The Bigfoot Trail Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is working to support the establishment of the 360 mile route through the Klamath Mountains to celebrate the region’s biodiversity. The BFTA fosters a community committed to constructing, maintaining, promoting, and protecting—in perpetuity—the Bigfoot Trail.
Board of Directors
Works as an author, educator, grant writer, and researcher in Humboldt County, California. For the past 5 years, he has written and managed state and federal education grants to enhance the county’s educational systems. Currently he is the director of math and science for the Fortuna Elementary School District, the program manager for Save the Redwoods League in Humboldt County, and a research plant ecologist.
Michael lives in Kneeland, California, with his wife, Allison, his son, Sylas, and dog, Skylar where the family enjoys building forts and trails in their 5-acre redwood forest. He first hiked the BFT in 2009, authored the original write-up in 2010, and co-authored V2.2015. He is the author of three books: Conifer Country, Conifers of the Pacific Slope, and Field Guide to Manzanitas, which explore the natural history of the West and holds a MA in Biology from Humboldt State University (see C.V. and follow his Blog).
email: michael (at) bigfoottrail.org
Walked his way through some of the most stunning regions on Earth — from the top of Kilimanjaro to the arid interior of Australia, from the pilgrimage route up Sri Pada in Sri Lanka to the picturesque Cornish coast, from the Himalayas to the Andes — but has found little that compares with the magic of the Klamath Knot. Co-editor of The Pacific Crest Trailside Readers and Crossing Paths (another anthology of PCT stories that will be published in 2022), Rees has also authored a guide to Humboldt County walks, serves as a volunteer trail steward coordinator, and an advocate for the Humboldt Bay Trail.
Rees retired from a career in higher education after more than three decades at Humboldt State University, Seattle University, and the University of Kansas. He has a PhD from the University of Washington.
email: rees (at) bigfoottrail.org
Growing up in Kansas didn’t offer much in the way of wilderness or hiking, but Gretchen was lucky to have parents who took her and her brothers camping every summer in Colorado or the west coast. She left Kansas for good in her 20’s to live briefly in Oregon before landing in Humboldt, where the fabulous public lands and trails have kept her for over 28 years. Her 35-year career was in the zoo profession, and she retired as the Director at Sequoia Park Zoo in 2020. Along the way she has backpacked in the Rockies and Trinity Alps, triked some awesome rail trails with her family, and enjoys day hikes wherever she can find a trail. In 2019, she had one of the best weeks of her life, in the Yolla Bolly wilderness helping with trial maintenance on the Bigfoot Trail.
Gretchen has served at times on various local non-profit boards in Eureka, including the former Humboldt Bay Trails Trust, and currently volunteers for Redwood Coast Village and the Eureka Sequoia Garden Club, helping coordinate efforts to maintain and enhance native landscaping at the zoo.
email: gretchen (at) bigfoottrail.org
Grew up in the coast range of Northwest Oregon and learned to backpack with his parents at a young age. He fell in love with the various landscapes and enjoyed exploring in the diverse wilderness. He earned a BS in Business/Marketing from Oregon Tech while fighting fires throughout the western US and eventually started a small business reducing fuel loads around communities in Redding, CA. After some time he moved back to SW Oregon and helped build the operations side of a non-profit trail organization in SW Oregon called the Siskiyou Mountain Club. Aaron helped find the path to incorporate a paid staff, intern crews, and volunteer trips in order to restore some of the most neglected trails.
Currently, Aaron is the County Coordinator for the Del Norte Fire Safe Council. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Donna, and his two dogs, Siskiyou and Mackenzie, whitewater rafting, and hiking the many wilderness areas in SW Oregon and NW California.
email: aaron (at) bigfoottrail.org
Spent his formative years connecting with nature in the marshes and waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Yet, he was always drawn to the mountains. While earning a degree in Forestry and Wildlife from Virginia Tech, he spent many a weekend exploring the mountains of Southern Appalachia. After graduating, Ian worked as an environmental educator on the Chesapeake Bay before making his way west to teach environmental education in California. That is where Ian met his wife Amy, who shared a passion for being outside and getting to know the wild lands. Eventually, Ian and Amy were married and settled in Southern Oregon where Ian has been the Pacific Crest Trail Association’s Regional Representative for Northern California and Southern Oregon for the past 10 years.
email: ian (at) bigfoottrail.org
Loves walking in wild places & is drawn to unfinished, rugged routes in hidden corners of the west. Since discovering thru-hiking on the Grand Enchantment Trail in 2008, she has completed the triple crown of thru-hikes (PCT, CDT, AT), as well as a handful of shorter, less traveled routes, including the Oregon Desert Trail & her own trail, the Japhy Ryder Route. When she heard of the Bigfoot Trail it seemed like a good fit, & in July 2014 thru-hiked it north bound.
