L.Bean. “We’ve had the privilege of helping maintain it for many years, and we’re delighted to send our employees out on the trail with a new task to help preserve it for current and future generations.”

The Appalachian Trail is one of eleven National Scenic Trails, as established by the National Trail System Act of 1968.

About L.L.Bean, Inc.
L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multichannel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. Still family owned, Shawn Gorman, great grandson of Leon Leonwood Bean, was named Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2013. While its business has grown over the years, L.L.Bean continues to uphold the values of its founder, including his dedication to quality, customer service and a love of the outdoors. In the past five years, L.L.Bean has donated over $6 million toward conservation and land stewardship. L.L.Bean currently operates 39 stores in 17 states across the United States, along with 25 stores in Japan. The 220,000-sq. ft. L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, ME, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year. L.L.Bean can be found worldwide at http://www.llbean.com, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram.

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Eric C. Smith
L.L.Bean
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