PCTA awards celebrate inspirational Pacific Crest Trail champions

The Pacific Crest Trail Association’s annual awards recognize people and partners for their extraordinary dedication to the PCT. Below is a summary of the award winners recognized throughout 2018. The Pacific Crest Trail will benefit from these trail champions’ outstanding contributions for years to come. Congratulations to all!

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors extraordinary commitment and service to the PCT over many years. This award is not presented every year.

Bill Carpenter

Bill Carpenter receives the PCTA’s Lifetime Achievement Award from PCTA Executive Director and CEO Liz Bergeron (left) and Regional Representative Dana Hendricks.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Bill Carpenter in October during the PCTA’s Trail Dirt Live event in Vancouver, Wash. Bill has led the PCTA’s Mid-Oregon Volunteers for many years. As the volunteer coordinator he oversees volunteer stewards on 160 miles of the PCT between Windigo Pass and Breitenbush Lake. His humble and caring leadership has empowered countless volunteers to discover and enjoy the satisfaction of PCT stewardship.

Extra Mile Award

The title of this award speaks for itself – it is meant to honor those who have gone “the extra mile,” beyond the scope of normal volunteering for the benefit of the organization or trail.

Jim Banks

Jim Banks receives the PCTA’s Extra Mile Award from PCTA Regional Representative Anitra Kass.

Jim Banks is an exceptional volunteer with the Southern California Trail Gorillas and known as a “tread master.” On top of the miles of maintenance he completes, he goes the extra mile by teaching the art of tread maintenance to many new volunteers.

Roberta Cobb

Roberta Cobb (center) receives the PCTA’s Extra Mile Award from PCTA Executive Director and CEO Liz Bergeron (left) and Regional Representative Dana Hendricks.

Roberta, who served as chair of the PCTA’s Mount Hood Chapter between 2012 to 2018, went the extra mile in her response to the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge. She played an enormous role in coordinating hundreds of training and work parties to repair and reopen the PCT in the months after the fire.

Don Sanderson

Don Sanderson.

Don is a leader in the PCTA’s North 350 Blades and volunteer saw program, an active trail maintainer, and served as chair of the 2017 North Cascades Trail Skills College planning committee. Don has a passion for crosscut saws, and goes the extra mile to to evaluate, clean, and sharpen donated crosscut saws.

Labor of Love Award

The Labor of Love Award recognizes individuals for their work on particular projects that benefit the organization.

Matt Hope

Matt Hope.

Matt is an expert in traditional backcountry skills and has shared his love of mountains and pack strings with the PCT community over the last 28 years. Along with providing pack support for major reconstruction projects on the PCT, he puts in many hours clearing the trail near Willamette Pass. He is an exceptional volunteer leader who has provided encouragement to many a trail volunteer, especially young people.

Sandy Mann

Sandy Mann (right) and Barney Mann (left)  in Washington, D.C., with students from the Environmental Charter High School.

In addition to her many years of trail angeling, hosting hikers at her home in San Diego along with her husband, Barney Scout Mann, Sandy regularly volunteers as part of PCTA’s Hike the Hill advocacy team. A former high school teacher, Sandy helps to coordinate youth volunteers from Environmental Charter High School in Los Angeles as they join PCTA’s advocacy team in Washington, D.C., each February. Sandy helped to start this program in 2015, and has been dedicated to it ever since.

Gordon Wellington

Gordon Wellington receives the PCTA’s Labor of Love Award from PCTA Volunteer Programs Coordinator Ellen Ginda (left) and Executive Director and CEO Liz Bergeron.

Gordon is an outstanding volunteer both on and off the trail. Throughout the year, he is a fixture in the PCTA’s office in Sacramento, Calif., helping with administrative projects. You can also find him up and down the PCT doing trail work on weeklong or weekend trips. It is clear that his work for the PCT is a labor of love.

Diamond Hitch Award

This award recognizes the packing services provided by a volunteer packer whose passion and ongoing commitment assists with maintenance of the PCT in Wilderness Areas and remote locations.

Jerry Heitzler

Jerry Heitzler.

Jerry was recognized for his commitment to providing pack support for backcountry volunteer projects in Northern Sierra wilderness areas. Lending support to crews along many miles of the PCT, he has packed in tools and supplies for the Pacific Crest Trail Association, the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, and American Conservation Experience. Jerry is a true champion and supporter of the PCT (and so are his mules)!

