About the 2014 Alaska Trails Statewide Trails Conference

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"Cooperation -- Working Together To Build And Maintain Alaska's Trails"

In a hurry? Jump to: schedule :: session details :: registration :: speaker bios :: lodging.

The conference will be largely held at Alaska Pacific University (map) in Anchorage, April 24th - 26th, and will bring together a diverse array of trail users from across the state to teach and learn the latest in sustainable trail building and maintenance, trail advocacy and many other trail topics.

As the conference draws closer, we are better able to refine and nail down session details, locations and more. So, keep visiting this page and look at the schedule every so often.

Pre-Conference Workshops

Before the conference truly starts, we offer a couple of two-day, pre-conference workshops, spanning Tuesday the 22nd and Wednesday the 23rd: Fundamentals of OHV Trail Management, and Trail Contracting.

This one page document (PDF) provides details about these two-day workshops.

Open to everyone, these workshops (classes, really) should interest trail professionals, community planners, designers and more.  Note that space is limited for these pre-conference workshops.  Register soon!

The conference really gets underway on Thursday, April 24th with coffee, sign-in, and the morning keynote address.  (Throughout the conference there are keynote addresses, with speakers Troy Duffin of Alpine Trails and Christine Byl of Interior Trails.)

The meat of the conference?  Every day is full of "breakout sessions" within the following categories:

Breakout Session Categories
Trail Design / Layout
Construction / Operations / Maintenance
Advocacy / Funding

You are free to follow a category all the way through the conference, or look through the schedule and descriptions and decide which breakout sessions sound best suited to your interests.  It's your conference; do what makes sense for you.

If you have any questions about the conference, please feel free to contact conference organizer Steve Cleary: steve.cleary@alaska-trails.org, 907-334-8049

We'll see you at the 2014 Alaska Trails Statewide Trails Conference!

Map, Parking Notes


We have an APU map available here.


The Heart Run will be starting at 9:30am and the race will close the streets around APU approximately 45 minutes prior to the 9:30am start.

Please plan to arrive around 8:30am on Saturday or plan to park near the UAA Commons and walk over to APU from there.

Schedule of events

NOTE: Schedule subject to change. last revision 4/15 - room number changes

We have different flavors of our conference schedule.

There's the spreadsheet style PDF, handy for printing. (updated 4/15)

For details about individual breakout sessions (session titles, presenters and topics included), see our session descriptions PDF. (updated 4/11)

The Google Calender (suitable for viewing, browsing and adding to your own calendar) is shown below. (updated 4/15)

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Tickets:  Alaska Trails 2014 Statewide Trails Conference

We've arranged for a discounted rate at SpringHill Suites Marriott hotel, close by the conference.  The rate is $95 (USD) per night, and you must book by April 14th to receive the discounted rate.  To make reservations and see other details, click here.

You can also call SpringHill Suites to make reservations: 888-284-1887.

Need a ride? SpringHill Suites has a complimentary airport shuttle. Be sure to call ahead, and let them know your schedule and flight information: 907-751-6300.

Our speakers and panelists

Becci Anderson

Becci Anderson has over a decade of experience working in mapping and GIS with expertise in cartography, data analysis, database management, and program coordination.  Becci is currently the USGS Alaska Region Geospatial Liaison based in Anchorage, Alaska and chair of the Alaska Hydrography Technical Working Group.

Aric Baldwin

Aric was born on the east coast but began life on a trail crew in the Rocky Mountains.  His love of the outdoors, building, hiking, tomfoolery, and hard work led to a lifelong passion for trail crew.  He has been fortunate enough to work and learn the trade alongside some very patient traildogs!  From the dry mortar intense Rocky Mountains to the permafrost of Denali, Aric has spent the last 17 years working on a professional trail crew.  He received a his B.S. in forestry from the University of New Hampshire, along with minors in environmental conservation and fire ecology.  Aric currently leads the crew on the historic Chilkoot Trail, commemorating the gold rush of 1898.

Chris Beck

Chris (a board member of Alaska Trails) is a land use planner with more than 30 years of experience, specializing in tourism and recreation, land use, economic development, strategic planning, site planning and public participation.  He first came to Alaska in 1979 where he worked with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and helped craft the agency's regional land planning process.

After running his own independent consulting business and earning master's degrees in City Planning and in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley, he cofounded Agnew::Beck in 2002. Chris has worked on tourism, recreation and community planning issues around Alaska and the western U.S., developing successful projects ranging from resorts in the High Sierras, to trails and park plans in communities around Alaska.

Chris's overarching skill is the ability to forge shared goals and actions from diverse viewpoints, for example, finding the balance point between what a community wants and what it can afford, or between the desire to grow and the desire to protect what is special about a particular town or trail or bay.  

When not at work, Chris often persuades himself to get off the couch, and is an enthusiastic crosscountry and backcountry skier, hiker and mountain biker.

Judy Bittner

Judy Bittner is Alaska's state historic preservation officer and head of the Office of History and Archaeology, Department of Natural Resources.  She has served in these positions since 1984.  Among Judy's local, state and national history and preservation activities, she served as president of the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and as a member of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation from 1995-2000.  She is currently president of the Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance, an organization that is working with agency partners to plan the Iditarod National Historic Trail centennial and use the commemoration to accomplish several preservation objectives for the historic trail corridor.  Prior to taking her current position, Judy was director of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Alaska Department of Natural Resources.  Judy has a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin.  She lives in Anchorage, where she was raised.

Erik Boraas

Erik (an Alaska Trails board member) is a life long Alaskan, born and raised in Soldotna.  He has worked as a wilderness ranger, fisherman, and archeologist.  He has traveled extensively around the world and adventured all over Alaska.  He settled in Juneau and spent a season as the field coordinator for Trail Mix, Inc., a trail building non-profit, and became executive director in 2011.

