Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Born and raised in the PNW, finding adventure in the outdoors has pretty much always been my chosen pastime. I consider myself fortunate to have started mountain biking on the trails at Growlers Gulch where the trail-building ethos is strong. If you want to ride those trails, you better be ready to give back to them. Within my first few months of riding a mountain bike, I was putting in sweat equity with a trail tool in my hand. I quickly understood that if I wanted trails to ride, I needed to be part of building and maintaining them. That concept has been cemented into my brain thanks to Jim Lemonds.
What interested you in becoming a TSI Instructor?
In 2019, then NWTA President Bob Lessard, asked me if I would be interested in creating an education branch of NWTA that would consist of some kind of trail maintenance and sustainability training program. With the help of Andy Jansky and a few others, we created the Trail Sustainability Institute (TSI). Under TSI, we built two training programs: Trail School and Crew Leader Training. From there, we started looking for talented Instructors who were either great teachers and/or had professions and experience that lend well to our focus.
What do you enjoy most about being a TSI Instructor?
THE PEOPLE! People who show up with a thirst to learn something new and a willingness to give their time to something that reaches far beyond themselves are the kind of people I want to be around. Also, I view this as a platform to share the importance of caring for our trails and our wild spaces all while doing it in a sustainable, thoughtful way. It is our responsibility to care for the places we love.
Why do you think this program is important and/or why should folks participate in this program?
When I first started working on trails, I didn’t always understand why I was doing the things I was asked to do. I didn’t always understand the terminology that was being thrown around, nor did I know which tool was the best tool for the job. My experience is not an isolated experience. Trail School unveils these mysteries when we dive into how and why we maintain trails the way we do. Crew Leader Training ensures that this education continues with each crew that these leaders take under their wings. The combined concept is that we are continuing to build the knowledge of each Trail Steward that participates in our events. The goal is for folks to leave our training programs empowered from what they have learned so they can confidently participate in trail stewardship across the region.
What aspect of trail maintenance/building can you nerd out on the most?
Out of necessity, drainage! If there is one thing we can count on the PNW, it’s that a lot of rain will fall from the sky. Figuring out how to coax it off the trail as soon as possible is one of our most important jobs. Sometimes this is a straightforward process and sometimes it takes some creativity.
As an additional note: This program thrives because of the intention and dedication that the Instructors put into making it a valuable resource to our membership. I am humbled and honored to work shoulder to shoulder with this TSI Team.