Partnership Award

The Partnership Award is given to a partner that has provided exceptional assistance to the PCTA and contributed to our mission.

New Seasons Market

Hilary Renshaw, (right) a New Seasons Employee and crew leader, accepts The PCTA Partnership Award from Roberta Cobb of the PCTA Mount Hood Chapter.

New Seasons Market is a grocery chain in Oregon, Washington and Northern California that is committed to environmental stewardship, giving back to communites and providing a progressive workplace where their staff thrives. Over the last four years, New Seasons Market has partnered with the PCTA’s Mount Hood Chapter to donate food for overnight crews and send enthusiastic New Seasons employees on many day-long work parties with the chapter. Mount Hood Chapter volunteers are always impressed by the quality of the work done by New Seasons Market employees and their dedication – some have even taken on leadership roles in the chapter.

Agency Partner Employee Award

The Agency Partner Employee Award is given to an agency employee who has been very helpful to the PCTA. Often, more than one Agency Partner Employee Award is given each year.

Dawn Stender, USFS Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Dawn Stender (left) receives the PCTA’s Agency Partner Award from PCTA Regional Representative Dana Hendricks.

Dawn has developed great teamwork with the PCTA’s Mount Hood Chapter. She is always responsive, enthusiastic, and grateful for volunteers. In trying times such as the aftermath of 2017’s Eagle Creek Fire, her dedication shined even brighter and exemplified what it means to partner effectively in the management and maintenance of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Regional Trail Maintainer of the Year

This award is given to an individual in each region who has distinguished him/herself in hours and service to trail maintenance during the past year. 

Region 1 – Southern California

Bill Karp

Bill Karp receives the PCTA’s Regional Trail Maintainer of the Year Award from PCTA Regional Representative Anitra Kass.

In three short years, Bill has become an integral part of the PCTA’s Trail Gorillas and an invaluable member of the PCT community. A retired firefighter, his positive attitude, commitment to stewardship, and substantial trail skill set are remarkable.

Region 2 – Southern Sierra

Gene Moeller

Gene Moeller.

Gene has devoted nine years to the PCTA’s Can Do Crew in the Southern Sierra region. PCTA staff, fellow volunteers on the Can Do Crew and other partners recognize the energy, creativity and leadership he provides.

Region 3 – Northern Sierra

David Breinke

David Breinke.

A trail adopter in the PCTA’s Pounders Promise region, David attended almost all PCTA projects throughout the Tahoe National Forest and Plumas National Forest in 2017. Always learning, contributing and working hard, he was also recognized for his sense of humor and great attitude.

Region 4 – Big Bend

Angie Panter

Angie Panter receives the PCTA’s Regional Trail Maintainer of the Year Award from PCTA Regional Representative Ian Nelson.

Angie wears many hats as a founding member of the PCTA’s Southern Oregon Rockers, member of the PCTA’s NorCal Crew, leader in the PCTA’s volunteer saw program, and board chair of Siskiyou Mountain Club. Her passion for working on trails is contagious and her leadership and commitment to fellow volunteers is exemplary.

Region 5 – Columbia Cascades

Paul Hendricks

Paul Hendricks (right) receives the PCTA’s Regional Trial Maintainer of the Year Award from PCTA Crew Leader Justin Brimer.

Paul has attended Volunteer Vacation crews in the Columbia Cascades region for the last five years. He is an invaluable member of these crews and spends extra energy to help plan the weeklong backcountry projects. He was recognized for his commitment to major trail reconstruction, sharing his expertise, inspiring others, and cooking exceptional backcountry meals.

Region 6 – North Cascades

Dave Kessler

Dave Kessler.

Dave’s drive and determination has played a vital role in the growth of the PCTA’s North 350 Blades in the Stevens Pass area. His efforts have expanded the number of stewards of the trail, developed the PCTA’s relationship with the Skykomish Ranger District and improved the condition of the Pacific Crest Trail.


We are now accepting nominations for volunteers and partners who made outstanding contributions in 2018.If you would like to nominate an individual for an award, please fill out the online Annual Awards Nomination Form.



Author: Emily Bauska

Emily Bauska is the PCTA’s Volunteer Programs Outreach Associate. She is excited about sharing the stories of the hard-working volunteers who maintain the Pacific Crest Trail. Emily grew up hiking in her native state of Oregon and completed a thru-hike of the John Muir Trail through the Sierra Nevada in 2013. When not on the trail, you can find her bicycling or tending to her vegetable garden.