Pam Gluck honored with Roger and Harvey Bell Award

The Professional Trailbuilders Association has honored Pam Gluck with its 2017 Roger and Harvey Bell Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding service to the trails community. The award was presented at the PTBA Trailbuilders Conference in Bend, Oregon, March 15, 2017. Pam provided the following letter in her acceptance of the award.

by Pam Gluck, Executive Director Emeritus, American Trails

Dear PTBA President, Board Members, Executive Director, and Trail Friends,

I wish I was able to be there with you in the gorgeous Bend area to receive PTBA’s Roger and Harvey Bell Lifetime Achievement Award in person. I am so honored and touched that you thought of me. Please know I am with you in spirit and so very humbled to be considered amongst so many remarkable past award recipients.

I have always been one of PTBA's greatest fans. I started as Executive Director of American Trails over 19 years ago. One of the highlights of my career was to serve American Trails’ partnership with PTBA.

I have been especially proud of the National Trails Training Partnership work we did together with generous funding and support from the Federal Highway Administration and the other Federal trail-managing agencies over the years. PTBA was always one of the most active members of the partnership.

I am so very honored to receive the Roger and Harvey Bell Award:

• Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet Harvey. No doubt he was a visionary— having the foresight to cofound the Western TrailBuilders Association way back in 1987. I understand he was quite an unforgettable character and trickster and a lot of fun to be without on the trail. And, that came alive for me as I read about Harvey through his brother’s eyes in Roger’s hilarious, as well as touching book, Trail Tales.

• I have known Roger for over 20 years now. He has been a mentor of mine, one of our American Trails Board members, a peer, and a good friend. His unwavering passion and enthusiasm for designing and building sustainable trails, protecting the environment, getting kids outside and on trails, supporting emerging leaders through the Hulet Hornbeck Scholarship Program, and much more, has been a constant inspiration to me and to others. Roger was always fiercely committed to excellence in trailbuilding. In fact, his work in hybrid-trailbuilding set a new standard for how to creatively and cost-effectively accomplish projects while training and influencing America’s next generation of trailbuilders. Roger wrote many articles over the years that attest to his wise vision for trails and for— well— the future of humankind!

I am excited about how PTBA has grown and flourished over the years:

What visionary and successful leaders Peter and Mike have been! I know PTBA must be very sad to lose Mike in his capacity as your Executive Director. But, I love the continuity of him becoming American Trails’ Executive Director and the ease of continuing the partnership that will facilitate.

I know Scott will also be doing amazing work serving as PTBA’s new ED. Again— that continuity of him also serving on the American Trails Board will be very helpful in the ongoing nurturing and growth of the partnership.

Happy 30th Anniversary! I started working with PTBA way back in the 1990s— when the organization was still called the Western TrailBuilders Association.

I look at some of PTBA’s many successes:

There is something so magical and fulfilling about riding or walking on a beautifully designed and well-built, sustainable trail. You just know they have been “built with love.” And, as you state in your mission statement— PTBA’s work “brings great trails to life.”

I remember early on one of the biggest concerns for PTBA and for the Federal trail-managing agencies was that so many of the expert trailbuilders around the country were retiring and how important recruiting and training the next generation of trailbuilders would be to the future of trails. And— just look at how successful you have been in this effort – with over 90 members now, as well as training expert trailbuilders all across the country!

In my early days with PTBA, I was always so impressed with your Outdoor Trade Show and how much I learned from it and what fun it was. I recall getting to actually drive some of the equipment. My last adventure was on a Canycom dozer [see photo above]. We were never able to pull off as successful of a “trail tools” event at the Symposium. And, with PTBA having the experts to offer cutting-edge sessions and workshops on trailbuilding— joining forces at the Symposium has been a perfect evolution. The American Trails International Trails Symposium, featuring the Professional TrailBuilders Association workshops, technical sessions, and Outdoor Trade Show, has, in my opinion, worked out beautifully, while still allowing each organization to maintain its separate identity and carry out their separate missions.

Your important work ultimately yields happiness, enriches us, makes us healthier, and supplies us with memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you for bringing health and happiness to our world!

Most of you are involved with a trail because you like the idea of it— the vision, and you like being a part of it (as well as making a livelihood). Many of you work on the trail more than you walk or ride on it! You own a piece of it. By “owning” it I mean you have sweat equity in it. You advocate for trails— happy to give of your mental abilities and support, as well as using tools to design, develop, or maintain them.

John Muir once said, “I care to live, only to entice people to look at nature’s liveliness.”

Congratulations to all of you who are generously helping create these beautiful, sustainable trails.

As Bob Searns, American Trails Chair-Emeritus once said, “Our work is noble work.” In short, you have the ability to and do touch the lives of many people.

I’m proud and honored to have been a partner and to have been able to help recognize, support, and promote your great work.

Heading down memory lane writing this letter has been fun. I’ll never forget Woody Keen once sharing in a session that, “Building trails isn’t rocket science. It can be harder than rocket science.” That is so true and has always stuck with me…
I have such admiration for your professionalism, incredible skills, and commitment to the betterment of trails and ultimately of lives across the country and the world.

I greatly appreciate that Stuart is accepting the award on my behalf and for his kindness in reading my letter to you. Stuart— I share this award with you, as well as with the Board and staff of American Trails. As you know, Stuart was my cohort and either he or I or both of us attended a majority of the PTBA conferences over the years, as well as jointly supported and promoted your great work.

Although I have now retired from American Trails, I will always love trails and all the friends I have made along the way and will enjoy continuing to follow your work and successes. I look forward to seeing you out on the lovely trails we have all helped to create…

Thank you again… This award means so much to me in the recognition of my life’s work. Thank you for touching and changing my life…

Best regards,

Pam Gluck
Trail Enthusiast Forever &
Past American Trails Executive Director

About the Author

Pam served as the Executive Director for American Trails from 1997 to 2017.

She has over 30 years of trails and outdoor recreation experience. She owned a hiking, backpacking/cross-country ski touring business for three years and served as the Parks and Recreation Director for the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona for six years. In the latter position, she managed a 580-acre active recreation and open space city park and developed a 200-mile trails system master plan for the region. She also served as the State Trails Coordinator for Arizona for five years. While in this capacity, she co-developed the Arizona State Trails Plan, coordinated the 780-mile Arizona Trail Partnership, managed the Arizona State Trails System, coordinated three state trails conferences, directed the state and federal trails grants programs, developed federal, state, local, and organizational partnerships, and served as staff liaison to the 25-member Arizona State Committee on Trails. Her educational background is in business administration, management and outdoor recreation planning.

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