Doug Borthwick, President
Shortly after hiking the GDT in 2010, Doug volunteered to help Friends of the Great Divide Trail on yearly maintenance trips. After the new Great Divide Trail Association was reinvigorated in 2013 he became a trip leader and helped expand the scope and amount of yearly maintenance and trail building. In 2018, Doug became a board member and was elected President in 2021. His hope and passion is that the Great Divide Trail gets the recognition and protection it so richly deserves as one of the best premier long distance hikes in the world and that all that wish get to one day experience the wonders of this magnificent Canadian treasure.
Ben Millen, Vice-President & Trail Protection and Advocacy Chair
Ben joined the board in 2020 after thru-hiking the GDT solo earlier the same year. His time on the trail provided an opportunity to experience the ways that the regions and trail systems along the divide are connected, and to reflect on the various human pressures acting on the region. Joining the board with a background in governance and an interest public policy, Ben has found a place as chair of the Trail Protection and Advocacy committee.
Donna Rutherford, Secretary
Donna joined the GDTA Board as secretary in 2019, motivated by love of the trail, which she is gradually hiking in sections. She is passionate about both being in the wild and caring for our environment, and so is very pleased to be contributing to an organization whose values include connecting to nature, respecting the wilderness environment, and stewardship. Donna is now retired and brings organizational and communication skills from her background in addiction and mental health services program evaluation and quality improvement to her role in the GDTA.
Jeff Gruttz, Chair
Going for forest walks at 5 years old with sister and dad to enable Sunday morning peace and quiet time for mom seems to have started a career and volunteer path for Jeff. An end-to-end walk in 1968 on Vermont’s 438 km Long Trail at 16 years of age cemented a ‘trails’ passion. Jeff is a founding member of the (1975) GDTA and rejoined the ‘reinvigorated’ organization and board in 2012. Committee service includes Trail Building and Maintenance, Safety and Environment. Trail experiences should start at our doorsteps and lead to the variety of all our destinations including the GDT!
Mandi Parkin, Vice-Chair
Mandi joined the GDTA Board in 2022. With a Bachelor’s degree in Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership from Mount Royal University, she has over 10 year’s experience facilitating meaningful opportunities and promoting access, inclusion and safety in the outdoors. Mandi believes in the GDTA’s vision and is excited to lend her skills and enthusiasm while working with other members to forward the GDTA’s mission.
Gina Guild, CPA, Treasurer
Gina has been on the GDTA board since 2020. She has section-hiked much of the trail SOBO (from the Skyline trail down to the border in Waterton) over the years since 2016.
Bhawan Waraich, Treasurer (In training)
Bhawan joined the board in 2022 and currently training to be the next treasurer. He joined the board because organizations such as the GDTA help provide access to the outdoors, and because trail building as it brings him so much joy! Bhawan believes that spending time outdoors is one of the most important factors in physical and mental well-being of the members of our community, and he wants to do what he can to help this.9
Kristine O’Rielly, Director
Kristine has been on the GDTA Board since 2022 and has been living in the GDT-region for the past 7 years. She is an apprentice hiking guide with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and can be found regularly hiking and skiing in the Canadian Rockies. She has volunteer experience with a number of conservation organizations including the Alpine Club of Canada, Parks Canada, Yellowstone to Yukon and CPAWS. Kristine’s mantra is that conservation is a team sport and she believes we can get further by partnering with like-minded organizations who are working toward our shared goal of preserving the wilderness of the GDT region. She hopes to use her skills, passion and creativity to help the GDTA advance its’ goals during her term.
Meaghan Underhill, Director
Meaghan has been on the GDTA Board since 2021, is a professional fundraiser by trade, an active member of the Ensuring Financial Capacity Committee, and has been building trail every summer since 2020. Originally from the Maritimes, she quickly fell in love with the mountains after backpacking solo to Mt. Assiniboine in 2018 (her first trip ever) and since then has hiked thousands of kilometres through the Rockies, Sierra Nevadas, and other wild places around the world. She joined the GDTA because she believes the Association plays an integral role in empowering all of us who love adventure and the wilderness.
Austin Hager, Outreach Chair
Austin has been on the GDTA Board since 2021 and is the chair of the Outreach Committee. Having thru-hiked the trail NOBO in 2021 he knew he wanted to find a way to give back to the trail and help others in their experience on the Great Divide Trail. He is always open to ideas, feedback or questions about the trail so feel free to reach out anytime.
Lisa Belanger, Director
Lisa has been on the GDTA Board since 2022. She joined the GDTA because she believes long trails are special, and allow us to experience the wilderness in a unique and powerful way while playing an important role in its protection. She is committed to contributing whatever energy, skills, and passion she can to support the GDTA’s mission, and continue the work that countless others have started. Lisa brings her professional experience in operations in the non-profit sector, as well as a lifetime’s love of outdoor adventures.
Erin Colwell, Director
Erin joined the GDTA Board in 2022 with the goal of combining a passion for advocacy with a love of the outdoors. Erin hopes to serve the many hikers that enjoy the Great Divide Trail and get to know the trail better during her tenure on the Board.
Kate Hamilton, Executive Director
Kate began volunteer trail building with the GDTA in 2020 and quickly became attached to the trail and the volunteers, which is why she put her name forward for this role. Kate deeply values connection with the environment inspiring stewardship and protection, movement outdoors for mental and physical health, and access and inclusion to outdoor recreation for everyone. She hopes that her contributions will help the Great Divide Trail to be preserved and maintained for generations to come.