501(c)(3) Nonprofit Status
by Naomi “the Punisher” Hudetz
The ALDHA-West Board is extremely excited to announce that we are now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit!
The Internal Revenue Service approved our request to convert from a fraternal organization to a nonprofit corporation effective August 2017. The initial idea was hatched nearly two years ago and approved by the membership at The Gathering in 2016. One IRS form and many follow-up phone-calls later, and we were approved.
The conversion supports our recently revised and expanded mission statement: to provide community education and information about long distance hiking to the public and to teach environmentally responsible backcountry skills and trail etiquette practices. We have worked hard over the past four years improving and expanding our Rucks to support our educational mission.
In 2017, we held Rucks in four locations and taught hundreds of new hikers the long-distance hiking skills they need to be successful. We are considering adding a new Ruck location in 2018.
We are firm supporters of the Leave No Trace (LNT) ethos and work hard to disseminate that message. All of our Rucks have an LNT session - a part of which now includes a "town etiquette" discussion. As the popularity of long-distance hiking increases, we believe it is more important than ever to maintain and even improve the relationships between hikers and trail gateway communities.
And finally, we believe it is vitally important to give back. As a 501(c)(3) we will devote time and money towards protecting our trails and public lands. Trail maintenance and advocacy are both in our future plans in support of our new mission statement and status.
Watch for further updates as we transition! As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments.