2019 Changes to GDTA Board

At every AGM, we thank departing Board members for their contributions, re-elect members that desire to serve another 3 year term and welcome new Board members. 

This year, we say thank you to four Board members who are not returning to the Board.  Each of these four individuals made significant contributions to the GDTA over their three year terms and for that we say thank you!  The retiring Board members are: Barb Lauer (Outreach and Engagement), Darrell Aunger (Organizational Design), Dave Hockey (President) and Jean-Francois Cianci (Grants and Marketing). 

  • Two existing Board members were re-elected: 

Brad Vaillancourt, President

Brad Vaillancourt thru-hiked the entire Great Divide Trail in 2006, and hasn’t stopped being involved with the trail ever since. When the GDTA was re-activated in 2013, Brad served as the organization’s president until 2016. From 2016 until present, Brad continues to serve on the GDTA Board of Directors, resuming the role of President in 2019. Brad’s various responsibilities with the GDTA have included being the lead for the GDT in BC, planning and implementation of the GDT Management Plan, design and maintenance of the GDTA website, development of GDT hiker resources, managing GDTA membership, chairing the Trail Building & Maintenance Committee, and leading at least one annual trail maintenance trip per year. Brad is very proud how much the organization has accomplished and grown in the past 6 years and is excited for the future of the Great Divide Trail. 

Jeff Gruttz, Chair

Jeff was a founding member of the GDTA in 1975 and served with the Board until 1983. From 1978 to 1980, he participated in field planning & crew coordination involving trail construction between North Fork and Fording River Passes. Jeff earned a MSc from the University of Calgary with thesis on hikers’ impact on day use trails in Yoho National Park. He retired from 22½ years with City of Calgary Parks as an Outdoor Coordinator and Liaison and has volunteered on the Alberta TrailNet Board for 12 years. Jeff received the 2003 Alberta TrailNet “Trailblazer” award and his passion is ‘doorstep accessibility’ to walking and bicycling opportunities everywhere. Jeff participated in most of the ‘Friends of GDTA’ multi-day volunteer work parties held in the 2000’s, and he continues to participate in trail building and maintenance trips as often as he can. Jeff has been a GDTA Board member since the GDTA re-incorporated in 2013.

  • Two new members were elected to the Board:

Chase Holthe, new Director

Growing up on a farm in Taber, Alberta, Chase has enjoyed a lifetime of hiking, camping, horseback riding, and similar outdoor activities. The Great Divide Trail cuts through an area in the Crowsnest Pass with which he is very familiar and have many fond memories. Chase has practiced as a corporate disputes lawyer since being called to the Alberta Bar in 2012.Working at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, one of the world’s largest firms, has given him significant experience with corporate governance and problems faced by Boards of Directors. 

Robert MacLaine, new Director

Robert has recently graduated from Mount Royal University with a bachelor of Health and Physical Education, a major in Ecotourism & Outdoor Leadership, and a minor in Marketing. He is currently employed as a backcountry guide leading horseback trips in Kananaskis country. The skill set Robert brings to the organization is enthusiasm and passion for outdoor leadership as well as advocacy for conservation and trail development to ensure. His skills developed at MRU with a minor in marketing is an understanding of social media applications, best practices and campaign development. Through the major of Ecotourism/Outdoor leadership he has developed relationships with the ETOL community a group of people with a passion for the outdoors and conservation as well, sustainable development of parks, public lands and tourism attractions. Robert’s work as an outfitter provides him with an understanding of the lands the GDTA works on, through and some of the bureaucratic bodies the association works alongside. His position within the Equine industry also provides a perspective often under represented in outdoor organizations. 

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