We want travel to be positive for the world, will you join us?
For over twenty years, Crooked Trails has been a leader when it comes to educating and promoting social and environmental sustainability in travel. In addition to supporting community-based tourism in numerous countries around the world, Crooked Trails founded Travelers Against Plastic, and fundraised for numerous projects in our partner communities.
Just before the pandemic was upon us, Crooked Trails made a bold decision: To cease our travel operation and focus exclusively on funding and supporting the community development programs we had done in parallel since our founding. We’ve seen that over the past 20 years, there have been numerous small businesses formed that embodied part or all of our vision for what travel should be like. Now that the impact travel communities face is greater than ever, we knew we could do more to leverage and empower this network than we would ever be able to do on our own.
In just over a year, Crooked Trails has raised tens of thousands of dollars from grants and individual donations. These funds have enabled us to continue to support our ongoing initiatives such as a human trafficking support group in South Asia, Travelers Against Plastic, and a porter training program in Nepal. But our increased focus on fundraising has enabled us to support three brand new initiatives, described below. But first…
What does this mean for you, the traveler?
If you are reading this, you are probably dreaming about where you would like to travel when it is safe and available for you to do so. In 20 years, thanks to the example set by Crooked Trails, there are now many more travel companies that focus on sustainable and regenerative travel. Because of this, we can focus our efforts on our community projects, and still match you up with a like minded travel company for the destination you wish to travel to.
Each of our trusted partners support Crooked Trails’ mission and donate a portion of their proceeds to our projects. Additionally, many of our partners will be working with us directly to support projects in their travel communities. We are in the process of slowly reconfiguring our website to incorporate our industry partners where we currently list our former travel experiences. As a small nonprofit this effort will take time. In the meantime, please email us at: email@example.com with your travel wishes so we can refer you to our partners in your desired destination. In addition to being connected to a world class tour operator, you will feel good that we are able to give back to more communities and continue our mission.
Learn About Our New Initiatives and Help Support Impacted Communities
In the year since making the decision to focus exclusively on our community development programs, we have worked within our community network to put together projects that will allow them to make good use of this downtime before tourism resumes in force.
First, thanks to a grant from the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund, Crooked Trails is providing funding and support to three indigenous communities in Guyana who have been hit hard by the drop in tourism. Each of these communities previously harnessed visiting travelers to support conservation projects. Our grant will provide funding for tour guides from the communities to continue the conservation work. This is vital to keep alive projects that are working to protect endangered species, as well as to keep experienced tourism professionals working in their communities.
Our other two projects are funded from a grant from the Triad Foundation. The first is with our longtime partner community near the Choquequirao archeological site in Peru. The Choquequirao was a relatively unknown destination until Lonely Planet named Choquequirao the #1 destination in 2017 in its “Top Regions” category. Suddenly, tourists started flocking to the site and large foreign firms wanted to buy indigenous land and displace locals so they could reap the rewards of growing tourism along the trail. Our local partner helped the indigenous families band together to support the needs of tourists while retaining control of their lands. This project will build upon that by providing funding to build several community-run hostels along the trail.
The second project is in a similar vein, helping a community build a homestay on a popular trekking route in Ladakh, India. Crooked Trails has sent travelers to the Himalayan Community of Lingshed Ladakh for over 20 years. The project is the construction of a village homestay in Pidmo. This particular community sits along a popular trekking route and has no homestay for passing tourists who use homestays in other communities along the route. Without lodging, the community misses out on the economic benefit that traveler bring when they spend the night. And the communities along the entire trail potentially miss out because of the distance between lodging might limit the travelers who will embark on this journey.
We are super excited to be hitting the ground running, and very appreciative of the generous donations that have allowed us to support these communities. But there is so much more to do. We unfortunately had to turn down several very impactful projects that we would like to fund next. I invite you to learn more about them HERE and support us in this effort. Can you make a donation to help us fund these projects?
And please consider supporting Crooked Trails financially as we embark on our next two decades (donate HERE). We need your support as we address urgent issues such as overtourism, climate change, cultural erosion, and environmental degradation. These all pose a serious threat to the cultures and environments of the places we all visit. And now this past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has played a serious blow onto travel dependent communities. As tourism dried up overnight, many communities are seriously struggling. Still, with the glimmer of hope that travel may come back in the near future, the power of positive transformation that comes to both the traveler and the community when travel is done right motivates us now more than ever. We have a lot of work to do, and the urgency is greater now than ever before. Please join us in this journey.
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