Dave Brann

Dave Brann, co-chair of the Kachemak Bay Water Trail (www.kachemakbaywatertrail.org) steering committee.  A retired teacher and active outdoorsman, Dave loves to create trails that invite people to enjoy the local wild lands and water.  He is active with the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, the Homer Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, The Wooden Boat Society, and the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club.

Christine Byl

Christine Byl co-owns Interior Trails (www.interior-trails.com), a full-service trail contractor, and is a writer and a trail builder of 17 years.  Since 1996 she has built trails in Glacier National Park, Chugach National Forest, and Denali National Park.  In 2008 she and her husband Gabe Travis founded Interior Trails, specializing in sustainable trail design, layout, construction, consulting and training for clients across Alaska, including Muni of Anchorage, State of Alaska's DNR, Alaska State Parks, Student Conservation Assoc., Alaska Trails, National Park Service, and many others.  For further information about Interior Trails, visit www.interior-trails.com.

Christine's first book, Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods, is about trail crews, tools, wilderness, and labor and was recently selected by Backpacker Magazine as one of the 20 Great Books for the Trail.  She lives on a few acres of tundra off Stampede Road north of Healy, Alaska, and spends as much time as possible in wild places by foot, bike, ski, boat and dog.

Steve Charles

Steve is a retired teacher who seemingly has stumbled into trail issues.  His participation in trail organizations including the Willow Trail Committee, Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation, Friends of State Parks, Mat-Su and State Parks Citizens Advisory Board: Mat-Su, has helped with insight in trail group cooperation and muti-use trail management.  Steve is continually testing out the trails through hiking, running dog mushing and snowmachining.

Paul Clark

Paul is the trails program manager and recreation planner for the Chugach National Forest, and has served as the Iditarod National Historic Trail project coordinator for the Forest Service since 2010.  He grew up in Helena, MT and received a master's degree in resource conservation from the University of Montana.  He hopes to see you out on the INHT Southern Trek trails in 2014.

Steve Cleary

Steve Cleary (currently executive director of Alaska Trails) is a graduate of St. John's University in Collegeville MN.  He received a bachelor's degree in Political Science in 1993.  Steve then volunteered as a teacher for three years, teaching pre-school in Chicago for a year and high school in Belize for two years.  He was then awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study paper recycling and economics in Panama.

He first came to Alaska by bicycle from Minnesota in 1998.  He has worked for the Anchorage Daily News, the Red Cross and as a Spanish tutor.  Steve was the development director at the Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AkPIRG) from 2000 to 2003.  In 2003, he took over as Executive Director of AkPIRG, where he stayed until his son Liam was born in 2008.  Since October of 2008, Steve has been a full-time stay-at-home dad.  In addition, he has been able to do some contract work for the National Wildlife Federation and for AkPIRG, including helping push through the Fire Island wind project.

Steve and his family are avid bikers, hikers and skiers and love to enjoy Alaska's trails.  He is excited to put his non-profit skills to work for Alaska Trails to continue to promote and maintain Alaska's world-renowned trails.

Troy Duffin

Troy Duffin has been involved with trails since the early 1990's.  He was educated as an attorney, and while practicing law in San Francisco and Tahoe City, California, he worked on the Tahoe Rim Trail and helped with the formation of two non-profit trail groups in the Lake Tahoe region.  His legal work in the Tahoe area focused on land use and real estate issues, and he worked extensively on property rights and development cases.

He moved to Park City in 1993, where he became the first executive director of Mountain Trails Foundation, a local non-profit advocacy organization.  He left the executive director position ten years later, and spent another ten years serving on the Foundation's board of directors.  Over that twenty-year span, the relatively small Park City area trail system expanded from about 15 miles to over 300 miles.

In addition to his work with Mountain Trails, he served as the board Chair for American Trails, president of the Professional Trailbuilders Association, and on boards and committees for several other statewide and local trails organizations.

He started his own trail planning, design, and construction company in 1994, and has now built almost 500 miles of trail.  He recently founded Trails Utah, a statewide non-profit advocacy organization, with the objective of increasing and improving the trails throughout Utah, as well as enhancing international awareness of the vast array of trails throughout the state.

He has taught seminars in virtually every facet of trail advocacy, planning, design, construction, maintenance, and ethics, and continues to work on issues affecting property owners, developers, and planners.

Eric Eckl

Eric founded Water Words That Work LLC as a marketing and public relations firm for nature protection and pollution control organizations.  Since 2009, the company has assisted more than 50 conservation organizations, including the National Park Service, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts, the Ogeechee Riverkeeper, and many others.

Before launching Water Words That Work, Eric managed fundraising, media relations, and publishing activities for many conservation organizations.  His past employers include Beaconfire Consulting, American Rivers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Eric has appeared in countless media stories, including CNN and the New York Times.  He is a frequent speaker at environmental, marketing, and technology conferences.

Karol Fink

Karol Fink, MS, RDN is the program manager for the State of Alaska obesity prevention and control program.  Ms. Fink has been a registered dietitian nutritionist for over 20 years and has her master's degree in nutritional science from the University of Washington.  She has worked in public health for 16 years and is the 2009 recipient of the Alaska Public Health Association's Barbara Berger "Excellence in Public Health" award.  Currently, Ms. Fink manages the planning, development, implementation and administration of the State of Alaska's obesity prevention plan and the strategic plan implementation for the Alaska Alliance for Healthy Kids.

