Board of Directors

Lisa Belanger, President

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.

Austin Hager, Vice-President and 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.

Ben Millen

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. 

Katie Copeland, Secretary

Katie joined the GDTA Board as secretary in 2023. She is an avid backpacker and hiker, whose love of long trails was sparked when she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016. She is passionate about protecting our local trails, which enable us to appreciate and connect with nature. Katie holds a BSc in Mathematics and a BA in Economics and works as an economic consultant.

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!

Steve Harvey, Vice-Chair and IT Security and Solutions Chair

Steve met his wife thru-hiking the PCT in 2016, and the two hiked the GDT as their honeymoon in 2021. Falling in love on the trail must be in his nature because he’s returned to do trail maintenance every year since. He has been the chair of the GDTA’s IT committee since 2022, and was elected to the board in 2023. He hopes to see the Great Divide Trail become well known in the hearts and minds of all Canadians and protected as a source of national pride.6. 

Bhawan Waraich

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.

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.

Glenn Mason, Director

Glenn joined the Board in 2021 after deciding to section-hike the GDT. Retired from the federal public service, Glenn led the Lands and Minerals Sector and the Canadian Forest Service at Natural Resources Canada. With a passion for hiking and paddling, Glenn brings expertise in strategic planning, policy development, and stakeholder management. Glenn serves on the Trail Protection and Advocacy Committee and is keen to create a sustainable future for the Great Divide Trail Association and its stakeholders.

Tara Fleming, Director

Tara is a senior marketing and communications professional with 20+ years of experience in project management, digital marketing/communications, public relations, stakeholder engagement and event management. She has worked with a diverse roster of clients, from world-class brands such as Dell, Best Buy and Brookfield Residential to local start-ups and charities such as The Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services and the Glenbow Museum. Tara is an avid volunteer, cyclist, hiker, backpacker and skier.

Staff

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.

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