Get to know the dedicated trail crew leaders who lead PNTA Performance Trail Crews.
During our short summer season, our crew leaders mentor and train youth and young adults who serve on our trail crews, guiding them on long backcountry hitches in spectacular wild places while working on the 1,200 mile Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail.
The Association performs over 80% of our maintenance and construction on the PNT with youth and young adults from trailside communities, and our crew leaders play an important role in managing that work in the field.
Leading a Performance Trail Crew involves more than building trail. Our crew leaders have a passion for outdoor education and for facilitating meaningful life experiences for their crews. While tending the most remote areas of the trail, crew leaders take their teams deep into Wilderness areas for up to ten days at a time.
The experience is challenging — crews must learn to work and live together at remote spike camps that may be a day’s walk from the nearest trailhead. And they spend long days working on the trail using tools and backcountry construction methods that are still powered the old-fashioned way — with sweat, skill and perseverance.
During the 2020 season, our crew leaders will face additional challenges and the Association has helped to prepare them to work safely during the Covid-19 pandemic with additional training, guidance and personal protective equipment. During these challenging times, their essential role in keeping trails open and safe has earned them our deepest gratitude and unwavering support.
Colville National Forest
Forest was born and raised in Newport, Washington, where he spent his youth freely roaming the woods outside his door, and often went camping, hunting and fishing with his dad. Before finding his passion for trail stewardship, Forest did conservation work with Pend Oreille County, and sailed around the world, as a crew member of the tall ship Lady Washington of Port Townsend and on the Tole Mour of Long Beach, California.
The satisfaction which comes from working outside, and the sense of accomplishment at the end of a long day with his crew mates are why Forest considers trail work his “dream job.”
This summer, Forest will lead a PNTA Trail Crew that will log-out hundreds of downed trees on the Pacific Northwest Trail between the Washington – Idaho border and the trail town of Northport, Washington.
When not clearing trails, Forest enjoys rambling through the woods with his sidekick, Luna, and easy days spent resting with his feet on the coffee table with his nose in a good book.
Meet Matthew Stenger, our Eastern Washington Assistant Crew Leader.
While thru-hiking the Appalachian and Continental Divide Trails, Matthew developed a deep appreciation for trails and an interest in trail stewardship.
We’re so grateful he chose to give back to the National Trails System by leading backcountry trail crews on the Pacific Northwest Trail!
As a small business owner in Portland, Matthew has developed strong leadership skills, motivating and training teams of house painters to work safely and skillfully. For more than a decade he has served the “City of Roses,” and has spent his spare time traveling the globe seeking outdoor adventure as a mountaineer and climber.
Now in his second season as a PNTA crew leader, Matthew leads by example, sharing his strong work ethic and a true passion for trails with his hard-working crew of young adults from Pend Oreille County.
Keeping the Pacific Northwest Trail open and safe in the rugged and remote mountains along the Washington – Idaho border in the Colville National Forest takes a lot of hard work, and we are so proud of the contributions that Matthew and his backcountry trail crew make to that effort.
When not he’s not leading trail crews, Matthew enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing board games, baking pies, and just lying about playing video games. For his next adventure, he hopes to thru-hike the Arizona National Scenic Trail.
Meet Kameron Walton, our trusty Log-Out Crew Leader. The Association is so lucky to have Kam return for a fifth consecutive season to lead our volunteer work parties, backcountry construction projects, and log out efforts in Eastern Washington!
Kam grew up in Layton, Utah working and playing outdoors. He spent his free time exploring the High Uintas Wilderness with his uncle Kevin, a US Forest Service employee, and pursued a career in home construction, beginning in high school.
In 2015, when an opportunity to spend the summer helping to build and maintain the PNT in Northeast Washington came to his attention, he took it. Later that summer, he discovered the rugged beauty of Colville National Forest and a newfound love for trail work while working with the Association’s long time crew leader, Forest Reeves.
This summer, Kam has led PNTA Trail Crews that have logged out hundreds of trees, working with at-risk students from the US Job Corps program and leading volunteers on trail work parties on the Pacific Northwest Trail system.
“Our office is always great no matter the weather and it’s nice to look back and see what you’ve accomplished. Even if some people don’t understand what it takes to keep a trail open, they will appreciate the trail and the fruits of your labor,” said Kam.
When not clearing trails, Kam likes to be outside tromping through the woods, kayaking, and climbing. On weekends you might spot him and his girlfriend practicing acroyoga on a beach near Sandpoint or practicing juggling and poi fire spinning.