Growing up in Mendocino County (Willits), Sage knew the north western corner of California was something special and unique. She left Mendocino County for college at UC Santa Cruz. After College she instructed backpacking courses for Outward Bound in Montana, Texas, & the Sierras for the better part of a decade. In 2008 she started working as a Desert Tortoise biologist in the Mojave Desert, spending spring & fall with tortoises, & thru-hiking during her off seasons. In 2011 Sage met her partner, Adam Drummer, & moved from the back of her truck into a house in Bend. The couple migrates to the Mojave for work every spring and fall, swinging by Bigfoot country when they can.
email: sage (at) bigfoottrail.org
Has a passion for all things trails, forests and community. Since moving to the northwest in 2004, her favorite places to roam have been the less-traveled forests and streams of the Klamath Mountains and Oregon Coast Range.
Emily works as the Environmental Services Director for the city of Arcata and oversees Arcata’s Environmental Services Department which encompasses the City’s parks, natural resources, facilities, recreation, streets, utilities, water and wastewater divisions. In the past she worked with the non-profit Redwood Community Action Agency, collaborating to further active transportation and community-led change in Humboldt County. She leads many Safe Routes to School, trail and community-building projects and co-founded the Community Bike Kitchen in Eureka. Since 2011, Emily has co-hosted a weekly trails radio show “Happy Trails” on KHUM in Humboldt County, focusing on local efforts to a complete a regional trail system and sharing successes from other communities.
Emily can often be found cycling the roads and trails Humboldt County, do-si-do-ing at a barn dance or organizing a local event or meeting. She lives in lovely, funky Eureka in a great old house with her partner Dan and cat Snowball.
email: emily (at) bigfoottrail.org
Is a 5th generation Trinity County resident and started backpacking with his parents and grandparents in the Trinity Alps Wilderness (then Primitive Area) when he was 5 years old. Over the next 13 years his family and many others advocated for the beloved Alps to be protected through the Wilderness designation that they eventually received in 1984. Fast forward a few years (20) and, after a stint on the Trinity County Board of Supervisors from 2005-2009, Jeff has developed a career as a communications and management consultant through his small firm, Stream Crossing LLC.
Recent projects include his work with the team that helped Congressman Jared Huffman develop the Northern California Conservation and Recreation Act. This piece of draft federal public lands legislation includes designating The Bigfoot Trail as a National Recreation Trail.
Jeff continues to explore trails across the Northwest California region, plays trumpet and piano with a number of musical groups and divides his time between Trinity County and Ocean Beach, CA.
email: jeff (at) bigfoottrail.org
First backpacked while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal, where she designed and built footbridges on rural mule trails. She began exploring local wild lands soon after moving to Humboldt for grad school, and her love for the area grew during many years with the Six Rivers National Forest. Laura and her husband Bob, a fellow Nepal volunteer and English teacher, ran the Eureka High School backpack club for 25 years and introduced hundreds of students to our local wilderness areas; those experiences inspired a number of club members to pursue careers in environmental education, conservation, and natural resource management.
Laura currently works in international disaster management and humanitarian assistance. Although she’s traveled to spectacular places while on assignments, she always feels lucky to return home to the rugged beauty and diversity of our region.
email: laura (at) bigfoottrail.org
Has spent the past 37 years working in the natural resource field throughout California. Searching for that elusive permanent job in natural resources led to working over 12 seasons on the Inyo, Klamath and Six Rivers National Forests as well as Prairie Creek State Park. A 23-year career with the City of Arcata proved to be the “ultimate permanent trail job with benefits” and allowed for laying out and constructing trails in the Arcata Community Forest as well as forest road maintenance and wetland restoration projects. Currently serving as a trail consultant for the County of Humboldt’s McKay Community Forest, Dennis enjoys passing on all this accumulated knowledge in training California Conservation Corp members and volunteers in building and maintaining sustainable trails.
When not working, Dennis and his wife Liz enjoy camping, going to the river, lap swimming and converting their yard in Eureka from lawn to a food and native plant garden. Their two adult children, Olivia and Will, have pursued interests in art and trail work. Dennis has discovered a passion in “found object” sculpture and figures he now enjoys “walking off-trail even more than walking on-trail”.
email: dennis (at) bigfoottrail.org
Jacob grew up hiking and camping with his brothers in New Hampshire, which lead to a his passion for observing & exploring the natural world. As a young adult he was fortunate to visit the Pacific Northwest. Traveled through the cascade, by Mt. Shasta through the Klamath Mountains onto the redwood coast. He thought one would be hard pressed to find such a beautiful place anywhere. Shortly after he settled in Humboldt and began exploring every chance he could. He found that the mindlessness of hiking on a well built and maintained trail was invaluable in the vast and rugged Klamath Knot. With that appreciation, he began volunteering on trail crews to ensure the legacy of these wonderful & Historic trails. He has volunteered on trail crews on the PCT, Headwaters Elk River Reserve, as well as the Bigfoot Trail.
Trying to make sense of the variability & diversity scene in the Klamath region he found edutainment in the superb publications through the Backcountry Press only to find the Bigfoot Trail Alliance. Jacob currently works doing Integrated Pest Management for a Nursery in Fortuna California. Enjoys learning traditional holistic uses of natural plants, studying history and folklore, woodworking and playing music when not out exploring.
email: jacob (at) bigfoottrail.org
Thanks to previous board members:
- Terri Vroman-Little
- Jason Barnes
- Chris Turner
- Mitch Timbanard