PCTA ramps up outreach with new hires

The Pacific Crest Trail Association has hired two experts to lead the organization’s outreach efforts.

In January, Scott Wilkinson became the PCTA’s first director of communications and marketing, a position funded by a $250,000, three-year grant from the Vancouver, Washington-based M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The association also hired Mark Larabee as the associate director of the communications and marketing program. Mark has worked as a PCT contractor for the last six years editing our magazine and providing other outreach and advocacy services.

Scott Wilkinson

Scott comes to the PCTA from the University of Oregon, where since 2014 he has been director of marketing and communications for the School of Law. Previously, he was executive creative director at West Virginia University, where he managed the university’s brand and overall marketing. A lifelong outdoor fanatic, Scott spends much of his free time hiking, paddling, cycling, and fly fishing.

Scott road biking with his daughter Keira.

A graduate of The Juilliard School, Scott’s first career was in music and the arts. Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, he now lives in Eugene, Oregon. Equally comfortable with hands-on media production and long-term strategy, Scott is excited to join the PCTA; it’s been his lifelong dream to combine a passion for the outdoors with professional expertise to work on behalf of wild places and experiences.

Scott XC skiing the PCT near Willamette Pass, Oregon.

“The Pacific Crest Trail is extraordinary, and unique in the world,” Scott said. “It’s had a deeply positive impact on the lives of countless people, yet it’s not entirely protected. I’m humbled and thrilled to work on behalf of the trail and the many people and organizations who partner to preserve every mile for future generations.”

Mark has worked for PCTA as a contractor since 2010 after a 25-year career in newspapers. A graduate of the School of Journalism at San Diego State University, he worked as a reporter and editor at papers in Southern California before spending 15 years as a reporter at The Oregonian in Portland, Oregon. He was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for a series of stories on the 2006 disappearance of the Kim family of San Francisco.

Mark Larabee

Mark still lives in Portland and is an avid hiker, backpacker, cyclist, mountaineer, skier and rock climber. He recently co-authored a hardcover coffee table book, The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America’s Wilderness Trail, which was released in October—a joint publication of the PCTA and Rizzoli New York.

“The newspaper business went through a seismic shift, but I’m fortunate to have found a second career on the front lines of an important cause, one that I take personally,” Mark said. “Helping to protect and preserve the PCT, the incredible places it crosses, and the experience of being out there is important work on so many levels. Being out there is part of who I am.”

PCTA Executive Director and CEO Liz Bergeron said these new hires will help the association effectively meet new challenges as it increases land protection efforts, addresses the complexities of trail maintenance and continues to build a world-class volunteer stewardship program.

Mark on the summit of Mount Hood.

“To protect and promote the trail, we must continuously recruit volunteers, members and supporters,” Liz said. “This requires effective outreach and telling our story in memorable ways. I see these positions as the missing link that will strengthen everything we do. That’s how excited I am.”

Liz said the association could not have made this important advance without the help of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. Scott’s position is funded by the trust.  Established in 1975 at the wishes of the late Melvin J. “Jack” Murdock, co-founder of Tektronix, Inc., the trust was directed “to nurture and enrich the educational, cultural, social and spiritual lives of individuals, families and community.” The trust supports nonprofit projects and programs that enrich life in communities across Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.