John Fowler

John has been creating conservation designed communities for the last twenty years in Homer Alaska.  All of John's projects have open space areas and trail easements and his projects are designed as a part of a larger vision of a connected trail network wrapping around Homer through public and private lands.

Tim George

Born north of Philadelphia and went to college at Unity College in Maine.  Got a bachelors degree in park management and forestry.  I started my trail career with the Southwest Conservation Corps, then worked for the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative for a couple seasons before spending a decade with the NPS and now the USFS.  Been doing trail work for 15 years in many national parks, monuments and national forests in Maine, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, California and now Alaska for the last couple of years.  I have a real passion for trail work and quite honestly I don't really know how to do anything else or want to.  I specialize in trail design/layout, maintenance of trails, both dry and wet stone masonry, use of mechanized equipment and lots of other cool stuff.  One of my major skills is being a certified blaster in the use of explosives for building trail tread, removal of hazard trees and boulders, mine closures and whatever else they can be used for.  I live in Moose Pass and when I have time off, I head to my piece of property in McCarthy.

Mark Gronewald

A long-time Alaskan, Mark Gronewald got his start in the trail world as a trail crew member in 1977.  Along the way he spent 20 years as a wildland fire fighter in the summers and a backcountry ski guide in the winters.  He was an early pioneer and manufacturer of fat-tired snow bikes.  He founded Valley Mountain Bike Alliance (now Valley Mountain Bikers and Hikers) in 1999 where he worked on numerous volunteer trail projects.  Since 2005, Mark has served as a trails designer and crew leader for Alaska State Parks and the Matanuska Susitna Borough.  He is currently the owner of Trailwerx, a private trails consulting and contracting firm.

Darcy Harris

Darcy was born and raised in Alaska and spent most of her time outdoors on the trails during both summer and winter.  Whether it was skiing at the family cabin, hiking in the Chugach, or fishing in the Mat-Su, hers was a family that played outside.  After receiving her bachelor's degree in environmental science from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, she chose to return to Alaska.  She and her husband embrace the Alaskan outdoors, spending time at their cabin, hiking, camping, flying, skiing, and fishing.  Darcy has varied background in land management and environmental science, the past 10 years of which have been within the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.  As the current Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and Snowmobile Trails Program (STP) manager, she assists the public with grants for trail projects, and finds great satisfaction in "spending my days in support of trails!"

Randy Goodwin

Randy Goodwin moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1982 to attend the University of Alaska - Fairbanks, and graduated with a degree in natural resource management in 1985.  Randy began working for the Bureau of Land Management as a recreation planner in the White Mountains National Recreation Area.  He helped to build a network of 250 miles of trails connecting a system of public-use cabins, a 17-mile road, and three campgrounds.  In 2005, he shifted to working on statewide access issues as the BLM-Alaska travel management and transportation planning program lead.  Prior to working for BLM, Randy worked for the National Park Service in Yosemite and the US Forest Service in the Inyo and Chugach National Forests.  Randy also enjoys riding ATVs and snowmobiles, hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering.

Mouhcine Guettabi

Mouhcine Guettabi is an assistant professor of economics at UAA's Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), with a PhD in economics from Oklahoma State University.  His fields of specialization are regional and urban economics, health economics, and applied microeconomics; he has, for example, studied the effects of various economic factors on obesity among Americans.  Specifically, he has examined the role of the distance, density and the built environment on weight outcomes for both adults and children.  At ISER his recent work includes estimating savings from reducing childhood obesity, assessing the economic impact of the smoke-free policy in Anchorage, and co-writing studies of the economic costs to Alaska of higher fuel prices and of the economic importance of the Bristol Bay salmon fishery.  Some of his current projects include assessing the needs of Alaska veterans, conducting a survey of employer provided health insurance, and updating ISER's economic forecasting model for Alaska.  You can see more of his work at http://mguettabi.wix.com/mgeconak.

Marcia Howell

Marcia Howell has been riding and walking the trails in Anchorage and throughout Alaska for 23 years.  As the executive director of the Alaska Injury Prevention Center (AIPC), she advocates for bike and pedestrian infrastructure improvements, engages in a variety of safety initiatives and promotes collaborative bike and pedestrian efforts.  Marcia chairs several highway safety task forces and tries to provide a voice for multi-modal road and trail users to insure that our concerns are heard as loudly as the traditional motorized voices.

Ed Keeler

Kevin is a trail specialist with over 25 years of experience in planning, design, remote logistics, construction, maintenance, mapping and partnership projects on Alaskan trails.  For the past 10 years he has worked at BLM as federal administrator for the Iditarod National Historic Trail.  Project work included building five new public shelter cabins on the Iditarod Trail, and marking and signing over 250 miles of remote trail.  Kevin and his colleagues were winners of the 2012 Secretary of Interior's Partnership for Conservation Award for work on the Trail.  Previously, Kevin spent 14 years as an outdoor recreation planner with the National Park Service Alaska Region, primarily with the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program on trail protection and stewardship projects.  Kevin has an M.S. in resource management from the University of British Columbia, and a B.S. in environmental studies / land use planning from Northland College.

Ed Kessler

Eddie began his trail career in 2006, interning for Seminole County Natural Lands in central Florida.  Following graduation from the University of Central Florida in 2007, Ed moved to Alaska to begin graduate school in outdoor environmental education at Alaska Pacific University.  Prior to completing his master's degree, he began working for Alaska Division of Forestry as student intern coordinator.  This offered Ed the opportunity to manage a youth resource crew - contracting with multiple agencies in an effort to engage and educate Alaska youth in the field of Natural Resource Management.  Trail building was the most intriguing aspect of this work, and throughout his time at Forestry, he learned as much as he could from cohorts, fieldwork, or through professional workshops.  Ed joined Ptarmigan Ptrails (www.ptarmiganptrails.com) in 2011.  On top of trail construction and design, Ed's specialty is working with community groups, government agencies and stakeholders.  He has served on the board of Envision Mat-Su, is a current board member of Valley Mountain Bikers and Hikers, and a founding member of the BikePalmer group.

