Region: Eastern Washington
The PNTA’s SKY Performance Crew program provides young adults, 16 – 18 years of age, with a unique opportunity to learn and apply trail construction and maintenance skills. By working as stewards of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail and other trails in Eastern Washington, these young men and women serve their communities and our public lands, by providing outstanding recreation opportunities for visitors to the area.
All SKY Performance Crew Members are fully compensated and trained to perform at a professional level, by constructing and maintaining trails to U.S. Forest Service Standards. Led by Sky Performance Crew Leaders, Kristin and Bodhi Ackerman, crew members are provided with valuable training in: first aid/ CPR, safe food handling, tool maintenance and safety, trail-building and maintenance techniques, wilderness stewardship, Leave-No-Trace Ethics, and backcountry living.
The 8 – 10 week season spans the summer for the local, high school-age crew. Many projects require backcountry camping in remote spike camps and long, labor-intensive work days. Depending on the size of the project and its location, crews may work either a 40-hour work week (5-days on, 2-days off) or more often, an 80-hour week (10-days on, 4-days off).
The Ackermans have co-lead PNTA trail crews for over six seasons, training local young adults, 16 – 18 years of age, to perform at a professional level, by constructing and maintaining trails to U.S. Forest Service Standards.
Kristin Ackerman co-leads SKY Performance Crews in the Okanogan. Her pre-trails background includes communication, customer service, and business administration—and you’d be surprised to learn how much she leverages those skills as a crew leader! Although her family camped every summer, a childhood in the burbs did not satisfy her innate craving for nature. While studying at Cal Poly, she relished wandering the canyons, hills and shorelines of San Luis Obispo. In 2004—for her first-ever backpacking trip— Kristin hiked 100 miles of the PCT in the High Sierras. Since then, she is thrilled to discover that leading PNTA SKY Crews is the perfect way (for her) to become profoundly engaged with a specific place in the wilderness, while quieting the mind and exercising the body. To boot, she has discovered a passion for sharing this experience with youth crews, and nourishing them as camp cook.
Bodhi Ackerman serendipitously stumbled into trail stewardship in 2012, when the PNTA hired him to lead SKY Performance Crews in North Central Washington. His pre-trail experiences include firefighting, landscaping, construction, food service, ski-lift ops, lifeguard and camp counselor. He has always been an outdoorsman: skiing, camping, and Boy Scout adventures were the norm in his youth; then, as a young man— following in his grandparents’ footsteps— he roamed the backcountry of the High Sierras. Since then, he has rooted himself in a “forever home” in the Okanogan, and is grateful to hang his hat with the PNTA, where he can pursue excellence in trail construction, and share his passion for the outdoors and honest, hard work with the next generation of stewards.
Support the SKY Performance Trail Crew
Funding for this program comes from grants and work contracts. Donations made to the PNTA, earmarked for the SKY Performance Trail Crew, are greatly appreciated. To learn more about trail crews in the Eastern Washington Region, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit the PNTA Okanogan Facebook page.