Alaska Trails Executive Director Steve Cleary 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. Steve first came to Alaska by bicycle from Minnesota in 1998. He 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.
Volunteer Program Coordinator
Alaska Trails is excited to have Lindsay Garrod as the Volunteer Program Coordinator for its Alaska Trail Stewards program, which is the main focus of a three year Murdock Charitable Trust grant. Lindsay has extensive experience in the non-profit world, most notably with the Anchorage Museum. She served in a variety of roles at the Museum including Director of Programs as well as the Visitor Engagement and Programs Manager. In addition to working directly with donors, Lindsay also has valuable experience with a wide array of systems including website development software, client relationship management software, databases, and word processing software. Lindsay loves to trail run, hike, bike, and get out with her family and dog whenever possible.
Alaska Trails Initiative Staff
Mariyam Medovaya joined on as the staff person for the Alaska Trails Initiative in 2019. Mariyam brings diverse experience and skills needed for our ambitious initiative. This includes guiding hikes for local ecotourism business Ascending Path and developing interpretive programs on natural and cultural history of Prince William Sound for the US Forest Service. She has worked in the non-profit world, including positions with the World Wildlife Fund, Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture, and the Girdwood Art Institute. Mariyam grew up in Russia, and holds MS in Marine Environmental Sciences from Stony Brook University, as well as MA in Cultural Geography from U of Colorado, Boulder. She brings valuable experience building relationships with universities, colleges, nonprofit organizations and community groups, and is skilled with a range software and communication tools, including CANVA, the program we’ve used to create Trails Initiative publications. Mariyam will attend her first Trail Initiative core group meeting in mid-November, and began working with the Alaska Trails Initiative team shortly after that.
Board of Directors
Board President (Anchorage)
A lifelong Alaskan, Sam grew up in Juneau where she developed a love for trails and a desire to see the world. After graduating with degrees in Forestry Recreation Resources and Ecotourism from Oregon State University, Sam moved back to Alaska and began her public service career. First, as trail crew for Chugach State Park and then as the Trails Coordinator for the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation where she managed the statewide trails programs. Her career took an unexpected turn to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner’s Office, where she spent several years as a special assistant. She transitioned to a project coordinator role managing state and federal programs focused on acquisition of lands for habitat protection, recreational opportunities and land use planning. Her efforts added more than 38,000 acres of land to the Alaska State Parks and State Game Refuge systems. She is a Wilderness First Responder, a Tread Lightly Master Tread Trainer, and a NOLS East Africa graduate.
Board Secretary (Anchorage)
Chris 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.
Board Member (Anchorage)
Irene was born and raised in Anchorage, where she spent summers hiking and winters in love-hate relationship with nordic skiing. She didn't realize how much she loved Alaska until she fell in love with the landscapes of southern New Zealand, which also reminded her of home. Irene graduated from University of Alaska Anchorage with her Bachelors in Civil Engineering. Her career has focused in water resources and trails - she's worked in both private and federal sectors, and most recently Irene joined the team at HDR Alaska. Her work has allowed her to participate in some fascinating projects and see some beautiful parts of the state. Irene's outdoor pursuits involve trying a little bit of everything, but she can usually be found enjoying Alaska's trails by bike, foot, or skis with her friends and pup. She also enjoys micro-beers, and live music, traveling to new places, and supporting her great community.
Board Member (Juneau)
Erik 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.He acceded to executive director in 2011.
Board Member (Wrangell)
Kate Thomas started her Alaskan career in 2007, with a degree in Adventure Tourism and Business Operations from the College of the Rockies in British Columbia. Kate has worked as a backcountry canoe, kayak and hiking guide for high end clients and behavioral health programs serving at-risk youth. Kate’s experiences in the wilderness have transformed her into a tenacious creative mentor and leader with an ability to build healthy professional and personal relationships and understand progress barriers while implementing sustainable solutions. She currently resides in Wrangell and has served as the Parks and Recreation Director for the Borough since 2015. Kate is passionate about making small Alaska communities a better place to live, love and work, and focuses on finding ways to incorporate the best into services for all demographics in Wrangell. When Kate isn’t working, she can be found on the waters of southeast Alaska with her friends and furry companion.
Board Member (Anchorage)
Gemma Amorelli is a California import turned Alaskan. After living in Kenai for 5 years, she decided to move to Anchorage after deciding that it is a perfectly balanced city.. Not too big, not too small, and surrounded by wild lands. She began working in trails with a position in Denali State Park on Trail Crew, and helped to build the Kesugi Ridge Trail. She then landed in a position with the US Forest Service working on the Iditarod National Historic Trail, where she has gotten to see the side of trails that includes grant writing, interpretation, GIS, and heritage among other things. She is a classic outdoorsy type who also enjoys the nerdier side of life such as Magic the Gathering, 3D printing, virtual reality, and rollerskating. She explores Alaskan trails with her partner, stepdaughter, and malamute puppy when the weather is warm.
Board Member (Anchorage)
Libby Kugel grew up in Anchorage, leaving after high school for Maine, where she received a degree in Environmental Science at Colby College. Since graduating, she has taught science in the mountains of Southern California, moved back to Anchorage, and started her foray into the local nonprofit world. Libby has previously worked at the Anchorage Park Foundation, and currently is the Communications and Administration Manager at Great Land Trust. Libby loves cross-country skiing on the Coastal Trail in the winter, hiking in the Chugach in the summer, and riding her bike year-round on any trails she can find all around the state.
Board Member (Anchorage)
Lisa Oakley grew up hiking and skiing in the Cascade Mountains, which gave her a lifelong love of being outdoors, particularly in the mountains. She’s been an Anchorage resident for nearly 40 years. Her career path took the winding way through small business operations to nonprofit organizations. She semi-retired in 2016 and started a gardening service. Lisa plays hockey in the winter and enjoys mountain and snow biking in addition to hiking.