Erin Kessler

Erin is co-owner of Midnight Sun Yoga Center in Palmer, head of PR and is the events coordinator for Backcountry Bike and Ski in Palmer and Wasilla, a member of Team Backcountry Racing, and a board member of Valley Mountain Bikers and Hikers.  Erin has been involved in youth recreation and activities in Alaska since 2008 when she started working for Alaska Center for the Environment's Trailside Discovery Camp both in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley.  In addition to substitute teaching at schools around the Valley, she has taught yoga classes for numerous kids at schools and studios.  Developing a love for teaching kids, she completed her student teaching at Palmer High School for a post-baccalaureate degree in secondary studio art.  Currently, Erin is a lead coach for SprocKidz Mountain Biking program and is part of the steering committee for SprocKidz.  Her enthusiasm for local trails, the outdoors, and mountain biking has coupled with her love of teaching to kids in the Valley's own youth summer biking program.

Kyle Kidder

Kyle Kidder, natural resource specialist, for the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources since 2007, and the last four years with the easements unit with Division of Mining Land and Water, specializing in statewide trails.  As a graduate from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point College of Natural Resources, with an emphasis on recreation, forestry, and facilities operations.  Kyle is an avid biker, paddler, skier and supporter of motorized recreation. If he is not out enjoying Alaska's trails and rivers you can find him volunteering his time with the Girdwood Trails Committee or behind the scenes in a shop turning wrenches at Challenge Alaska Ski School and the Anchorage Bicycle Collective.

Ann Mayo-Kiely

Ann Mayo-Kiely, Alaska Geographic program director, manages the youth and community engagement programs for Alaska Geographic, with the Chugach Children's Forest as a primary focus.  Ann's position focuses on partnership building, and development of new and innovative programs to engage local youth in their public lands.  She holds an M.S. in recreation resources management from the University Of Montana School Of Forestry with a focus on wilderness management, and a B.A. from Colorado College.  Ann has over twenty years of experience combining work in environmental education and natural resources management, working as a wilderness ranger and environmental educator in the Boundary Waters recreation area, wilderness coordinator at Isle Royale National Park, and seasonal positions from Arizona to Montana and Vermont.  For the last several years, she has focused on community engagement, youth program development, grant writing, and partnership building between schools, public lands agencies, and community organizations - first as director of the Isle Royale Institute and, starting in 2008, with Alaska Geographic.  Ann works closely with the Chugach National Forest in Alaska, helping to change trends and engage the full diversity of Alaska's youth in their public lands, with a strong focus on sustaining long-term involvement with healthy outdoor lifestyles, outdoor play, lifelong stewardship, and careers with public lands.

Cliff Larson

Started working in trail construction (at the age of 14) in 1975 as a member of the Youth Conservation Crew (YCC).  Constructed many of the trails in Fort Snelling State Park (Minnesota) during the summers of 1975 and 1976.  Worked for the US Forest Service LaCroix Ranger District on Portage (trail) Crew in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 1986.  Received a B.S. in forestry management from University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point in 1988.

YCC crew leader for the US Forest Service Glacier Ranger District, Girdwood Alaska 1988.  Supervised the YCC Trail Crew.  Recreation crew leader from 1989-1999 USFS Glacier Ranger District, Girdwood Alaska.  Constructed and maintained trails, cabins, and recreational areas on the 2.5 million acre district.  Initiated, managed, and supervised Kayak Ranger Program in Prince William Sound WSA 1997-1998.

Justin Lilly

Justin comes from a varied background of outdoor recreation and natural resource management.  Growing up in Colorado, the mountains and public lands have always been his back yard.  After working for local Colorado governments for several years in parks and recreation, he obtained a B.S. Land Use and Resources degree from Metro State College of Denver and soon was hired as the program coordinator for the successful Stay The Trail OHV ethics and education program, where he spent three years working with mixed-use enthusiasts and state and federal land managers to promote responsible and respectful motorized use of public lands.  Justin left Stay The Trail as a full-time employee in 2011, but has remained on their board of directors and continues to contract with them for various projects.  Justin has also worked for Tread Lightly!, Inc. as their Education and Stewardship programs manager and still maintains a master trainer certificate from them.

These days, Justin works half the year in Colorado as a ski instructor and half the year in Alaska, working outside Denali National Park for a helicopter flight seeing company and as a naturalist guide.  Believing that there is a wealth of room for everyone to responsibly enjoy their activities on public lands, Justin himself is truly mixed-use with passions for hiking, mountaineering, skiing, snow machining, dirt biking, and four-wheeling to name a few.

Dan Mayfield

Dan moved to Alaska in 1962 attending school in Anchorage until graduation from West High School.  He earned a BA in political science with a minor in history from the University of Hawaii at Hilo returning to Anchorage in 1978.  Now retired, he was an insurance claims professional and manager for 33 years with a nationally recognized insurance company.  His love for trails and the sport of snowmachining began in 1968 when first visiting Big Lake with friends.  In 2007, Dan saw that many of the trails in the Big Lake area were in danger of being lost due to future planned development.  Through the Big Lake Comprehensive Planning process, he was successful in incorporating the an entire chapter of the comprehensive plan dedicated to the importance of trails to the community.  In 2008, Dan founded and became President of Big Lake Trails, Inc. developing it as a 501c3 non-profit entity.  Besides serving as president of Big Lake Trails, Dan also currently serves as vice-president of the Big Lake Community Council, vice-president of the Big Lake Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of SnoTRAC.

