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Our People

With more than 50 years in the hiking trails business, the Keystone Trails Association is fortunate to have accrued a lot of friends and dedicated volunteers.

We're proud to introduce our talented and dedicated staff members, board of directors and representatives who support KTA's work through outreach, program management, advocacy, administration and more. Meet them here until you can meet them on the trail!



Staff Print
Sara Haxby, Program Administrator
Email: shaxby@kta-hike.org
Phone: 717-766-9690

Sara Haxby has been KTA’s Program Administrator since June 2015. She grew up in New England, working in outdoor retail and office administration in between traveling and backpacking adventures. Sara graduated from William Smith College in New York with a B.A. in Socialization Across Cultures, a degree she designed to satisfy her diverse interests.

She first backpacked through Pennsylvania during her 2009 thruhike of the Appalachian Trail. After her hike, and a thruhike of Vermont’s Long Trail, she took over management of an outfitter in Hanover, New Hampshire. She focused on serving the hiker community (the AT was 1 block from the front door), and organized events and partnerships with the local business community and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

When she moved to Pennsylvania in 2015, she began volunteering with the Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club. Through a lucky encounter, she heard about an opportunity to work for the Keystone Trails Association, and leapt at the chance. She is thrilled to work toward fulfilling KTA’s mission.

 

At the Keystone Trails Association, Sara is responsible for event planning and execution, volunteer coordination, website development, editing the newsletter, merchandise sales, social networking, growing the member base, and building partnerships to further KTA’s mission.

 

 

Joseph Neville, Executive Director
Email: jneville@kta-hike.org
Phone: 717-766-9690
 
Joe Neville has been Keystone Trails Association's Executive Director since June, 2015.
 
Joe began a career in conservation in the 1980’s that included a stint teaching environmental education, working with various non-profit organizations including the Girl Scouts and the PA Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, and most recently with 15 years of employment with the Commonwealth.
 
Joe is an avid outdoorsman, a life member of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and several other outdoor organizations. Joe holds a B.S. in Biology from Penn State University, a B.S. in Recreation from Penn State University and a M.S. in Recreation Administration from Eastern Kentucky University.
 
He is committed to continuing the effort to preserve and enhance Pennsylvania’s remarkable trail system. By working with our members, volunteers, supporters and partners he will continue to seek innovative ways to promote and protect trails while providing extraordinary hiking in Pennsylvania.
 
Joe, his wife Susan, and their daughters reside in Mechanicsburg, PA.
 
Board of Directors Print

 

President: Paul Shaw, Sunbury, PA

A resident of Sunbury, PA, Paul Shaw is a lifelong hiker and backpacker. A Life member of KTA, Paul joined KTA in the 1970s. He first served as Conservation Chair, and from 2006-2008 Paul served as KTA’s first Executive Director. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 2009 and has been the volunteer Director of the Susquehanna Super Hike since its first year. Paul also leads the Super Hike Preview Hikes, was a co-leader of last year’s Chuck Keiper Slack Pack and is the organizer of KTA’s hiking trip to Ireland’s Dingle Way.

Paul is a founding member of the Mid State Trail Association and has maintained a section of the MST for many years. While he says choosing a favorite trail is like choosing a favorite child, he is frequently found on the Quehanna Trail. (Ask him about camping next to a rattlesnake den.) A self-described Luddite, Paul always carries a trail map in his pack. Paul is co-owner of Treks & Trails International, an adventure travel service that provides “hiking adventures of a lifetime” to destinations in the U.S. and around the world.

Favorite trail quote: “Just one more climb to go!” -Paul

Vice President: Ernest Werstler, Stevens, PA

 

Ernest (Ernie) W. Werstler, Jr. lives in Reamstown, PA but was born and raised in Boyertown, PA. In 2008, he retired after 22 years as Business Manager/Board Secretary for the Exeter Township School District. Prior to working at Exeter, Ernie held several accounting and financial management positions in the Reading area.

Ernie has hiked a lot of trails in Pennsylvania as well as some in New York and West Virginia. It's hard for him to pick a favorite, but he has come back to the Mid State Trail many times over the years. His favorite gear includes boots that stay dry and tents that don't leak. As far as a favorite trail story, Ernie can’t decide between the “Velcro and the Bear in the Campsite” or “Proving White Men Can Jump by stepping on a Rattlesnake.”

Why join KTA? Ernie says "The only way the many trails we have in Pennsylvania will remain is by each of us getting involved. Joining KTA was another way to get involved and try to ensure my grandchildren will have trails to hike."

 

Treasurer: Rob Altenburg, New Cumberland, PA
 
Rob is an avid hiker and is director of the PennFuture Energy Center. Based in Harrisburg, he has been with the statewide organization since January 2014. Before coming to PennFuture, he spent nearly 22 years with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Initially working in the Bureau of Air Quality on computer models and procedures to forecast pollution levels, he then served as an executive policy specialist in the department's policy office advising the governor's office and DEP's executive staff on a variety of environmental and public health issues.
A native of Pennsylvania, Altenburg holds a B.S. in Earth Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, a certificate from Penn State University in Geographic Information Systems, and a J.D. (cum laude) from the Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

 

Secretary: James Foster, Mechanicsburg, PA

 

From Jim: "I got bitten by the hiking bug several years ago. Since then, I have thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), the John Muir Trail in the High Sierras of California, and the Long Trail in Vermont. Outside of the United States, I have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, hiked trails in New Zealand, completed the "W" Trail in Patagonia, South America, and explored the beautiful Dingle Way in Ireland. I've been an active trail maintainer for several years, personally maintaining a one-mile section of the Appalachian Trail in Cumberland County. I am the immediate past President of the Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club. I am currently an active volunteer at the Appalachian Trail Museum, serving as chair of the A.T. Hall of Fame selection committee and the banquet committee. I enjoy leading hiking and backpacking trips in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Retired from the practice of law, I live near Enola, PA."