Meet Sidney Scarlett, assistant trail crew leader for our Eastern Washington Volunteer Crew! The Association is thrilled to have Sidney join our team for the 2020 season!
A Macalester College sophomore, Sidney is working towards a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies with an emphasis in biology. She spends her spare time serving as a co-chair for the school’s Outing Club, and is responsible for planning and leading expeditions for student groups all around the Midwest.
Currently based in Spokane, Sidney has spent three seasons tending trails in the Pacific Northwest as a Northwest Youth Corps Conservation Corps Crew Member. Yet, Sidney brings more than strong trail and leadership skills to our team. She has developed a deep passion for our National Trails System through first-hand experience hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. On the PCT, and as an NYC crew member, she observed how well-maintained trails can both improve a trail user’s experience and have wide-ranging positive impacts on surrounding communities.
This summer, Sidney hopes to empower PNTA volunteers to help maintain the Pacific Northwest Trail system on the Colville National Forest. Together with volunteer trail crew leader, Kameron Walton, she will help to motivate and train volunteers to have fun and work safely, even during the pandemic. All PNTA crew leaders have received training in our Covid-19 Field Protocol, and volunteer opportunities with PNTA are available only in Phase 3-approved counties in Washington.
“My experience on trail crews has given me a deep insight into how this work can boost your self-confidence, establish leadership skills, and one’s desire to love and protect wild places and I look forward to sharing those experiences with passionate volunteers,” said Sidney.
When not tending trails, Sidney spends her time knitting, backpacking, cuddling with her dogs, and road tripping her way through the states — she’s made it to 49 of them so far!
Meet Austin Henderson, our Eastern Pasayten crew leader. Austin brings strong trail stewardship and outdoor education skills to our backcountry trail crews!
Austin found his passion for our scenic public lands while working on habitat restoration and backcountry trail building projects with the Southwest Conservation Corps and Nevada Conservation Corps.
While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Iowa, Austin honed his outdoor leadership skills as an outdoor program instructor. He supervised the University’s Climbing Wall, served as the school’s Outdoor Trip Coordinator, and found deep satisfaction in supporting his students and peers as they learned new outdoor skills.
“This summer, I look forward to exploring the PNT with my crew and providing them with tangible experiences that will inspire them to become more effective environmental stewards,” said Austin. “I most enjoy knowing that our work will help others access backcountry areas.”
Working in the Pasayten Wilderness, Austin and his crew will spend the summer clearing downed trees from the Pacific Northwest Trail and restoring the tread from damage caused by wildfires in the remote and rugged wilderness.
When not clearing trails, Austin enjoys climbing, kayaking, and skiing.
Meet Stuart Perera, our Eastern Pasayten assistant trail crew leader! Stuart comes to the Association with considerable experience tending trails in our National Parks. This season, Stuart’s outdoor leadership skills will benefit our trail crew based in the remote Pasayten Wilderness portion of the Pacific Northwest Trail.
Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Stuart has worked on backcountry trail crews across the Western States. His trail stewardship experience includes over eight years of service at Yellowstone, Redwood and Crater Lake National Parks, as well as Petroglyph and Bandelier National Monuments.
It takes a lot of work to prepare our public lands for visitors. From basic maintenance tasks to specialized construction projects, Stuart has contributed to that effort in many different ways. In Yellowstone National Park, with the assistance of helicopters, he helped build bridges across geyser fields capable of holding horses and pack stock!
These experiences have helped Stuart develop a deep appreciation for the importance that natural resource management plays in the maintenance and protection of our National Parks, and our National Trails System.
Beyond sharing technical skills, he also hopes to inspire his crewmates to pursue careers in environmental stewardship, and to better appreciate how regulations help protect the special character of designated wilderness areas along the PNT.
“I am inspired by the way that the Pacific Northwest Trail Association is continuing the development and maintenance of the PNT and working to keep it open for visitors from around the world to enjoy. I want to be a part of maintaining the legacy for future hikers to enjoy the serenity that the Pacific Northwest Trail provides.” said Stuart.
When not clearing trails, Stuart can be found backpacking in remote wilderness areas with his camera, capturing the beauty of the landscape.
Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Meet Kelly O’Neill, our Mt Baker-Snoqualmie trail crew leader! The Association is thrilled to have Kelly join us for our 2020 season where her considerable outdoor leadership skills will serve her Western Washington-based crew well.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Baylor University, Kelly joined her first trail crew in Colorado. The experience inspired nearly a decade of service across six states. She has supervised youth crews for the Utah Conservation Corps and coordinated trail stewardship programs as the Lead Wilderness Steward for the Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, in Idaho. Most recently, she served as the Program Coordinator for the Arizona Conservation Corps, based in Flagstaff.
