Here are short bios of your Ozark Trail Association board members.
All directors are members of the Advisory Board, which meets quarterly to establish OTA goals and direction.
Many of the directors are also members of the Executive Board, which meets monthly to coordinate the day-to-day activities of the Ozark Trail Association.
I've never been one to say "No" and along with a heart for volunteering for worthy causes... so when a chance conversation with a friend about the OT, I ended up at an OTA construction outing on the Middle Fork in 2005 and I became hooked. When my girls were younger, we were involved with Girl Scouts, family camping trips, floating the creeks and rivers to hiking the trails in the parks we camped in. Not a stranger to any work or task, I retired from Wal-Mart after 20 years and currently work as an Adm. Asst. for an Alternative school, do part time retail sales with Bath & Body Works and in the summer months I am a seasonal naturalist for Trail of Tears State Park. Becoming involved with the OTA/OT has provided me opportunities to not only meet a very diverse group of volunteers from all over the state, but also through training to become a USFS certified sawyer and crew leader while sharing my passion for the outdoors with kids of all ages at events big and small. I haven't hiked or been on all of the OT but manage to be out on the trail as much as I can through maintenance and construction events that give me the opportunity to savor the diversity of OT. Living in Cape Girardeau MO with my husband Calvin; our two daughters Casey and Emily are also volunteers as well as boy friend Marcus, and husband Derek and our 2 1/2 yr old grandson Stratton. As a family, we also have adopted a 3.1 mile section of the Middle Fork - John Roth Memorial section. The Ozark Trail is an on going project for future generations and I hope that the opportunities we give volunteers and their families will help us see the completion of the Ozark Trail as we all strive to carry out the mission of the OTA.
My first OTA outing was a New Years Day house/equipment cleanup. We rebuilt tool trailer, sharpened yools, cleaned up chainsaws. My adopt-a-trail is the last/eastern most section of the Taum Sauk Trail. I am the Sawyer coordinator, the equipment and fixit guy. Always entertaining to get new ideas, new help. I share Boy Scout, and Special Project Project responsibilities with Don Schutte.
Beginning with my time as a Boy Scout, I have enjoyed camping and being outdoors. My wife and I started taking the kids tent camping when they were very young and they too have grown up enjoying the outdoors. My son and I started backpacking on the River to River trail a few years ago and soon learned of the Ozark Trail via an REI monthly calendar for a Mega Event. We attended and were immediately hooked. Then after a few more Megas and volunteering for the bike race I was convinced that this is where I wanted to be involved and help as much as possible. Now that I’m retired from AT&T I have even more time to contribute to the success of the OTA and its Mission.
Bio coming soon
A native of Missouri, I grew up backpacking in the western Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. A love of the outdoors and conservation led me through school. I have a Bachelors of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Management (University of Missouri) and a Masters of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy (Columbia University, NY). I spent four years as the Missouri Water Quality Standards Coordinator for the Environmental Protection Agency in Kansas City before exploring the field of forestry. As an independent contractor, I collected field data in Missouri, New Mexico, and Minnesota. In 2013, I was hired by The Nature Conservancy in Missouri as the Current River Project Manager, which enabled me to return to my home state and work on conserving one of my favorite rivers. A friend introduced me to the Ozark Trail Association several years ago and I was happy to find a family of people that enjoy digging in the dirt as much as I do!
Description coming soon.
April first set boots on the OT in the spring of 2005, when she tackled an overnight from Taum Sauk to Johnson's Shut-Ins. After several more hikes on the OT, she thought, "If I use it, I should help take care of it, too!" Since her first volunteer outing in the fall of 2008, she has been actively involved as a crew leader, trail adopter, sawyer, and general grunt. She is the founder of the OTA Trivia Night and organizer from 2010 to 2013. She has also been involved with maintenance of the Appalachian Trail in Maine, New Hampshire, and West Virginia. Her off-trail hobbies include attempting to make beer and play guitar.
Description coming soon.
As a life long resident of Southeast Missouri I have had the luxury of enjoying the Ozarks on many occasions and from many different vistas. As far back as the 70's and 80's I flew fire patrol for the USFS over the entire region and marveled at the beauty the Ozarks had to offer. After hiking many of the trails I became aware of the OTA through a contact I had with DNR. I looked into it and became a member in September of 2004. I went on several trail builds with John and Steve, Jeff, Roger, Bruce, Robert, Matt and scores of other dedicated OTA members. I brought my family along as well as Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops I even invited my good friend Kathie to come along and she has stepped up and filled some pretty big boots. We always welcomed kids, dogs whatever and it was always a fun and inviting time.
This is an exciting time to be in the OTA. As we grow and become partners with land managers and stewards we increase our awareness and develop our contributions to the overall trail system. With that growth we have the opportunity to continue the Mission Statement of the OTA; to Develop, Maintain, Preserve, Promote and Protect the rugged beauty of the Ozark Trail. We now find ourselves involved with one of the finest organizations (OTA) building and maintaining what will one day be one of Americas finest thru-trail system.
On July 3, 1981 Dave hiked the Current River section of the Ozark Trail. The next day he ran the Firecracker 5 Mile Road Race in West Plains, Missouri. The race was a disaster but he enjoyed his first experience on the Ozark Trail. After many twists and turns down the trail Dave’s has always encouraged people to get outside and stay active. From 1982 through 2012 Dave was a cross country coach at several Missouri high schools and colleges. In December, 2012 he retired from Westminster College where he also served as an outdoor education instructor. Dave worked as a seasonal park ranger for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways in 1982, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. In 2013 he joined the staff at Current River State Park as a seasonal naturalist before moving to Big Cypress National Preserve to spend the winter as a ranger in the outreach and education division of the National Park Service. Dave spends his spare time documenting trails in the Current River area in an effort to share information and encourage people to hike the Ozark Trail.
Growing up in the Northeast, I was raised hiking the White Mountains and the presidential range. After moving to Florida, I missed that experience and was able to splurge on one mountaineering course, spending 23 days on the Gore Range in Colorado. Now that I find myself in mid-MO, the Ozarks are my home and I will do everything I can to make them accessible to the widest range of people possible.
My times in the woods have taught me the value of self-reliance, and that there are times when giving up isn't an option. My goal is to grow the trail, and help to make it a nationally recognized destination so that more people can understand the natural rugged beauty of the Ozarks, and the need for accessible outdoor spaces.
As manager of The Public House Brewing Company, I'm lucky enough to meet many travelers on their way to or from the trail and introduce them to trail building over a frosty adult beverage.