Torsten Heycke (President)
My goal is to direct people to design, build and maintain trails so I can run, hike, and ride them. I think there is something empowering about trail work: it’s tangible, immediately gratifying and you get the satisfaction of “agency”. I like the idea that people are out enjoying Ashland’s trails and AWTA might have had something to do with that. I’ve been working on Ashland’s trails for over 20-years now and before that I worked on various trails in the SF bay area.
Camille Siders (Vice President)
After spending too long running on the roads, I turned to trails and won’t ever go back. I feel very lucky to live in a town with so many trail choices, so it seemed logical to help build new ones. I like running along and finding a stretch of trail I helped build. I like meeting new people while building trails, and feeling a connection to the running and hiking community. I also love the fact that I’ll run into all kinds of people (and dogs!) enjoying those trails. AWTA has made Ashland a better place to live by getting people out in the watershed, and I’m excited to be part of continuing that work.
John Price (Secretary)
I’m happiest when I have my feet and hands in the dirt. I’ve even been known to revel in the use of a crosscut saw for removing fallen trees from trails. When I started trail running in Ashland back in the 80s, we had only one quasi official trail in the watershed that was only about a mile long. Trail building and maintenance for me is a legacy project that I truly hope will be enjoyed by Ashlanders long after I’m gone. In the meantime I’ll be out joyfully running, hiking and biking our trails whenever I can.
After several years of visiting Ashland, my husband and I landed here permanently with our two young boys in the summer of 2019. 2020 was a tough year for most of us and between hiking, mountain biking, running and skiing the local trails saved all of our sanity. I am so excited to be a part of the AWTA in helping to create and maintain the trails that I know bring the same joy to others that my family has experienced as well as help educate the next generation of trail users on how we care for our amazing community and its wonderful resources.
I’m in love with exploring the natural spaces around us, and for me that comes most often in the form of running, biking, and alpine touring. I cherish my daily trail time and love introducing our trails to my children and friends. I’m excited to be a part of our trail community and to support everyone I see out hiking, running, and riding our beautiful trails!
My wife and I landed in Ashland in 2018 when we relocated from the Bay Area (both natives) for her job at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I’ve never liked running…..until I did it on the trails here in Ashland. One group run and I was hooked! I’m a big fan of anything that gets me moving and in particular outdoors (I’m on the Rogue Rowing competitive racing team and CrossFitter enthusiast at Iron Haven Fitness). I don’t mind getting my hands dirty and I enjoy being a part of giving back to the community that gives me so much.
I believe that the work of the AWTA is an indispensable component to creating and maintaining treasured resources that are so critical to the high quality of life in Ashland. Being fortunate enough to live right next to the watershed and having access to multiple trailheads steps from my door, I have come to rely on this growing network of trails for my health, sanity, and overall happiness. They’ve created a passion for hiking and mountain biking in my kids, inspired my wife to solo hike the the PCT from the CA/OR border to the OR/WA border, and helped me continue to be as healthy as possible in my post-cancer journey by training for various trail races/events. While I’m slow and just happy to be able to finish races, every time I’m out there training or racing, I am able to truly live my version of what it means to thrive. Because the trail system resulting from the work of the AWTA has become so foundational to the life that my family and I have created since moving to Ashland in 2015, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as a member of the AWTA board in an effort to give back to the trail community and at the same time help ensure the continued evolution of this amazing trail infrastructure for years to come.
I have lived in Ashland for over 18 years and love having a trail network right out my front door. I believe in environmental stewardship through advocacy by experience – that getting people out into wild places and public lands creates advocates that will love and want to protect those places. And that wild places are best protected when a wide range of people know and love them – a mix of more ‘outdoorsy’ people and those who may only occasionally get to spend time in them. I think the Ashland trail network is a perfect example of how to make the outdoors accessible to a wide variety of people. It is truly incredible.
I clearly remember the first time I ran the White Rabbit trail. I crested what I believed to be the top, but then saw around a corner and caught my first glimpse of how expansive and magical the Ashland trail system really is. The pull of this extensive trail system led me to ultrarunning and into the welcoming community of trail runners in the Rogue Valley. I am proud and excited to join the AWTA to give back to this community and expand access to one of the best trail systems in the country.
Yu Kuwabara – Mt Ashland Hillclimb Race Director
The trails surrounding Ashland have shaped my life in profound ways. As a child arriving from Tokyo, where trails and nature were out of reach, I was excited to explore and discover the surrounding trails and landscapes. These trails not only provided me with countless opportunities for outdoor adventures, but also raised my quality of life and instilled a deep sense of environmental stewardship. Nowadays, you’ll often find me in the watershed running or mountain biking with my boys and friends. I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to the trail community by serving as a member of the AWTA board. The work of the AWTA to maintain and improve the trail system has not only benefited individuals and families like mine, but has also contributed to the overall health and well-being of the Ashland community. I believe that by supporting organizations like the AWTA, we can continue to create and maintain the resources that make Ashland such a special place to live, work, and play.
Updated March, 2023