Washington Trails Association just announced it has hired Brian Windrope to be its new executive director. Windrope, who will begin work April 12, will take over the position from Elizabeth Lunney. She is stepping down after more than 10 years with the group.
The 41-year-old Windrope has been the director of philanthropy for the San Juan Preservation Trust the last three years. He has been living in Friday Harbor.
Windrope’s work history reflects a passion for wilderness and trails. He has a broad background in non-profit administration, including director positions with the San Juan trust, Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, Guided Discoveries and Nature Bridge (formerly Yosemite National Institutes).
Windrope earned his master’s in education from Stanford University and holds a bachelor of arts/science from the University of California, Berkeley.
According to a WTA new release, he said his favorite trails are all those above timberline, through deep forests, in the desert and along the coast.
“During my time at UC Berkeley I became weary of books and hungry for wilderness, and so took off on a solo backpacking trip down the length of the Sierra Nevada Mountains,” Windrope said in a prepared statement. “Oh, what joy! It opened my eyes to the rest of my life. Since that first long trip, I have been hiking and exploring every wild place I can get near.”
“Washington Trails Association is the premier hiking advocacy and trail maintenance organization in the state, and I can’t imagine a more wonderful, or fitting, use of my energies than to dedicate myself to its mission,” he added. “I’m just so fortunate to be able to give back to the places I love in such a concrete way. WTA makes a real, everyday, tangible difference in the health of wild places, and therefore positively impacts the health and happiness of the people of Washington. I think it is this combination of helping trails, wilderness and people that makes me honored to help lead WTA.”
Windrope plans to attend WTA’s Trail Crew Leader College in April, where more than 70 WTA crew leaders and assistant crew leaders learn and practice key trail skills and knowledge in preparation for the summer season.
The association began in 1962 as Signpost magazine, but quickly evolved in to a trail support and advocacy group. Membership has now reached more than 8,000 people. In 2009, more than 2,000 members volunteered 94,175 hours for trail maintenance on 130 trails statewide. The group was also involved in the coalition that led the recovery efforts following the November 2006 floods that swept through much of Mount Rainier National Park.
“On behalf of the board of directors and staff of WTA, I’d like to express our excitement at bringing Brian Windrope into this leadership position and look forward to working with him to fulfill our mission of advocacy for trails, trail maintenance and education about hiking,” said Craig McKibben, president of the board of directors of WTA, in the news release. “Hiking and the outdoors have shaped Brian Windrope’s life. He has the passion, commitment, experience, professional demeanor, leadership skills, and empathy that we want in our Executive Director.”
“I would also like to thank WTA’s longtime Executive Director, Elizabeth Lunney, for helping to make our transition as smooth as possible,” McKibben added. “Elizabeth is resigning from her position after more than a decade of service. Thanks to Elizabeth’s service and leadership, WTA has become a trusted and vital partner to land managers, a more effective voice for the hiking community, and an essential resource for all of us who want to explore Washington’s beautiful wild places.”