Joe Meehan

As a native to the Adirondack region of upstate New York, Joe spent many years hiking, skiing, and canoeing the trails of this northeastern wilderness.  After earning a degree in wildlife biology, he spent the next 30 years working for state and federal land and resource management agencies including national parks such as Grand Canyon, Big Bend, Zion, Badlands, Everglades, Katmai, Kenai Fjords, and a few others.  Joe also had stints in the national forest system in Utah, the national wildlife refuge system in the Aleutian Islands, and with Alaska State Parks in the Kodiak archipelago.

For the past 15 years Joe has been with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and currently oversees the state's wildlife refuge and sanctuary program in the Division of Wildlife Conservation.  At 3.2 million acres, this is the largest state run wildlife refuge program in the country and includes some of our prime wildlife habitats found in the state including sanctuaries at McNeil River and Walrus Islands, and many refuge areas including Potter Marsh, Palmer Hay Flats, Susitna Flats, Izembek Lagoon, Kachemak Bay, Copper River Delta, and others.  A primary focus of the state's program is to facilitate a wide range of use in these areas including public access and trails, while protecting the important habitats they were created to protect.

Christopher Mertl

Mr. Mertl has lived in southeast Alaska for over 20 years in both Juneau and Sitka and is fascinated by the coastal environment, its challenges, and the opportunities it presents.  He enjoys working with 'real working coastal' residents and communities and finding simple and creative solutions to complex design problems.  Wherever possible he tries to weave the local culture and heritage into his designs through the development of context sensitive designs that create appropriate and meaningful landscapes.  His recent emphasis has been on urban trails and waterfront promenades throughout southeast Alaska.  These projects go beyond simple trail projects and incorporate sustainable design principals to connect people to the community's heritage, natural environment, enhances and protects the local environment, and encourages environmental knowledge and responsibility.  Mr. Mertl is the managing principal of the Juneau office of Corvus Design, an Alaskan landscape architecture and planning firm at www.corvus-design.com.

Kevin G Meyer

Kevin G. Meyer retired as the regional trails specialist for the National Park Service in Alaska in December of 2012.  He provided trails expertise to National Parks, and to a wide range of other federal, State and local trail organizations thru the agency's Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA).  He has a bachelor's degree in soil science and a masters in forestry.

Beginning in 2000 he has focused on responding to the challenges of OHV management in Alaska's sensitive environments.  He is the author of a 2002 USFS report "Managing Degraded Off-Highway Vehicle Trails in Wet, Unstable, and Sensitive Environments"; and a soon to be re-issued report on an OHV Trail Management Framework.  Meyer is a nationally recognized expert on Sustainable Trail Design and Trail Hardening techniques for wetlands and permafrost environments.  Since his retirement, he has been providing trails training and consulting services from his new home in Bend, Oregon.  Kevin can best be reached via email at: trailologist@gmail.com.

Jillian Morrissey

Jillian is a 15-year conservation professional and started her trails career as an Student Conservation Association (SCA) Crew Leader in 1999.  She has served as a SCA Work Skills instructor and an Alaska Trails Sustainable Trails instructor since 2003.  From 2006-2007 she led SAGA's Alaska Service Corps & Serve Alaska Youth Corps as manager and then director.  She took over direction of Alaska Trails as executive director until 2009.  She teaches as visiting adjunct faculty for Alaska Pacific University's (APU) MS Outdoor & Environmental Education program and served as the community education director for APU in 2011.  She received her MS in environmental education from Audubon Expedition Institute/Lesley University in 2002.

Maeve Nevins

As a young competitive "extreme" skier, Maeve had always dreamed of living in Alaska.  Her dream became a reality when she relocated from Colorado to Alaska to pursue her passion for outdoor adventure balanced by her current job as a park planner with the Municipality of Anchorage.  Her previous professional experiences as a "hard-hat" wearing excavation laborer on landscape, utility and road crews lead her to a bachelors of science degree in Landscape Architecture from Colorado State University.  From there, she gained valuable design skills with an international resort landscape architecture firm.  She went on to work as a rangeland technician alongside ecologists and biologists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and most recently she worked with a leading trail engineering design firm.  Maeve is a nationally published writer with topics that vary from edible landscapes to interviews with extreme athletes.  When not working on park or trail projects she can be found skiing and biking in the backcountry with her fiancĂ© and their English springer spaniel.

Beth Nordlund

Beth Nordlund, executive director of the Anchorage Park Foundation earned a double major in environmental studies and political science from Baylor University, and a master's in public administration from George Washington University.  Upon graduation, Beth took a job at the US Department of the Interior.  Beth was the first staff hired for the Anchorage Park Foundation in 2004.  Starting from scratch, she has helped shape the work plan and she enjoys working with volunteers to help them obtain grants, promote projects, build projects, and celebrate community achievements.  Beth helped create and fund the Youth Employment in Parks program, which won the prestigious Partners in Conservation Award from the US Department of the Interior.  Her community awards include Anchorage ATHENA Society and Top 40 Under 40.

Brian Okonek

Brian Okonek has been an avid trail user in Alaska for nearly 50 years.  He speads quality time with friends and family hiking and cross country skiing.  For many years he and his wife, Diane, did month long dog sledding trips traveling from village to village on the network of winter trails that crisscross the state.  For two decades he and Diane ran a guiding company that conducted mountaineering, backpacking, rafting and backcountry skiing adventures.  Brian is the president of the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition and lives in Talkeetna.

