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Volunteers of the Year 2022

Volunteers of the Year 2022

21 | Dec | '22
Liz Lunderman

Evergreen is #RiderPowered. And every year that means hundreds of volunteers are out in the woods helping build and maintain trails across Washington State, spending time in meetings and advocating for great trails, and teaching riders new skills. The dedication of these folks are the foundation of our organization, the stewards of our extensive trail systems, and the glue that bonds our community together.

Evergreen Volunteer Program Manager, Brandon Lester celebrates their hard work, “A huge shoutout to everyone who has volunteered with Evergreen over the past year, whether it was the first time or thousandth time. Evergreen would not exist without you!” Every single one of our volunteers makes Washington state an amazing mountain bike community to be a part of. 

Take a look at what our volunteers have accomplished this year:

  • 23,750 volunteer hours of trail work.

  • 408 days of trail work, with multiple events across the state at any given time!

  • 320 + miles of trail maintained.

  • 3843 volunteers who gave sweat, blood, energy and time to our trails.

There are so many of you to thank, but a few who stand out for their exceptional efforts and generosity of time.The following volunteers have been selected as a Volunteer of the Year by Evergreen’s chapter and statewide boards, staff, and other volunteers. Each of these folks will receive a patch of honor to wear on their packs. If you see it, be sure to say hello and thanks!

We’re proud to introduce you to Evergreen’s 2022 Volunteers of the Year!


Rob Buck


rob buck

Chapter: Cascades to Sound (Pierce County)

Volunteer Focus: Board

Testimonial: Rob took the initiative to start a Pierce County group/subchapter to help organize riders in Pierce County and expand EMBA's reach in the south sound. He has partnered with Pierce County Parks, Metro Parks, Forevergreen Trails, REI, Washington Trails Association, City of Puyallup among many others. He was involved in helping make Tehaleh a reality and having trailwork begin in the Bonney Lake area. Rob works closely with trailbuilders to make sure they get the support they need and does trail work himself any chance he gets! He is also a representative on the Pierce County Parks Citizens advisory board and treasurer of Forevergreen Trails, representing the mountain bike interests to both organizations. He spends a lot of the time just creating interest and getting help to promote trails in Pierce County.


Chris Lynch


chris lynch

Chapter: Cascades to Sound

Volunteer Focus: Maintaining trails

Testimonial: Chris and his team of badass trail maintainers are a great example of what we need in our world, not just for us mountain bikers, but all of us people in general. They have taken their weekends, over the building seasons, and have spent at least one day almost every weekend to maintain and rebuild established trails here in the I90 corridor. No matter what, including bad weather, no other volunteers, other things they might rather be doing… they are still out there making this world a better place for us. He and his whole team should be recognized any chance there is to do so!


Dirt Wizards Trail Crew


Chapter: Cascades to Sound

Volunteer Focus: Trails

Testimonial: Maintaining and restoring trails isn’t always at the top of the list for people, but it doesn’t get done without volunteers! Chris might setup a lot of work parties, but not much would get accomplished without these dedicated folks who each volunteer hundreds of hours a year to help make it happen! They have worked at Tiger, Raging, Tapeworm, Duthie, BDOS, Olaille and Snoqualmie Pass, just to name a few.

Nate Tade: an Iowa native who moved out here 10 years ago, Nate became involved with EMBA and has been a major contributor and leader on many of the projects we have been involved in.

Aaron Royce: After joining us on a night ride over 10 years ago, Aaron quickly became part of the crew and is always willing to get involved in all our projects. Fun Fact: Aaron was on the cover of Mountain Bike Action in 1994!

Jack Faille: Jack has been a dedicated volunteer for over 12 years and a key member of the crew. If you see a giant Malamute (Betty) out on the trail you know Jack is nearby!

Evan Pierce: Evan is one of the OG crew members who has not only worked on hundreds of projects with us, but has also taken over managing/maintaining the Japanese Gulch area!

Mike Berry: A riding buddy since 2001 that has been helping since the beginning. Things would be a lot different if he hadn’t hassled us to get into mountain biking!

Eric and Isaac Jennings: The father and son duo of Eric and Isaac has been at nearly every work party for the past 3 years. They went from volunteers just looking to help to key members skilled enough to lead others on projects! Their dedication is much appreciated!

Thomas Uphill: Another volunteer who kept coming back and has been a big contributor to the crew for the past 3+ years! His positive energy is always welcome.

Bob Carrasca: As a certified sawyer Bob has been instrumental in keeping our projects clear, and he’s not bad with a shovel either! We all love the passion and enthusiasm he always brings to the trail.

A big thanks goes out to these folks, along with all the other volunteers that have joined us over the years!


