PNTA Staff

Our small but dedicated team is made up of a diverse body of advocates working to protect and share the wonders of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. Our office staff members actively volunteer in outreach events, as trail stewards, and participate in the long-term planning for the future of the trail corridor.

Contact the Pacific Northwest Trail Association here.

Jeff Kish - Executive Director

Jeff Kish
Executive Director

Jeff’s passion for the National Trail System was hewn over many thousands of miles on the ground; including completed thru-hikes of both the Pacific Northwest Trail and Pacific Crest Trail.  As a outdoor industry journalist, he brought the story of the PNT to an international audience in 2014, and then went on to tour the Northwest with a multimedia presentation about his experiences the following year.  In 2015, he was appointed to the Department of Agriculture’s Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Advisory Council (PNNSTAC), where he continues to assist in the development of the Trail’s comprehensive plan.  Prior to joining the team at the PNTA, he was involved with the organization as both a member and volunteer.  In addition to his work with the PNTA and PNNSTAC, Jeff also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Long Distance Hiking Association – West.  Jeff has served as Executive Director of the Pacific Northwest Trail Association since 2016.

Kristin Ackerman - Regional Coordinator

Kristin Ackerman
Eastern Washington Regional Coordinator

Kristin was born and raised in California’s Central Valley, where the Sierra Nevada mountains were her family’s go-to retreat, and she ran wild through the woods with a pack of cousins, and swam in lakes with aunts and uncles. And no summer vacation was complete without a Griswold-style road trip to national parks. The summer after she graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (with a B.A. English Literature), Kristin embarked on her first backpacking adventure — an intensely educational 100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. She did not catch long-distance fever.

Before becoming Regional Coordinator, Kristin led youth trail crews with the Pacific Northwest Trail Association for seven seasons. What she has loved most about her work so far, has been witnessing young people blossom during a summer spent living and working outdoors.

If Kristin was wearing a slogan t-shirt it might read: “I’d rather be gardening.” In her freest of free time she likes to rise naturally, read at the breakfast table (long after she’s finished breakfast), and futz around the homestead.

Sterling Collins-Hill
Western Washington Regional Coordinator

Sterling grew up in the forests and lakes of Maine with outdoor and conservation ethics instilled in him from a young age. His first job was with his local conservation corps where he learned the power of teamwork and developed a passion for getting dirty.

He graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a degree in Art and English Literature and then moved out west where he taught elementary school for several years before transitioning into a career in natural resource management.

Sterling has held leadership positions with the Northwest Youth Corps, the Student Conservation Association, the Alaska Service Corps, Alaska State Parks and the US Forest Service. In 2012 he thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. He is honored to be able to give back to the resources that have shaped who he is today and be involved with the National Trails System.

Eric Wollborg - Communications Mgr

Eric Wollborg
Communications Manager

After thru-hiking the PNT end-to-end in 2016, Eric developed a special passion for the Pacific Northwest Trail. He saw the untapped potential for the PNT to satisfy the need for wilderness in the next generation of hikers and the need to permanently protect the trail corridor. With a special passion for human-powered adventure — forged over 7,000 miles of long-distance backpacking — Eric is honored to give back to the National Trails System by serving the Pacific Northwest Trail Association.

A jack of all trades, Eric has designed award-winning products, led marketing teams and practiced and taught the art of Graphic Design. In the outdoor industry, Eric has connected with thousands of outdoor enthusiasts and helped to outfit them for a wide variety of adventures.

Laurel Downing - Office Manager

Laurel Downing
Office Manager

Laurel Downing, a native of Washington, was born in Tonasket and was lucky to grow up in a family that enjoyed the outdoors (camping, hiking, skiing, etc.).  She was raised in a scouting community, with a grandfather and uncle in the Forest Service. Thanks to her upbringing, she learned to respect and love nature and its diversity. A graduate from Skagit Valley College with technical degrees in Science and Database Program Management, Laurel spent 20 years working as a bookkeeper in the retail industry. In the Pacific Northwest Trail Association, Laurel has found an organization that shares a similar respect for the natural world.