L.L. Bean may direct some of its financial support for national parks to restoration efforts following the federal shutdown.

The Freeport outdoor gear retailer announced Wednesday that it gave away $4 million last year in charitable donations, including $2.8 million through its new Outdoor Access Fund. Major beneficiaries include the National Park Foundation and the Trust for Public Land, both of which support public access to the outdoors.

Bean said it has contacted the National Park Foundation, which helps maintain and restore national parks and also runs programs to introduce children to the parks, about directing some of its pledged amount for 2019 toward a park restoration fund.

Bean gave $500,000 to the organization last year and has pledged $3 million over three years.

The expectation, company spokeswoman Carolyn Beem said, is that the need for park restoration work will grow this year because of the government shutdown. Some parks have reported damage during the shutdown because park workers are not on the job to oversee use by the public.

Beem said the exact amount of the donation steered to that fund will likely be set after the government is reopened and foundation staffers can determine the need. She said some Bean employees also are likely to volunteer to help in that effort.

Support for organizations that protect and create access for the outdoors is a core value of the company.

“L.L. Bean is committed to supporting public access to the outdoors, not just because that is our business, but because that is who we are,” Stephen Smith, Bean’s president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “Enjoyment of the natural world is our core value.”

The company said Wednesday that the $4 million it gave in 2018 represented grants, products and sponsorships announced during the year.

The Trust for Public Lands Foundation works with communities to raise money for purchasing and preserving land for the public, and helps renovate parks, playgrounds, trails and gardens. Bean gave the foundation $500,000 last year and has pledged to donate another $500,000 over the next two years.

The separate L.L. Bean Community Fund pledged more than $1.2 million last year. That money primarily goes to health, human services, and educational and arts organizations in Maine.

Bean said it has given $30 million to nonprofit organizations over the past decade.


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