This season, Kelly is looking forward to reconnecting to the work she loves and spending time teaching trail stewardship skills to the next generation of outdoor leaders.
Her crew will spend the summer helping to restore the PNT among the old-growth forests, spectacular mountain meadows and glaciated peaks found in Washington’s North Cascade Range, on one of the most visited National Forests in the country.
Kelly finds trail work rewarding in its own right, but finds deep satisfaction in the relationships forged by the challenging and meaningful experiences shared by the trails community.
“In my mind trails represent freedom, said Kelly. They present the opportunity to experience the glory of our public lands for little to no cost. The more we can create access to these public spaces, the more people will engage with those spaces and be moved to help protect our unique resources!”
When not clearing trails, Kelly likes rock climbing, drawing, playing with her dog.
Meet Nathan Mark, our Mt Baker-Snoqualmie assistant trail crew leader. The Association is deeply fortunate to have Nate return for a second season this year!
In 2019, Nate’s trail crew spent the summer working in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Pasayten Wilderness. Thanks in part to Nate’s strong work ethic and teamwork skills, his crew was able to help restore access to parts of the Pacific Northwest Trail that were damaged by the Holman Fire.
“My experience as a crew member with the PNTA was unlike any other job I had before. I have always found physical outdoor work to be rewarding, but what I got from being on a trail crew was deeper than that,” said Nate.
This season, Nate is excited to return as a PNTA crew leader to help mentor crew members new to trail work, and continue to make trails more accessible and enjoyable to the public.
“So many of my memorable life experiences have taken place on public lands, particularly in the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, that I feel obliged to contribute to their stewardship,” said Nate. “I hope that in some small way, I am enabling others to have positive experiences similar to my own.”
Nate attends Western Washington University, where he majors in Urban Planning and Sustainable Development. When not working as a trail steward or studying, Nate enjoys skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and fishing.
Western Washington Trail Crew
Meet Sean Miller, our Western Washington Crew Leader. The Association is thrilled to welcome Sean back to our team for a second season this year!
Sean is a seasoned crew leader with diverse trail skills and strong leadership experience. He has led trail crews with the Florida Trail Association and several other trail based organizations including: the Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Nevada Conservation Corps, Cumberland State Park, and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.
Last year, Sean and his Tonasket-based crew were tasked with the huge job of clearing the 75-mile-long stretch of the Pacific Northwest Trail across the rugged Pasayten Wilderness. Altogether, they cleared over 460 trees from the trail and repaired a whole lot of tread too! You can read more about their work clearing the Boundary Trail, here.
Sean strives to provide a fun yet challenging environment for his crews and continues to develop new trail skills to pass on to volunteers and the next generation of professional trail builders. Between seasons working with the PNTA, Sean honed his mule packing skills while working on backcountry trail crews in Grand Canyon National Park.
This year, Sean’s crew will travel to worksites across Washington. Together, they’ll work to restore the PNT on the Olympic National Forest, Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and in North Cascades National Park!
“I see the PNT as a necessity for our National Trails System. With the popularity of the two big long-distance trails, I think it’s important to have alternatives for folks. I couldn’t be more excited to contribute to the future of the PNT and to see what it will become.”
When not building trails, Sean enjoys backpacking, disc golfing, and mountain biking.
Meet Ryan Stoyer, our Western Washington Assistant Crew Leader. Ryan brings both strong outdoor leadership skills and a real passion for the National Trails System to our team!
“I’ve given a lot of thought to working for the PNTA during the 54 days I spent hiking eastbound on the Pacific Northwest Trail in 2018. As a thru-hiker, I look forward to being able to give back to a long trail that has provided me with so many invaluable experiences.”
Stoyer has over six thousand miles of trail experience, having walked the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trails from end-to-end. He has also served as a wilderness ranger in North Carolina where he directed youth volunteer groups, wilderness education programs, and maintained trails in the Montreat Wilderness.
As a trail crew leader with PNTA, Ryan looks forward to sharing stories from his hikes with his crewmates to, “demonstrate the significance of their work and to help them understand how trails and trail maintenance can affect our entire trail community.”
When he’s not tending trails, Ryan enjoys backpacking and bike touring. On his last adventure, Ryan and his co-leader, Sean completed a bike tour across Idaho in search of hot springs and adventure.