Steve Cleary, Executive Director 

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.

Lindsay Garrod, 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.

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.   


Mariyam Medovaya, Alaska Trails Initiative Staff

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Haley Johnston joined the staff of Alaska Trails in January 2021 as the Tongass National Forest Sustainable Trail Strategy Project Manager. Haley comes to Alaska Trails with extensive experience in outdoor recreation as a long-time wilderness guide and outdoor educator. She also brings significant nonprofit expertise having served on several nonprofit and citizen advisory boards and working as the Business Specialist at the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage. Haley passionately believes recreation is critical to the quality of life in Alaska, the mental health of our communities and the resilience of the Alaskan economy. Haley spends her non-working hours trail running, backpacking, Nordic skiing, packrafting and backcountry skiing with her partner, friends and dog.

Haley Johnston, Tongass National Forest Sustainable Trail Strategy Project Manager


Chris Beck, Alaska Trails Initiative Program Coordinator

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 of Directors


Libby Kugel

Board President (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.


Kate Thomas

Board Vice-President (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. 


Lisa Oakley

Board Treasurer (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.


Irene Turletes

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. 


Glen Hemingson

Board Member (Anchorage)

Glen is a tourism professional and long-time trails advocate.  He is originally from Austin, Texas.  After a ten-year stint in the ski industry in Alta, Utah, he has resided in Anchorage since 2001.  His current professional role is Business Development for Alaska Skylar Travel.  Glen’s experience includes two years as Summer Trail Planner for the Town of Alta and participation at all levels with numerous non-profit and professional organizations.  In Anchorage he has worked on the revitalization of the Westchester Lagoon Nature Trail as part of the Anchorage Park Foundation’s Schools on Trails program.  His hobbies include biking, gardening and cross-country skiing.


Bryant Wright

Board Member (Fairbanks)

Bryant grew up living between Fairbanks, Alaska and Tulsa, Oklahoma. He studied art and ran competitively at Trinity University in Texas, finding inspiration during summer training runs on the trails around Fairbanks. Ultimately wanting to help people access the outdoors, he sought another degree at University of Alaska Fairbanks where he earned his Masters of Science in Natural Resources Management. Bryant now works for the Fairbanks North Star Borough as their Trails Coordinator. He helps to develop, plan, and implement a community wide trails plan in Fairbanks. Bryant’s dedication for getting people outdoors inspired him to develop the Trails Challenge program which encourages locals to stay active and curious by highlighting nearby trail opportunities. While he is new to serving on a non-profit board, he is eager to gain experience and support Alaska Trails. When he’s not problem-solving on the trails Bryant is an avid runner and skier, spends time with his family and dogs, and keeps his creative mind healthy through music and art.

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Karen Kromrey

Board Member (Anchorage)

Karen Kromrey grew up in Colorado hiking and backpacking with her family.  She attended Colorado State University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management.  Karen worked for the USDA Forest Service for the next 35 years in Colorado and Alaska in a variety of resource areas including vegetation management, special use administration, and recreation planning.  She retired from the USDA Forest Service in August 2020 where she was the Recreation Program Manager for the Chugach National Forest.  Karen met her husband, Mark, here in Alaska in the early 1990's and they raised their two wonderful daughters while living in the small town of Moose Pass. In retirement, Karen enjoys hiking and biking trails across Alaska and would like to stay involved in keeping trails available for all generations to use and enjoy. 

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Mark Spano

Board Member (Anchorage)

Mark’s volunteer involvement with trails began after he retired from a 30-year career in water quality, environmental compliance and water/wastewater utility operations. He has been active in the Alaska Trail Stewards and served two terms on the Chugach State Park Citizen Advisory Board along with doing other trail volunteer work. Mark grew up mostly in Idaho, earned a biology degree, and headed north to Alaska in 1981. He enjoys the Alaska outdoors through boating, biking, skiing and hiking. Mark wants to help fulfill the Alaska Trails mission and he has the additional lofty goal of getting the Trail Stewards’ tools re-sharpened.