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With new leadership duo, a new era begins for NW Trail Alliance

Posted by on February 27th, 2014 at 1:23 pm

NWTA Board President Kelsey Cardwell (photo courtesy NWTA) and newly hired Director Dave Roth (photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

With the recent hire Dave Roth, their first-ever full-time director, and election of Kelsey Cardwell as Board President, Northwest Trail Alliance is shoving off into an important new era of off-road cycling advocacy.

Now entering their fifth anniversary since a major re-launch effort in 2009 (the group was formerly known as the Portland United Mountain Pedalers, or PUMP), the group now has over 700 members. That’s up from a mere 100 members just five years ago.

The addition of new leadership and a strong track record give the NWTA a solid foundation for the future. And more importantly, it provides stability at an organization that has relied on part-time volunteers for many years.

Roth has a background in transportation planning with the City of Eugene. He’s navigated city bureaucracy to build capital projects that improved bicycling and walking, helped develop Eugene’s first Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Plan, and was also active in a regional trails planning process. Away from the office, Roth has been on the competitive side of cycling and has led on and off-road bike tours. While Roth will be the new face of the NWTA, his job will focus primarily on fundraising, membership development and communications.

Joining Roth at the head of the NWTA is newly elected Board President Kelsey Cardwell. Originally from Washington D.C., Cardwell manages communications and online organizing for the non-profit school funding advocacy group, Stand for Children Oregon. She’s a regular NWTA volunteer and is known for her mastery at operating their ST240 singletrack trail building machine.

It’s a good sign when your board president knows how to operate a trail-building machine!

As for what this duo and their solid leadership and volunteer crew have in store, Roth shared their list of goals for 2014:

1. Build upon our past project successes for 2014 and future years. Over the past few years, we’ve had some big wins at Stub Stewart State Park, Sandy Ridge, Hagg Lake, Eichler Park, and Port of Cascade Locks.

2. Continue to provide fun events and programs that bring mountain biking to as many people as possible. In 2014, our calendar includes NWTA Trailfest, Sunday Parkways, Group Rides, Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, Sandy Shuttle, Trail Skills College, Bike Patrol, and more.

3. Build our membership base and secure sustainable revenue streams through sponsorships, donations and grants so that NWTA can fulfill its mission supporting mountain biking in Portland and the surrounding region.

While there have been some disappointments for Portland mountain bike access issues in the recent past (Forest Park remains a very sore subject), the NWTA has chalked up some very successful partnerships and trail-building projects throughout the region.

The group’s former volunteer leader, Tom Archer, told me at a meeting this week that having a full-time director and dedicated board will mean a world of difference for what the NWTA is able to accomplish. “We could only do so much,” he said, “as a rag-tag group of volunteers.”

We look forward to covering this next chapter in local off-road cycling issues. And there’s a lot of news already brewing. Stay tuned.

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  • matt f February 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks for reporting on this Jonathan! Hope to see you at a meeting sometime…last Tuesday of the month at HUB.

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  • Scott Mizée February 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Congratulations Dave, Kelsey and the rest of the NWTA folks! Looking forward to more success in the NEXT 5 years.

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  • Lillian Karabaic February 27, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    A whole article and you fail to mention their previous & first director, Sonia Fay Stoflo? Seems like you should at least mention that in passing.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      I didn’t mention Jon Pheanis either, or many other past leaders they’ve had. There’s only so much room and I have only so much time and the challenge in running a blog people enjoy and will read is finding the right balance between brevity and background. We have a lot of stories to get to so that means not all of them can be as in-depth and complete as I’d like.

      thanks for the feedback Lily! Glad to know you are reading ;-).

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    • Michael Whitesel February 28, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Sonia was the first and only previous paid staffer. Not a director.

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  • Holly, Port of Cascade Locks February 27, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    We look forward to ongoing NWTA collaboration on trail builds and memorable events in Cascade Locks. Keep up the great work!

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  • Tnash February 27, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    …guess the Oregonian bicycle road rage incident article is a little too…unpleasant for the new bike Portland? 😉

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    • davemess February 28, 2014 at 7:15 am

      Probably because it was a silly site hit-grab for Joe Rose, where the driver was actually in the wrong?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 28, 2014 at 7:41 am

      Not sure what you’re getting at Tnash.

      As for that sensational crap The O has been delving into lately, I have no interest in that sort of thing. It’s the same old show. OregonLive.com and The O thrive on creating fights in the community because it drives traffic and 500-comment stories.

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    • wsbob February 28, 2014 at 11:11 am

      Based on the O’s reporting of the incident, the incident wasn’t much worth reporting. Some guy riding a bike, behaved like a complete fool, which the person driving and to which he displayed this behavior…recorded on cell phone camera and posted to facebook for the world to look at.

      In comments to the paper, the person driving conceded having unintentionally blocked the bike lane, and was apologetic about having done so. The Oregonian’s Rose, in his stories, made a specific point of saying the behavior of this fool riding a bike, was not representative in any particular way, of people riding bikes.

      The guy riding the bike contacted the paper after having become, on a major scale, the subject of ridicule due to his behavior. His words don’t particularly inspire confidence that he’s a great guy for people to have to share the road with.

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  • Brian February 28, 2014 at 5:14 am

    This is great news for all of us. Many mountain bikers of today are commuters and all-around bike advocates of tomorrow. Mountain biking is experiencing a mini-renaissance as of late, and NWTA has been a big part of it in our area.

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  • wsbob February 28, 2014 at 11:32 am

    “It’s a good sign when your board president knows how to operate a trail-building machine!” photo caption/bikeportland

    A better sign, if she’s got it, would be something about the new board president’s skill and ability to build trail by hand with hand tools, rather than with internal combustion powered construction equipment.

    It’s very odd to see a picture associating an organization that would like to have people believe it reveres the environment…with a big caterpillar yellow machine tearing up the earth, and the organization’s new woman board president operating the machine.

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    • Kelsey Cardwell February 28, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      If you think that’s a big giant caterpillar machine, then you must think I’m huge! That machine has a 24-inch wide footprint. Also, Oregon Parks, WTA and others use this machine. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed some trails it built.

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      • wsbob February 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm

        Kelsey…easily seen from the picture, heck no!, you’re way smaller than your organization’s trail building machine. Just guessing from the same pic, you look kind of petite, but I imagine if you wanted to, you could do a sweet job of swinging a Pulaski or grub hoe.

        Seems contradictory to basic natural environment ethic and biking as well, but some people today can’t seem to get beyond thinking that a machine can do a better job than muscles, hand tools, and what gets ’em going.

        Good luck in your new job. Maybe you can bring some fresh ideas and thinking to the nwta.

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        • Jason October 4, 2015 at 1:01 pm

          It doesn’t sound like you’ve done much volunteer trail building. The machine can help construct significantly more trail than hand labor, but muscles and hand tools are still utilized for finish work.

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