264 views • posted 09/27/2023 • updated 09/27/2023
Bob Walker, Montana Trails Coalition
Name: Bob Walker
Organization: Montana Trails Coalition
Yearly pay or salary range: Up to $49K
How long been in your current position?
Chair for 5 years. Previously Montana State Trails Programs Manager.
Describe your path into this career and this job.I was employed as the Trails Programs Manager for the State of Iowa for 5 years. Prior to that time, I was the Administrator of Iowa's County Conservation System. In that capacity I advised counties on park, recreation and conservation programs and design of facilities including trails. I also managed Iowa's Snowmobile and OHV grant programs. I served as the Chair of the International Association of Snowmobile Administrators and Chair of the International OHV Administrators Association. During my degree program at Iowa State University, I was a member of the Cross Country team and competed in the AAU series. Also ran trails for exercise and pleasure in high school.
What specific tasks do you do on an average day in this position?
We provide trail and recreation design, management and funding information to 300 trail, recreation and conservation organizations and individuals. We help organize training and information sharing conferences. Our primary effort is to bring diverse trail organizations together to work, collaborate and cooperate on statewide issues and programs and find common ground. Our Board of Directors is comprised of non-motorized and motorized, urban and rural, wilderness and non-wilderness advocates and organizations. Advisors include all primary state and federal land managing agencies. During state legislation sessions, we provide weekly reports describing trails and recreation bills under consideration and their potential impacts, and provide bi-weekly webinars discussing those bills.
What do you love about your job?
I love the people and organizations to which they belong. It is inspiring to see the dedication of the professionals and volunteers who provide recreation and healthy opportunities to others. And I find major joy and satisfaction when we can bring groups of people together who might normally be in opposition to each other and find common ground and solutions to seemingly unsolvable challenges.
Do you have any words of advice for those who might be interested in this type of work?
The most important advice I can give is be open-minded, flexible and understanding. Emerging leaders have developed their attitudes and viewpoints based on their experience, their information sources and the people with whom they are surrounded. Listen and understand why they feel the way they do. Many times after a complicated discussion I have found myself thinking "I didn't know that or I had not thought of that"! Most importantly, be a good listener!