Xuân Mai Vo



Chapter: Cascades to Sound

Volunteer Focus: Sawyer

Testimonial: Xuân Mai has been a rockstar at work parties and helping with the development of our chainsaw program. She provided the content and helped to design our saw program page on the Evergreen Website this year! She is a community builder and ensures everyone feels welcomed on the trails. Xuân Mai is a veterinarian, and in addition to trail work she’s given her time and expertise to keeping the dogs of Evergreen healthy, even administering some impromptu first aid to trail builder’s dogs!


Denise Schwend


deni schwend

Chapter: Cascades to Sound

Volunteer Focus: Board

Testimonial: Deni is just an overall rockstar: events, volunteer, booth extraordinary! Deni epitomizes Evergreen: accepting, inclusive, stoke-spreading, diplomatic and a good listener and she is omnipresent in all of evergreen, be it organization, rides, trails, events, ideas and much more. She both paves the way for and cleans up after our community. Many assumed she was the president of Evergreen, and then someone mentioned she was "just" a volunteer. Deni is the ultimate super volunteer!

“Standing in the Tiger lot, I realized I had forgotten my gloves. Deni comes riding out of lower Predator and hands me her gloves after giving me a hug. She would've given me her shirt if I'd forgotten that. That's Deni, she's always got something to give, a pair of gloves, ideas, a hug, or encouragement.” - Anonymous 


Ken Bonn


ken bonn

Chapter: Cascades to Sound

Volunteer Focus: Trails

Testimonial: Ken has really devoted himself to trails throughout the Snoqualmie Valley. This year he has done a ton of brush clearing and trash pick up at the Harris Lake/Hansen Ridge trail, Raging, and Olallie. The Hansen/Harris trails don't get much attention, and Ken's work has kept them open and in great shape. He heads out solo and really gets it done, like he has been for years. While doing trash pickup, finds have included a 141-pound Land Rover wheel which he rolled 1.1 miles out on a trail, hundreds of pounds of waste ammo casings, and even a cat that he rescued.


Kate Bonnett



Chapter: Central

Volunteer Focus: Education

Testimonial: Kate is THE reason that Central's education program has been so successful. She has an incredible way of connecting people and getting organizations and people involved in the education program. Kate has done it all: recruiting and supporting a rockstar volunteer instructor team, developing Intro to MTB programs with schools and community groups, engaging the latinx community in Wenatchee, and finding funds to build out a bike fleet… She has been an incredible asset to the entire education program!!

Sadly she'll be stepping down after 5+ years of work but everyone is excited to continue building on what they've learned from her and keep the great momentum going! We wish Kate the best of luck in her next MTB chapter.


Courtney Feeney



Chapter: Central

Volunteer Focus: Education

Testimonial: Since 2018, Courtney has been a vital piece to the success of the Central Education program. She has taken the lead at the Ski Hill location in Leavenworth and continues to build confidence in riders while making sure they have fun! Courtney has put a lot of heart into the program and the students, both teaching new students and new instructors for over 4 seasons. Courtney's email signature exemplifies her approach to MTB education "Trust yourself and you can achieve anything" - Lisa Simpson. At the end of the day Courtney is a bad A!


Porter Lumpkins



Chapter: Central

Volunteer Focus: Trails and Board

Testimonial: Porter was instrumental in us achieving our volunteer contribution hours this year by hosting weekly Wednesday Night work parties at Number 2 Canyon focusing on trail maintenance. Without Porter's commitment of personal time and energy, we would have fallen short of our goals. Porter is an amazing all around outdoor enthusiast. From trail running, backpacking, hiking, to mountain biking, he does it all. Porter and his wife both spend ample time outdoors, and give back to the outdoor community by volunteering their time with several outdoor organizations.


Riley Shewak


riley shehawk

Chapter: Central

Volunteer Focus: Trails and Board

Testimonial: Riley was the other half of our Wednesday Night work parties at Number 2 Canyon along with Porter Lumpkins. Riley and his group worked on the more technical trails, providing maintenance and tune-up to them throughout the summer, making sure all those jumps and berms stayed nice and dialed throughout the dry months. He packed tools and water up each week to make sure maintenance could be done to Prepare to Die, and other trails. Riley's dedication to Evergreen is seen by his commitment to tough it out no matter what!


Tony Hickok


tony hickok

Chapter: Central

Volunteer Focus: Chapter Leadership

Testimonial: Tony has done an exceptional job this year coordinating efforts, passions and projects within the Central chapter. He's a calm and confident leader who supports his team while keeping an eye on the statewide perspective. If you haven’t ridden with Tony he is a sandbagger on a hardtail!


Julie Snyder


julie snyder

Chapter: West Sound

Volunteer Focus: Education

Testimonial: Julie is the quiet and humble glue of the West Sound education program. Students love her kind and patient teaching style, fellow instructors appreciate being able to learn from her teaching methods and she's such a fun and reliable member of the team! Her smile and energy makes everyone feel welcome and we're so grateful to have her as part of the education program!


