Greg Ball

Greg Ball, whom many considered to be at the heart and soul of trail-building efforts in Washington State, passed away this past October of complications from prostate cancer. Ball leaves behind a legacy of exceptional trails advocacy and volunteerism.

Ball was founder and director of the volunteer trail maintenance program for PCTA’s northwest partner, the Washington Trails Association (WTA).

A former bank executive, Ball combined a love of the mountains and devotion to the community. He started WTA’s volunteer trail maintenance program in 1993 as a way to get hiking trails the attention they needed and to give hikers the opportunity to give something back to the trail they enjoy.

In the 1980s, Ball joined the WTA board of directors and served as president for two years. In 1992, he became executive director of the WTA. He launched the first volunteer trail maintenance program the next year. In 1998, Ball resigned from his position as executive director to manage the trail program full time.

Under Ball’s leadership, WTA’s trail maintenance program grew into one of the nation’s largest state-based programs. Ball, himself, spent more than 100 day a year on WTA trail maintenance work parties and last year, 1,800 WTA volunteers worked almost 70,000 hours on hiking trails, including the PCT, throughout the Cascades and Olympics. In 2004, for instance, WTA made a concerted effort to upgrade the PCT south from Snoqualmie Pass. Brush was cut back and water drainage devices were installed to protect the tread. Thru-hikers arriving at Snoqualmie Pass this coming season will have a more positive experience thanks to this work.

“Without the WTA trail volunteers, we would barely be able to keep a lot of trails open,” says Gary Paull, wilderness and trails coordinator for the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. “Washington’s trail system would not be in the shape it is in today without the vision and leadership of Greg Ball.”

Greg is survived by his wife, Susan Ball, of Seattle, and his sister, Patty Sauer, who lives in Arizona. The WTA’s Greg Ball Fund has been set up to help provide funding so that Ball’s legacy of fun, productive, and inspirational trail maintenance projects can continue. For information about joining a WTA PCT maintenance project, visit the “Projects Database” on our Web site at

↑ Back to top