 
Kathryn Barker, Carlisle, PA
 
Kathryn (Katie) Barker's love of the outdoors began with family trips to National Parks and continued at Girl Scout Camps in Wisconsin. She served on the Board of Directors of the Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club for 14 years, including five as President, and chaired the Hikes Committee for the 2001 Appalachian Trail Conference held in Shippensburg, PA. She has served on the KTA council for over a decade, and now leads children's hikes, along with her husband Sam and daughters Kelly and Hannah. Katie serves with KTA in appreciation for two valuable resources: Pennsylvania's beautiful trails and the volunteers who help keep them open. She wants to help KTA advocate for hikers and work for the protection of Pennsylvania's natural beauty.
 
 
Robert Best, York, PA
 
Bob shares: "I started hiking when I was living and teaching in the public schools in the Wilmington, Delaware area, following stints in the U.S. Army and graduate school. As a member of the Wilmington Trail Club, I participated in day hikes up into Pennsylvania on the Appalachian Trail, the Horseshoe Trail and others. I hiked in the WTC’s End-To-End super hike many times and actually came in first in one of them.
 
After I moved to York in 1980 to work as a Programmer/Analyst for York International, I spent more time running than hiking. Then about six years ago I put aside running to get back into hiking, as a result of having a hip replacement and being told not to run. I participated in KTA's very first week-long Trail Care event, and many thereafter (as well as some of the weekend trail care events). Hiking and trail care folks are the best people to be acquainted with -- even though they tend to mostly talk about trail care and hiking stuff. Besides, where else can you become friends with chipmunks, snakes, deer, and bears (yep I encountered one of them on the trail – face to face)? Yes, I also have a few Trail Care stories to tell. Now, after retirement, I am an adjunct with the Harrisburg Area Community College and agreed to take on some extra work as a Board Member of the KTA. I will look for you out on the trail!
 
 
Dave Gantz, State College, PA
 
 
 
Dave is a long distance hiker who has hiked most of the backpacking trails in PA. He has been serving as a Keystone TrailsAssociation Representative-At-Large since October, 2015. He also spends a significant amount of time encouraging others to explore the outdoors. He does this through employment at Appalachian Outdoors, as a backpacking leadership instructor at PSU, and by volunteering to lead hikes with several different organizations. Dave maintains a section of the AFT and has authored two guide books (Old Loggers Path and the Chuck Keiper Trail).
 
 
 
 
 
Jack Hauler, Malvern, PA
 
 
Jack is an optometrist in Malvern PA. In recent years, his outdoor interests have evolved from running and trail running to hiking and backpacking. As an avid hiker and backpacker, he “found” KTA and has been a frequent participant in slackpack and hiking weekend events. Jack brings extensive volunteer Board experience to KTA; most recently, he served on the Board of his local library, where he provided leadership in fundraising and advocacy efforts. He is the founder of the Optometric Service Group, providing voluntary optometric services to developing and underserved countries. As a KTA Board member, Jack has a particular interest in expanding KTA membership to include, among others, young people and trail runners.
 
 
Bob Merrill, Jersey Shore, PA
 
 
Bob retired from DCNR and the Bureau of Forestry after a 32-year career that included service as the District Forester for Moshannon State Forest. In that capacity, he coordinated the expansion of recreation opportunities in the forest, including the Quehanna Trail System. Bob was also a Program Specialist for the Bureau of Forestry in Harrisburg. He has been an avid hiker for over 40 years and currently maintains sections of the Quehanna and Allegheny Front Trails. Today, he owns a forestry services consulting business. Bob will bring many years of recreation management experience on public lands to KTA's Board of Directors. As a Board member, Bob has a particular interest in preserving Pennsylvania’s endangered hiking trails.
 
Donna Thompson, Millville, PA
 
 
Donna is employed as a sales data analyst for Kydex LLC in Bloomsburg PA. She is a member of the Mid State Trail Association, Alpine Club of Williamsport and Susquehanna Trailers, and maintains two sections of the Mid State Trail. Over the past three years, she has become a very active participant in KTA’s Trail Care events, very much enjoying the sense of accomplishment and camaraderie these events provide. She is also a big fan of the KTA hiking weekends and the Prowl the Sproul event. As a KTA Board member, Donna has a particular interest in the support and continued success of the Trail Care program.
 

 

 
Representatives-at-Large Print
Joyce Appel, East Brady, PA
Diane Buscarini, Gouldsboro, PA
Jim Catozzi, Newton PA
Ben Cramer, State College, PA 
Carl Davis, Shippensburg, PA
Cecil Dobbins, Akron, OH
Linda Enders Roxberry, Shillington, PA
Henry Frank, Philadelphia, PA
Wayne Gross, Canadensis, PA
Vicki Porto, Carlisle PA
Jennifer Ulmer, Millville, PA
Barbara Van Horn, Duncannon, PA
 
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