Geoff Orth

Geoff (Alaska Trails board president) currently works as a freelance photographer in interior Alaska.  He has resided in Alaska for over 30 years and throughout this time has enjoyed Alaska's backcountry.  He has a graduate degree in anthropology and has worked as a biologist, anthropologist and commercial fisherman; he was an early member of the Alaska Wilderness Guides Association and has a vessel master's license (100 ton).  Geoff has participated in trail construction and maintenance projects, is very interested in efforts to educate users in trail etiquette, and in promoting the expansion of trails in the state for all user groups.  His favorite pursuits are trail running, mountain biking, x-c skiing and surfing (though not in Alaska).  Geoff is also a member of the Fairbanks North Star Borough's Trail Advisory Commission and the chair of the Ester Trail Group.

Dan Ostrowski

Dan's fondness for Alaska's interior goes back to his formative years in the UP of Michigan and its similar flora, fauna, and climate.  He has a B.S. in geology from Michigan State University and continues to study hydrology and ice.  "Everything is creeping downhill. Rocks, soil, ice, and water move with similar properties just different speed."  Dan has worked in outdoor education, glacial research, fire, rescue, guiding, maintenance, and planning, but most of his experience and passion is trails work.  He has worked trails in five national parks, instructed for the Outdoor Stewardship Institute, and consulted on trails planning for several public land trail systems.  His expertise includes natural trail design, bridge construction, rigging, and incorporating youth corps and volunteers in to trail projects.  Dan is the Trails Foreman for Denali National Park and Preserve and the NPS Alaska Region Blasting Officer.

Ann Potempa

Ann is a public health communications specialist with the State of Alaska Division of Public Health, in the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion section.  Ms. Potempa's career has focused on health communication and education.  She earned a journalism and sociology degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage.  She worked as a journalist for ten years, spending most of that time as the health reporter for the Anchorage Daily News.  In 2003, she was named a Knight Journalism Fellow at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Ms. Potempa has worked on public health education projects with the State of Alaska since 2007, and now helps oversee the state's Play Every Day campaign.

Karen Robine

Karen Robine is the president of Robine GIS, Inc., a company that specializes in high-end GIS software solutions for clients throughout the US and abroad.  Karen has over 30 years of software design and development experience, specializing in information systems technologies, database management, data and applications integration and custom programming.  In 2013, through the PhotoScience contract with the US Forest Service GSTC, Karen was tasked to work with the Forest Service to develop the Interactive Visitor Map (IVM) application.  This application is scheduled to be completed in May of 2014 and will be available from the front page of the new Drupal version of the US Forest Service Website.

Harlow Robinson

Harlow Robinson, executive director of Alaska Sports Hall of Fame, worked with at-risk youth for 15 years as a direct care staff, supervisor and manager.  He is a founding member of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame with initial development starting in 2001.  He has served on numerous boards and commissions and is currently on the Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreation Commission.  Harlow is involved in organizing numerous Alaska sporting events, and is a multi-time champion of Crow Pass and Matanuska Peak mountain races.

Cristin Roehl

Cristin is a lifelong Alaskan and active outdoors person.  She enjoys cross country skiing, snow machining, riding ATVs, camping, fishing, hunting as well as many other outdoor activities.  Cristin and her partner Sean live in Soldotna, AK and are raising their four children.  She is a successful small business owner as well as the vice president of Snomads, Inc., a Homer Alaska based snow machine club.  She has been a member of Snomads, Inc. since 2007 and has been on the board of directors, as a board member from 2012-2013 and as the vice president from 2013 to present.

Snomads, Inc. works to develop and rehabilitate existing trails and trailheads for the benefit of all back country users.  We finance and implement the marking of local trails using color coded reflective markers.  We host and actively participate in educational programs in the schools promoting snow machine and cold weather safety.  We also finance and maintain an active, trained search and rescue team (SAR) in Homer and Anchor Point working on call through the Alaska State Troopers.

Andy Romano

Andy retired from the Air Force in May 2013 and joined the NAOI team as the executive director in September of 2013.  Although new to the position, Andy is no stranger to the organization.  As a former student and volunteer, he has been part of many training events.  Married and a father of 5, he is an outdoor enthusiast and an advocate for outdoor safety education.  As a Wilderness First Responder and a member of the MATSAR Search and Rescue team he is a strong supporter and asset to the NAOI wilderness medical and wilderness survival training programs.

Paul Sandhofer

Paul Sandhofer was introduced to the disability community when he volunteered to be a Scout Master for the ARC of Anchorage's Explorer Scout Troop.  In the 1980's he noted that the larger tour companies had very few accessible activities for touring throughout Alaska.  As a result, he reviewed Alaska for accessible activities and established Alaska Welcomes You, Inc., an accessible tour company, to allow individuals with a disiblity to enjoy the activites along the road system, either in an accompanied tour, or independently in a rented car.

He served on the Alaska TRAAK board for three years, the Chugach State Park Citizens Advisory Board for five years, the Yakutat Resource Advisory Committee, and is a certified instructor on the Universal Trail Assessment Process, where he has provided training in Portland OR, Petersburg AK, and Anchorage.  He assisted the State of Alaska ADA coordinator in determining the accessibility level of all the state facilities located along the road system, from the Canadian border to Fairbanks, to Anchorage, and the entire Kenai Peninsula.

