On her first ever ITA project earlier this year, Anna Jones, a communications manager who moved to Idaho two years ago from Mississippi, lost most of her camping gear. While the crew was out working on a project out of the Grandjean trailhead in the Sawtooth Recreation Area, sudden wind gusts blew her whole tent, including her sleeping bag and pad, into the South Fork of the Payette River and it was washed away.

“I’m a bit embarrassed to say just how upset I was about the loss of my tent, in particular. But it was symbolic.  I’d had it for over a decade, camped in it all over North America with a beloved dog and a dear friend who are both no longer around. It represented an abode from a chapter in my life now passed,” said Anna.

The crew leader for the Grandjean project, Mark Sugden, encouraged her to apply to ITA’s recently created Splattski Outdoor Access Fund to help offset the costs of replacing all her gear. The Splattki fund is a pool of donations raised in memory of the late John Platt, ITA crew leader and board member, who was passionate about helping people get outside. When ITA Board Member Steve Weston heard about Anna losing her gear, he stepped in and offered her discounted pro deals through his connections with gear companies. Anna was able to purchase a tent and sleeping bag with the help of funds she received from the Splattski fund. Anna met Steve and his wife Amy to learn more about John and his love for Idaho’s backcountry.

“I told Steve and Amy that I feel like I’m better off now than when I started with ITA and my impression is that John preferred to leave things that way.” Anna said, “I’m so honored to be the first recipient of this award. In a very real way, it has changed my life. I was going to be out of commission this summer without a tent!”

Anna recently tested her new gear out on ITA’s Women Only Weekend Hyndman project and is looking forward to more ITA trips in the future.

“I love ITA and everyone that I’ve met through it. …I’ve learned how to sawyer, how to build water bars, and how to reroute water to retain the integrity of a trail. I’ve also collected a wealth of information on best practices for backpacking and backcountry camping, and a list of hikes it will take me 20 years to complete.”

When looking back over the experience, Anna said “Losing all of my gear forced a sense of closure which hurt quite a bit at first. But if the old tent represented a chapter closed, the new tent represents the possibilities of the future. I have zero regrets about any of it.”

Thank you Anna for being willing to get back our there on an ITA project after losing your gear and being our first Splattski recipient! We hope your new gear will see many amazing adventures in the years to come.

Is having the proper gear stopping you from coming on on ITA project? Check out our Splattski Outdoor Access Fund to learn how we can help.