Heather deChoudens


volunteers of the year blog

Chapter: West Sound

Volunteer Focus: Education, Trails and Board

Testimonial: Heather started getting involved with Evergreen, first through the education program, not even 3 years ago and she has already made such an impact on our community! She's a fun and high energy instructor who has been a great asset to our classes, particularly the women's programs. She joined the Whole SheBang in 2021 and dove headfirst into trail building work, advocating for Evergreen and other MTB organizations about the importance of giving back to trails, building up so much community along the way. She just ran her own dig day out at Port Gamble, a new series called Dirt & Debauchery, getting 40+ women out building while connecting several local MTB groups to get involved. Her energy for the sport is contagious and we're excited to see where she takes it next!


Matt Orlando


matt orlando

Chapter: West Sound 

Volunteer Focus: Trails and Board

Testimonial: Matt is committed to great trails and not settling for mediocre. He has played a huge role in bringing the amazing progression that we are now all enjoying. Matt is the designer and builder of Cool Runnings, the expert & proline, Steam Donkey and some exciting upcoming projects. He is always there to sling dirt when asked!


Karl Kaiyala and Don Hecker 


karl kaiyala


Chapter: Methow

Volunteer Focus: Trails and Sawyer Work

Testimonial: Karl and Don spent a huge amount of time this summer helping clear Hazard Trees at the Sun Mountain Trail System in the aftermath of the 2021 Cedar Creek Fire. Karl and Don both attended classes to improve their tree felling techniques and put those skills to use in helping EMBA and the USFS mitigate hazard tree risks at Sun Mountain, mainly focusing on the Thompson Ridge Trail. This work made it possible to open the fire affected trails at Sun Mountain much sooner than expected. Without the help of Karl and Don, there is no way these trails would have re-opened to the public in 2022. Thank you for your dedication to the trails Karl and Don!


Alan Petrie


alan petrie

Chapter: East 

Volunteer Focus: Trails

Testimonial: Alan took the time out of his busy schedule to create a comprehensive trail plan for the Mackenzie Natural Area in Liberty Lake. It was a recent purchase by Spokane County through the Conservation Futures program. It had a series of poorly designed social trails and double track which was steep and heavily eroded. His new plan created three separate loop options with gradual climbs and spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Once his plan was approved, Alan led numerous work parties to construct the new trails and decommission the old trails. This project would not have been possible without his hard work and dedication. Thank you Alan for your creativity, time and commitment.


Mike Granneman


mike grannenman

Chapter: East

Volunteer Focus: Trails

Testimonial: Mike took on the role of trail boss for the Saltese Uplands Conservation Area. This is one of the busiest trail systems in our area and very popular with mountain bikers, trail runners and equestrians. Due to its openness, it allows for great views of the valley floor, abundant wildlife and wildflowers but is also very sensitive to damage from erosion especially during the freeze thaw cycle. Mike has tirelessly worked to battle the erosion by creating proper drainage, adding rock reinforcement or rerouting trails where necessary. He has also been very active in teaching proper trail etiquette and getting the different user groups working together to build more sustainable trails. His work ethic and great attention to detail make him a huge asset to our volunteer trail team.


Garrett Swigart



Chapter: Cowlitz-Naches

Volunteer Focus: Trails

Testimonial: Garrett spends a lot of time on the trail, both riding and working. You can always rely on him for effective trailwork and bike knowledge. He had a big hand in getting several of our founding members hooked on bikes and if it wasn't for him we may never have formed our chapter. Put him behind a camera and you'll get some great photos.


Bradley Gasawski



Chapter: Kittitas

Volunteer Focus: Trails

Testimonial: Bradley has poured a lot of time and effort into the Naneum Ridge trail system. Bradley also serves on several committees advocating for the sport. Bradley turns in so many trail work hours, it is truly impressive the time and work he puts into his local trails. He loves to clear out and work on remote, hard to get to, or forgotten trails, out of the sheer goodness of his heart! Bradley has a business called Molly's Pet Store (check it out!), and makes dog leashes out of retired climbing rope and he has a home inspection business called Mountain & River Residential Inspections where he does residential & commercial inspections.. He also sought out snow, and skied at least once every month for over 66 months in a row!


Tyler Kruskamp

Chapter: Southwest

Volunteer Focus: Trails

Testimonial: Tyler first stepped into Southwest Chapter as the Thrillium trail steward and last year became the trail boss for the Yacolt Burn. Not only has Tyler increased the total number of work parties, but he is also a grill master too! Thank you for all you do Tyler, the trails wouldn’t be what they are without your dedication and hard work.


On behalf of Evergreen, thank you all for your amazing work! 

Volunteer of the Year 2022