Trail Steward Hall of Fame

About the Trail Steward Hall of Fame:

2021 was the inaugural year of the Trail Stewards Hall of Fame.  Inductees provide countless volunteer hours advocating, educating, building, and maintaining trails in Eagle County.  Please join us in recognizing and thanking these incredible individuals that make our community a better place to live and recreate!

2021 Inductees:

Lee Rimel

Lee can be referred to as the “Godfather” of our trails in Eagle County.  He has volunteered his time for decades advocating for and building trails in our community.  If there is a trail, public lands, or recreation related proposal in the works you better believe that Lee is rallying the community to get involved and provide input to improve our trails, public lands access, and conservation values.  He is constantly advocating for our trails with local leadership and land managers.

Lee is Board Emeritus of the VVMTA and you can read his full bio here.

Jamie Malin

Jamie is a co-founder of the VVMTA (former Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association).  Before the VVMTA, he was one of many often stating, “they should build this” or “they should fix that.”  Once he realized that “they” is actually “we”, the trail users, he took action and ownership and formed the VVMTA.  He put his money where his mouth is and helped build a small group of 3-5 individuals building and maintaining trails in 2011 to over 1,000 volunteers annually working on our trails 10 years later.

Jamie continues to serve as President of the VVMTA Board of Directors as well as a mentor to staff.  To read Jamie’s full bio visit our website here.

Casey Wyse

It’d be hard to find another individual who has put more time and labor into our trails than Casey has.  Year after year he puts in 100+ volunteer hours on the trail digging by hand and on the mini-excavator.  He uses his vacation time from his full-time job to build trails like Everkrisp and the Minturn Bike Park uphill trail.  What many don’t see is the behind the scenes work Casey does as Treasury on the VVMTA Board of Directors.

Ever wonder where those sweet trail signs in the West Avon Preserve come from?  Built right in Wildridge in Casey’s garage, on his own time and own costs.  To read Casey’s bio please visit our website here.

Adam Palmer

Adam was a co-founder of the Hardscrabble Trails Coalition (HTC).  He was often referred to as “El Presidente” because he was the President of the HTC for many years but mainly just because of who he was as a great human being and leader.  Adam played a large role in turning Eagle’s singletrack trail system into the experience it is for our community.  As many know, he did things Adam’s Way, hence the new trail that opened in 2021 dedicated in his name, culture, and style.  He was a visionary that made big picture ideas come to reality, both in the trails world and in our community.  

Adam tragically passed away in a backcountry avalanche accident in 2021 along with two other amazing individuals.  To read more about Adam, this pretty much sums it up.

2022 Inductees:

Mark Luzar

Mark, aka “Director of Dirt”, is one of the original VVMTA members and trail crew leaders.  He has regularly been a part of trail work projects for the past 10 years.  In 2022 alone, he contributed over 160 hours of volunteer time on the trail.  Two of the bigger recent trail projects that Mark contributed significant time to, are building Everkrisp and Belly Up. He is stoked to see the growth of the local trail systems and thanks all of those who have participated with time and/or scratch (donation). Mark will be out there every season sustaining current, building new, and reclaiming old unsustainable trails: so get out there and have some fun with him!

Mark is a board member of the VVMTA and you can read his full bio here.

Michelle Wolffe

Michelle has had an incredible impact on our trails.  She was on the VVMTA board for years before she took on the role as our first Adopt A Trail Coordinator in 2017.  She spent 5 years running, building, and growing our AAT program into the incredible success it is today.  Additionally, she led the creation and execution of our Wildlife Trail Ambassador program.  Her leadership undoubtedly has led to thousands of trails and public lands stewards in our community.

We can’t thank her enough for the incredible work and dedication she put into growing these programs into the successes they are today!

Tim O’Donnell

Tim is a true trail ninja.  You may not realize it but he is at every VVMTA Volunteer Trail Crew event, contributing countless volunteer hours to our trails.  He has been riding and using trails in our valley for over 30 years and is a true pioneer of many of our trail systems.  You will more than likely find him in tow with a rock bar (pictured here) or rock net.  Thank you Tim for all you have done for our trails!

Volunteer of the Year

2021

Ellen Miller

Ellen Miller put in over 50 hours of volunteer time in 2021.  She is a rockstar volunteer trail steward just as much as she is a rockstar legend of a mountaineer.  She deeply values and protects our wilderness, trails, and wildlife.  There’s a good chance you can find her at the Son of Middle Creek trailhead in the Spring educating trail users on the why and importance of seasonal wildlife closures and Leave No Trace Principles.

In 2021, Ellen enthusiastically volunteered her time to lead hikes on East Vail wilderness trails.  She educated attendees about the value of wilderness, connection to nature and trail etiquette all while filling up garbage bags of trash left behind by uninformed or ignorant trail users.  Surprise surprise, every hike was at full capacity and she is already looking forward to leading more in 2021.  Thank you Ellen!

2022

Hailee Rustad

Hailee is the creator and leader of the VVMTA Ladies Trail Crew.  In 2022, Hailee put in over 97 hours with the Ladies Trail Crew, VVMTA Volunteer Trail Crew, and with our Soul Dirt program.  The Ladies Trail Crew put in a combined 453 hours of trail work in 2022 thanks to her recruitment, engagement, and fun!

Our 2021 Volunteer of the Year, Ellen Miller,  had this to say about Hailee:

“Hailee has created something positive and unique, and she draws a nice number of participants to each session. I had the opportunity to speak with many women who would not ordinarily volunteer to do trail work if it wasn’t for this opportunity. Hailee pours her heart and soul into each event, making it not only a trail work session, but also a delightful Culinary experience!” and “She has mastered the art of being fun and easy going while being strong and inspiring. She is changing lives out on the trails.”

Jim Yurcak

Jim contributed over 40 hours of volunteer trail maintenance in 2022.  He does not miss many Wednesday night VVMTA Volunteer Trail Crew or Tuesday night HTC Volunteer Trail Crew events.  In 2022, he volunteered at 7 different trail projects including the Minturn Bike Park, Game Creek, Mill Creek, Boneyard, Turniphead, Extra Credit, and Charlie Brown.  Thank you for all of your great trail work Jim!

 

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