Torsten Heycke (President)
My goal is to direct people to design, build and maintain trails so I can run, hike, and ride them. That is written only partly in jest. Trail work is tangible, immediately gratifying and you get the satisfaction of “agency”; it’s empowering. I also like the idea that people are out enjoying Ashland’s trails and we–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.
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 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 Hill Climb 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.
Josh Cott – When I moved here in the mid 2000s, the trails were a place for me to run and bike, but I didn’t think much about the bigger picture. Now I realize our trail system is part of the magic of this town. Trails are for people of all ages, in all seasons. They are for solitude, or enjoyment with others. They can be part of a quiet appreciation of nature or a raucous athletic competition, and everything in between. In our woods we can have the ancient human experience of watching the seasons and years pass in a familiar natural place, or explore new and wild corners we have never been (I’ve been doing a lot of that lately!). And we can simultaneously care for our trails and our community through trail building, maintenance, and advocacy. I am proud and excited to help AWTA support this mission.
Updated Oct 16, 2023