Board of Directors

Pacific Northwest Trail Association Board Members work hard to provide mission-based leadership and strategic governance for the PNTA.  Board members are involved with fundraising, outreach, strategic planning and programmatic oversight. For more information on board duties or to express interest in joining, contact us using the form below.

Contact our Board
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Charley Carpenter, PNTA Board Presiden

Charley Carpenter
Joined in 2014
Missoula, MT

Charley Carpenter is a lawyer practicing out of Missoula, MT and is also licensed in Montana, Idaho, Maryland and Washington D.C.  He works mostly with government contractors, but has also worked on natural resource issues, including water rights, in his 20+ years of practice.  In his free time, Charley can be found hiking, mountain biking, skiing and snowshoeing.

PNTA Board Member Melanie Simmerman

Melanie Simmerman
Vice President
Joined in 2018
Belgrade, MT

For over thirty years, Melanie worked as a non-profit administrator and fundraising professional for a variety of performing arts and environmental organizations mostly in New York City. More recently, Melanie certified as a personal trainer/fitness instructor. Melanie is an avid outdoor adventure enthusiast and is an accomplished long-distance hiker (Triple Crowner) and outdoor leader. She completed the Pacific Northwest Trail over four summers (2012-15). Since 2012, she has authored the Pacific Northwest Trail Town Guide.

Melanie seeks to give back to the trail, and trail community, through service on the PNTA board. She aims to help create a strong organization that can lead the development of the Pacific Northwest Trail and preserve and protect it for the enjoyment of future generations of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Margaret Hartzell

Margaret Hartzell
Joined in 2017
Okanogan, WA

Margaret Hartzell joined the PNTA Board because such trails conserve wild places and get people into nature.  She worked for Federal land management agencies for 32 years as a Park Ranger and with the Forest Service managing teams of wildlife biologists, fish biologists, soil scientists, social scientists, botanists, foresters, and recreation specialists on projects large and small. Now retired, she continues her interest in natural resources and the outdoors by volunteering with local trail groups, a land trust, and the PNTA.

Stephen Simburg, PNTA Board Member

Stephen Simburg
Joined in 2020
Seattle, WA

Stephen Simburg is a product manager and marketer from Seattle, WA. He holds an MBA from the University of Washington. A lifelong outdoor enthusiast, on the weekends Stephen can be found hiking, camping and kayaking. He is interested in promoting access to trails and preserving the cultural heritage of the Pacific Northwest.

Vince O'Connel

Vince O’Connell
Joined in 2015
Metaline Falls, WA

Vince O’Connell is a part time Metaline Falls, WA resident, film maker and serial entrepreneur. He is interested in using his organizational skills and business experience to increase trail awareness and to help make the Pacific Northwest Trail a productive recreational and economic asset for the communities through which it passes. When not mountain biking, hiking, or cross country skiing, he can be found working on his next film with his wife, and fellow board member Kathy Swanson.

Kathy Swanson

Kathy Swanson
Joined in 2015
Metaline Falls, WA

Kathy Swanson is an engaged part time resident of Metaline Falls, Washington with a BA in Natural Resource Management and an MA in marketing and advertising design who is pursuing an MFA in Film at Ohio University. As a healthy avid hiker, cyclist and Nordic skier, filmmaker, former US Forest Service employee, and business owner, one of the things she would like to focus her skills on is promoting ‘Trail Towns’ along the PNT.

PNTA Board Member Aya Tsuruta

Aya Tsuruta
Joined in 2021
Seattle, WA

Aya comes to the board with a deep love of trails. She’s hiked long stretches of beautiful land in the Northwest, Northeast, and Southwest and maintained trails in Southern Utah as part of a conservation corps. As a northwest native, she’s eager to give back to our beautiful home that gives us so much, and is particularly passionate about advancing accessibility and inclusivity in the outdoors for marginalized groups. Aya holds a BA in Economics from Boston College and is currently the marketing manager at a non-profit in Seattle.

Bob Woods, PNTA Board VP

Bob Woods
Joined in 2016
Issaquah, WA

Bob has spent more than two decades working for nonprofit and government organizations promoting conservation, recreation, and volunteerism with a focus on trails.  He has worked for the Pacific Crest Trail Association, the Continental Divide Trail Alliance, and the Florida Trail Association.  He recently completed a master degree in Leadership and Management and is also a Leave No Trace master educator.  In 2008, he received a US Forest Service Honors Award for creating new volunteer leadership programs.  When he’s not out hiking with his family, Bob enjoys painting, paddling, and just being outside.