Staff and Board


for Board, Leadership Council and other working documents

  • Gary Werner, Executive Director

    Gary WernerGary Werner has served since 1991 as Chair and now as Executive Director of the Partnership for the National Trails System, a 501c3 non-profit organization. Gary represents the Partnership in work with Federal agency staff and other non-profit organizations to develop national trails’ policy initiatives. Under Gary’s guidance and as a member of national coalitions with a focus on trails, the Partnership works to influence public policy to provide better preservation, conservation, and stewardship of nationally significant cultural, historic, scenic and recreational resources. These coalitions include the Conservation Lands Alliance, the Land & Water Conservation Fund Coalition, and the Cultural Resources Preservation Coalition.

    In 1997, he helped organize Americans for Our Heritage and Recreation, a national organization representing more than 150 conservation organizations, to revive Congressional and Administration support for the Land & Water Conservation Fund. Gary serves on the Board of Directors of the National Trails Training Partnership (NTTP) a consortium of non-profit trail organizations working to promote more and better training opportunities for volunteers and professional trail builders to improve the quality of trails and protect the environments around them. Members of NTTP include the American Hiking Society, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, International Mountain Biking Association, Leave No Trace, and the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council.

    A resident of Madison, Wisconsin, Gary worked for 12 years for the Ice Age Park & Trail Foundation organizing volunteers, coordinating trail planning and construction projects with the National Park Service, Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources and Transportation, and negotiating right of way purchases with landowners. Over the past 28 years Gary has organized and led volunteers in a variety of trail construction and maintenance and natural resource preservation projects for the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, the Rails to Trails Conservancy, American Hiking Society, and the Ice Age Trail Alliance.

    Contact Gary: (608) 249-7870 ext. 1 //

    Samantha Haas, Communications Coordinator

    Samantha Haas joined PNTS in 2017 as its communications coordinator. In her role, she connects with the partner organizations and agencies to compile the quarterly Pathways Across America magazine, monthly e-newsletter and contact lists.

    Samantha studied English and art at St. Norbert College, and she started her career in the journalism field as a community reporter and photographer. She lives near the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Madison, Wisconsin, and she enjoys hiking, biking, birdwatching and taking photos throughout the state.

    She’d love to hear your stories from the trail!

    Contact Samantha:

    Don Owen, Consultant

    Don Owen, of Round Hill, Virginia, is the senior executive of Lands Trails and Parks LLC, a consulting firm specializing in working with national scenic and historic trail organizations, non-profit land trusts, conservation groups, and parks.

    He consults regularly for the Partnership for the National Trails System, the Maryland Environmental Trust, the West Virginia Land Trust, the Land Trust of Virginia, and a variety of other conservation organizations. He also serves as the Potomac River Watershed Circuit Rider for the Land Trust Alliance.

    Don worked for the National Park Service from 1985 to 2008 in several different capacities: as a realty specialist for the Appalachian Trail Land Office, as the resource management coordinator for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy on special assignment, and as the environmental protection specialist with the Appalachian Trail Park Office.

    He then served as executive director of the Land Trust of Virginia from 2008 until 2014. Don was a volunteer trail maintainer for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club from 1988 to 2013, and continues to serve as a volunteer corridor monitor.

    He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, the Stewardship Council for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and the Advisory Council for the Mosby Heritage Area Association.

    Liz Wessel, Consultant

    Liz WesselLiz Wessel opened Green Concierge Travel in 2006. She has a strong interest in building the market for ecotourism and supplying the needs of ecotravelers either inbound or outbound to destinations in North America and beyond. By identifying and enhancing links between ecotourism destinations in North America and green tourism infrastructure such as lodging, transit, restaurants, indigenous sites and local natural areas and trails we can continue to strengthen the ecotourism market in North America.

    In her consulting work for Partnership for the National Trails System, she has supported fundraising efforts, coordinated the 2013 Biennial conference in Tucson, and worked on the redesign of the Partnership website.

    Contact Liz at: 608.204.2717 or

  • Officers and Executive Committee

    • Barney Mann – PNTS President
    • Jim Zimmerman, Nez Perce Trail Foundation – Vice President for Governance
    • John Hoffnagle – Vice President for Development
    • Luke Kloberdanz, Ice Age Trail Alliance – PNTS Secretary
    • Jim Muschett – Treasurer
    • Ray (RG) Absher, Overmountain Victory Trail Association – PNTS Trail Leaders Council Chair
    • James L. Mallory, Lewis and Clark, Trust, Inc. – National Historic Trails Representative
    • Mike Wollmer, Ice Age Trail Alliance – National Scenic Trails Representative
    • Kaleo Paik
    • Karen Berger
    • Margaret Gorski
    • Sandi Marra, Appalachian Trail Conservancy
    • Teresa Martinez, Continental Divide Trail Coalition

    Other Committees

    Advocacy & Policy, Conferences & Workshops, Finance, Honors & Awards, Pathways & Website

    Trail Leaders Council

    • Ray (RG) Absher, Overmountain Victory Trail Association – PNTS Trail Leaders Council Chair
    • James L. Mallory, Lewis and Clark, Trust, Inc. – National Historic Trails Representative
    • Mike Wollmer, Ice Age Trail Alliance – National Scenic Trails Representative
    • Kaleo Paik, Ala Kahakai Trail Association
    • Elizabeth Stewart, Anza Trail Foundation
    • Bridget Likely, Appalachian Mountain Club (NET)
    • Appalachian Trail Conservancy
    • Matt Nelson, Arizona Trail Association
    • Susan Shingledecker, Chesapeake Conservancy
    • Clare Cain, Connecticut Forest & Park Association (NET)
    • Teresa Martinez, Continental Divide Trail Coalition
    • Jim Wolf, Continental Divide Trail Society
    • Marcie Davis, E Mau Na Ala Hele (Ala Kahakai)
    • Steven Gonzales, El Camino Real de los Tejas NHT Association
    • Kelly Wiener, Florida Trail Association
    • Judy Bittner, Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance
    • Sarah Cawley, Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation
    • Ron Andersen, Mormon Pioneer Trail Association
    • Tony Turnbow , Natchez Trace Parkway Association
    • Pat Hearty, National Pony Express Association
    • Ellen von Karajan, National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route NHT Association, Inc. (W3R-US)
    • Jim Zimmerman, Nez Perce Trail Foundation
    • Andrea Ketchmark, North Country Trail Association
    • Reba Wells Grandrud, Old Spanish Trail Association
    • Bill Martin, Oregon-California Trails Association
    • Justin Kooyman, Pacific Crest Trail Association
    • Jeff Kish, Pacific Northwest Trail Association
    • Ric Francke, Potomac Heritage Trail Association
    • Marcia Will-Clifton, Santa Fe Trail Association
    • Deloris Gray Wood, Trail of Tears Association

    Affiliate Members

    • Eric Seaborg, American Discovery Trail Society
    • Kate Van Waes, American Hiking Society
    • Alan Hill, Back Country Horsemen of America
    • Randy Rasmussen, Back Country Horsemen of America
    • Kerstin Wolle, Carson Valley Trail Association
    • Gary Hicks, Kansas City Area Historic Trails Association
    • Dave Aamodt, National Frontier Trails Museum
    • Mike Baughn, Smoky Hill Trail Association
    • Morgan Flesser, Tahoe Rim Trail Association