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Trail by Design results – An Open Letter from Backpacker and Merrell

BACKPACKER and Merrell teamed up with eight artists to inspire others by sharing what the trail means to them, through their own unique vision and design.

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Hello to the outdoor-loving community,

Earlier this summer, BACKPACKER launched our Trail by Design program in partnership with Merrell. Our goal with the program was to share the stories of outdoor-loving artists through individual feature stories and a unique design that portrayed what the trail means to them. And WOW. The designs did not disappoint! We’ve loved showcasing the artists and their connection to our natural spaces through their eyes and artwork. We hope the program has positively impacted others to get outside and get inspired.

For those that have been following the project, Heidi Nisbett and Latasha Dunston have been in an unbelievably close race throughout the last couple months. Their networks and extended communities have been working hard to show their dedication to each of the artists, along with the thousands of others who may not know them, but simply were most drawn to their designs. Both artists/designs received more than 19,000 votes, vastly putting them in the lead early on. Many of us have been anxiously awaiting the contest deadline of Aug. 30 to see who would ultimately walk away with more votes and the grand prize of cash plus a $7,500 donation to a non-profit organization of their choice.

Artwork for Trail by Design by Heidi Nisbett (left) and Latasha Dunston (right)

Ultimately, when the clock struck the deadline, Heidi had locked in the lead and is walking away with the grand prize and having her design printed on t-shirts and sold on Congrats Heidi!

As a collective BACKPACKER and Merrell team, we’ve decided to amplify our official contest rules and provide Latasha with a Runner Up package inclusive of a cash prize plus a donation to her non-profit of choice.

We’re thrilled to announce Merrell will be printing BOTH designs on t-shirts and they’ll be available for sale later this month on, with proceeds benefiting The Conservation Alliance.

At the end of the day, this project was meant to inspire current and new outdoor enthusiasts, and the extreme participation and passion that was shown by Heidi’s and Latasha’s communities far exceeded our expectations. We’re honored to be able to celebrate both designs and artists.We’ll also be providing Heidi and Latasha with 10 t-shirts each for them to thank their top advocates.

Additionally, we’d like to make it clear to our communities and followers that we’ve done a thorough audit of the voting process to ensure there was no fraudulent play involved (i.e. bots artificially increasing vote counts, etc.). Through third-party validation, we confirmed that all votes were legitimate. We take great pride in maintaining the integrity of the artists and our programs.

Thank you to everyone who has followed along and uplifted these amazing outdoor artists and their designs. We’ve truly enjoyed being a small part in showcasing the artwork and stories, and we hope to see you all out on the trail soon.

– BACKPACKER and Merrell

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