Jaime Schmidt

Jaime Schmidt is the U.S. Forest Service's national trail information coordinator, where she leads the agency's efforts for providing quality trail management and visitor information.  Jaime has over 20 years of Forest Service recreation and trail management experience, including serving as the trail program manager for the Forest Service's Alaska Region and for the Chugach National Forest, and in recreation and trail management in Idaho and Montana.  She has also worked in land management planning, interpretive planning, and conservation education in Brazil, Honduras, and Ecuador through the Forest Service International Program and the US Peace Corps.  Jaime lives in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho where she works as a virtual employee for the Forest Service's national headquarters in Washington DC.  She's an active outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking, skiing, and travel adventures.  Jaime holds a bachelor of science degree in wildland recreation management from the University of Idaho and an associate of arts degree in commercial art from North Idaho College.

Beverly Schoonover

Beverly Schoonover is the executive director of SAGA and currently manages the Alaska Service Corps program.  Beverly joined SAGA in 2012 after previously serving as director of the Juneau Watershed Partnership since 2007.  She served as a two-term AmeriCorps member in Oregon and has previous work experience in economic development and environmental education.  Beverly holds a bachelor's degree in community development from Portland State University and a masters of science in development practice from Oxford-Brookes University in Oxford, England.  She and her husband Albert make their home in Juneau, where they enjoy the local trail system there all year long.

Andy Schroeder

Andy has dedicated his career to conservation of Alaska's natural resources.  Originally from the Little Miami watershed of Ohio, he earned a bachelor of science from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, a 3rd mate's license for unlimited tonnages and served two tours in the Coast Guard.  Andy left the service in 2005 to start a small business and make Kodiak his permanent home.  He founded the nonprofit Island Trails Network in 2006 and in 2010 became its full-time executive director.  Andy and his wife Betsy have a 2-year old son Haakon and a seven-month old daughter, Dory.

Mike Shields

Mike started working on trails in 1960 at Olympic National Park in the days of axes, misery-whips, and 90-lb loads in a Trapper Nelson pack.  In his NPS career he's been a crew leader, ranger, roads foreman, maintenance mechanic, trails foreman, and facility manager, but primarily and always a trailman, and has worked trails in Olympic, Big Bend, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, North Cascades, Kings Canyon, Rocky Mountain and Denali.

Two of those parks (Canyonlands, North Cascades) were brand new and he helped "invent" the trail systems in both.  He became adept at timber felling, log and rock construction, mule packing, rigging, using explosives as a precision tool, suspension bridge and tram design, and has been teaching the following since 1972: trail design & layout, trail construction & maintenance, terrain dynamics, blasting safety, technical blasting & rock mechanics, rigging safety, abandoned explosives disposal, bridge design, crew management, and field contract administration.

Since his retirement as Denali's chief of maintenance in late 1996 he has been a small contractor providing training, trail layout, and technical consulting services from Alaska to West Texas and California to Colorado.  In 2010 he received American Trails' "State Trail Worker Award" (Alaska) for his efforts at training and mentoring younger folks.

Blaine Smith

Blaine started doing trail work with Chugach State Park in 1976 as a Boy Scout.  Working with the Rangers and several other scouts Blaine opened the Turnagain Arm trail between McHugh Creek and Rainbow Valley just to the southeast of Anchorage.  From that point on, Blaine has maintained an active interest in trails, particularly those in Chugach State Park where he has worked for the past seven years as the coordinator for the trails program.

Corinne Smith

Corinne Smith is the Mat-Su basin program director at The Nature Conservancy.  She graduated from Alaska Pacific University in 2002 with a master's degree in environmental science.  Her thesis explored the relationship between people's environmental values and their identification of biologically important places in Prince William Sound.  She also has a bachelor of science and a masters in engineering from Cornell University.  She led The Nature Consevancy's replacement of inadequate culverts in the Mat-Su Basin, coordinated development of the Strategic Action Plan for the Mat-Su Salmon Partnership, and sits on the steering committee of the Mat-Su Salmon Partnership.  TNC's Mat-Su work now focuses on valuing ecosystem services and assessing the risk of large hydropower development.  Her main home is in Anchorage, and she and her husband spend many weekends at a cabin in Talkeetna and on a sailboat in Prince William Sound.

Steven Soenksen

Steven is a modal specialist with Alaska DOT/PF.  He holds a bachelors degree in architecture from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, and a masters degree in architecture from NewSchool of Architecture and Design in California with a minor in urban studies.  He has over 20 years experience as a design-build contractor developing creative solutions for buildings and sites in Alaska.  He has worked for the Alaska legislature as staff to the transportation and finance committees, and served on the Juneau Economic Development Council.  He brings an architectural perspective to solving complex problems with solutions that make sense.  Mr. Soenksen coordinates the Alaska Safe Routes to Schools Program.

Holly Spoth-Torres

Holly started working for Anchorage Parks & Recreation in 2006 as a park planner.  In 2009, she became the park superintendent, responsible for the leadership and management of the parks division, including park maintenance, horticulture, planning, design & construction, community work service, the volunteer program and Youth Employment in Parks.

As superintendent, Holly is most proud of her work leading a high-performing team of parks & recreation professionals who have successfully established a public-private business model to improve Anchorage parks & trails through innovative fundraising, construction and volunteer projects.  Holly has led the park maintenance and horticulture teams through a complete operations reorganization resulting in improved park safety and maintenance, fuel savings and reduced accidents and equipment damage.

She received her B.S. in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her masters in landscape architecture from Cornell University.  She has worked for Denali National Park & Preserve as a planning assistant and managed the Mat-Su Borough Trails Program for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.  Holly recently became a licensed landscape architect in the State of Alaska and is a graduate of NRPA's Park Maintenance Management School.  You will likely find Holly walking her two English Mastiffs on the multi-use trails in Russian Jack Springs Park.

Janice Tower

Janice is a lifelong Alaskan.  She is the director of the Mighty Bikes mountain biking program for children, which she co-founded in 2000.  She is the president of Singletrack Advocates, a trail advocacy group whose mission is to preserve, maintain and create singletrack in Anchorage.  Since 2005 Singletrack Advocates has created 25 miles of trail in Anchorage's Hillside and Kincaid Parks.  Janice also serves on the board of directors of the Arctic Bicycle Club.  In her spare time she is a professional cycling coach and an ultra-distance cyclist.

Gabe Travis

Gabe co-owns Interior Trails, a full-service trail contractor, and has been a professional trail builder since 1996.  Over the span of 18 years Gabe has led trail crews in Glacier National Park, Chugach National Forest, and Denali NP. In 2008 Gabe and his wife, Christine Byl, began Interior Trails to address the need for specialized trail expertise in Alaska.  In addition to design & layout, assessment & prescription, and hand & mechanized construction for clients statewide, Gabe has taught introductory and technical trails courses for the past 10 years.  An avid skier, biker, and runner, Gabe is also a visual artist who brings his eye for design and detail to the trail layout and construction process.  He lives in a yurt north of Denali National Park.  For more information on Interior Trails, visit www.interior-trails.com.

C. Allen Truitt

Truitt has spent his life engaging youth in the outdoors and community service since he was a youth.  As a teen, he was highly involved with Boy Scouts and spent every summer inspiring other youth at the Horseshoe Scout Reservation.  After attending Penn State for Engineering, Truitt felt the need to reconnect with youth and community.  The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps was just the right opportunity.  With the NCCC, he spent a year participating in disaster relief, environmental, education & other service projects to enhance communities in the "Old South."

Returning home, he felt a strong urge to remain involved with the community.  When the opportunity came up to give back and work for the Boy Scouts as a year round Camp Ranger, Truitt jumped at it, and spent the next couple of years working to provide programs to expose youth to the outdoors and train future leaders.

In 2009, Truitt came to Alaska to work at SAGA with the Alaska Service Corps & Serve Alaska Youth Corps.  At SAGA he organized service projects in our State & National Parks, Forest Service Land and Alaska Dept. of Transportation.  These projects engaged disconnected Alaskan youth & youth from the lower 48 with opportunities to improve our public lands here in Alaska.

Since 2013, Truitt uses his experience to work with Anchorage teens to improve city parks managing Youth Employment in Parks (YEP) program.

Jon Underwood

Jon Underwood of Happy Trails, Inc. has had life-long fascination with trails, as a mountain biker, skier, runner, walker, and ATV rider. After several years of amateur trail building and schooling, in 2006 Jon started Happy Trails, Inc. to provide trail design and construction in Alaska. Since then he has designed and built trails all over the state, having so much fun he is astonished when it is sometimes profitable as well. Go to www.happytrailsak.com to see more.

Brian Vaughn

Brian began his trail career in 2006 with the New Hampshire chapter of Student Conservation Association.  He graduated with a degree in outdoor education from Johnson State College.  During his time at Johnson State, Brian was involved with cycling and mountain bike racing.  As crew leader and trail consultant, Brian has been developing his skills and honing his ability to build sustainable trails.  Brian moved to Alaska in 2008 to finish the first mountain bike specific trails in Alaska, the Hillside STA (Single Track Advocates) network.  Since founding Ptarmigan PTrails (www.ptarmiganptrails.com), he's been an integral part of the Anchorage Youth Employment in the Parks (YEP) program, Alaska Trails training instructor, and project manager for Ptarmigan's construction work.  Brian has maintained, planned, designed and built trail for private contracts, on National Forest land, and in over two dozen public parks; often managing crews of up to 25.  Brian lives in Sutton, Alaska, and helps plan local bike events, and advocates for trails.

Shelly Wade

Shelly grew up in North Pole, Alaska, and has applied her passion as a lifelong Alaskan in the capacity of project manager, senior planner and lead facilitator for over 100 projects across the state.

In May of 2013, Shelly delivered the first trails and parks master plan for the Mat-Su Area, a project that she managed for the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation.  More recently, in her seven years with Agnew::Beck, Shelly worked with the Mat-Su Health Foundation in the Mat-Su Borough to plan, facilitate and summarize the results of a series of approximately 23 community and stakeholder meetings across the Borough for the Mat-Su Health Foundation Community Health Needs Assessment: Community Engagement Initiative project.  Other relevant Mat-Su projects include the current Big Lake Community Impact Assessment project, and the award winning 2009 Big Lake Comprehensive Plan Update.

In addition to her extensive experience working on planning and facilitation projects in the Mat-Su, Shelly has worked with the United States Forest Service on a range of planning projects including the Chugach Children's Forest Strategic Plan, the Wrangell Sustainable Outdoor Recreation, the Cordova All-Terrain Vehicle Management Plan, the and most recently, the City of Cordova Land Use and Comprehensive Plan.

She has a bachelor of science in anthropology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and master of science in sociology from Illinois State University's Peace Corps Fellows Program.  Shelly served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the People's Republic of China, 1998-2000.

Janet Zeller

Janet Zeller is the national accessibility program manager for the U.S. Forest Service.  She and her team are responsible for accessibility programs and policies across all 193 million acres of the National Forest System.

She was the lead author of the Forest Service Outdoor Recreation and Trail Accessibility Guidelines.  She also represents the Forest Service working on accessibility issues with Forest Service partners, organizations, States, and other federal agencies, including with the U.S. Access Board and the Department of Justice.

Janet instructs accessibility and universal design of programs and facilities at a wide range of training sessions nationally.

She is a lifelong outdoor recreationist and a certified instructor trainer in canoeing and sea kayaking.  She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a masters degree from the University of Rhode Island.