Bryce wins the award for being the ITA crew leader and supporter that lives the furthest away! While living in Idaho, he discovered ITA and worked his way up to leading crews. He moved to Taiwan to be closer to his wife but still makes the trip back to work with ITA in the summer when he can. Besides volunteering, he is also a strong financial supporter who donated to ITA’s Annual Membership Drive match to inspire others supporters to give on the last day of the drive. We so appreciate Bryce and the many ways he continues to support ITA from afar!
What is your background in? What do you like to do for fun?
My educational background is in Materials Engineering and French and I have a day job as an engineer in the semiconductor industry. I ended up in Taiwan out of a desire to be closer to my wife, originally from Taiwan and who had relocated back earlier than me to look after her father, and also try out a new life adventure. To get over, I applied for a research and development position in Taiwan with my company, who has locations here, and was accepted into the department.
In my free time, I greatly enjoy any sort of bipedal movement outdoors whether that be walking, running, hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing. When I’m feeling a bit less adventurous or outdoorsy, I sincerely enjoy cooking, bookbinding and studying foreign or fictional languages.
How and why did you first get involved with ITA? What are the different ways you’ve volunteered for ITA over the years?
I first discovered trail maintenance when I was living in Virginia. I was doing a lot of trail running and participating in ultramarathons and I had this nagging curiosity of how trails were being maintained. Through the ultramarathon community, I serendipitously received an email about an opportunity to tackle a few trail maintenance projects and the rest is history. When I was in the process of moving to Idaho, the gentleman with whom I had worked on VA trails told me to look up ITA if I was interested in continuing to do trail work. Naturally, I did and quickly became a member in 2017. Since then, I’ve slowly worked on building my ITA resume!
2017 Became an ITA Member
2018 Middle Fork Payette Maintenance
2019 Gospel Hump Monitoring
2020 Salmo-Priest Monitoring
2020 Seven Devils Monitoring
2020 Gospel Hump Monitoring
2020 Middle Fork Payette Maintenance
2021 Crew Leader College
2021 Gospel Hump Monitoring
2021 Cuddy Mountain Monitoring
2022 Crew Leader College
2022 Cabin Creek Maintenance
What do you like about volunteering with ITA?
There are a lot of things I love about volunteering with ITA! From the smell of freshly-cut everything to being able to explore little-known spectacular Wilderness areas to opening up new/old trails for everyone to explore. I also love all the people that I have met through my ITA experiences, there’s just something magical about quickly forming a team, slowing down to nature’s pace, putting in some hard work on trails together, dealing with and/or accepting whatever weather arrives, and then being able to share stories back at camp or even back at home later.
Most memorable backcountry or ITA experience?
All of my ITA trips have been uniquely memorable and each one stands out clearly in my head so perhaps I will default to selecting the most recent one since it might be the most fresh in my mind. ITA’s 2022 Cabin Creek project was a fly-in trail work project where the team met up in McCall to take a small Cessna into the wilderness. This was my first trip in such a small aircraft so it was quite an exhilarating experience even if it was probably a standard run-of-the-mill flight for our trusty pilot. However, getting out after the trail work project proved to be a whole other adventure. Waiting patiently at the backcountry airstrip with all our gear, we first got message that the plane would be about an hour delayed. A later message indicated a multiple hour delay so we decided to head down to an old cabin that was just a short walk from the airstrip. After several hours, we received our next instructions that the pilot was on his way to come pick us up and would be arriving shortly. We needed to have everything ready to go right-away in order to not get caught in the storm that was brewing and heading in our direction. Sure enough, a little while later we could see our trusty pilot dip into the valley, make a perfect landing onto the strip, and finally make a quick T-turn at the end in order to load our gear and be ready to take off. We naturally wasted no time loading the plane and we were soon on our way. Up in the air, it was the same exhilarating experience as the trip in but now greatly magnified with the black and gray storm wall that we were trying to navigate around in order to get back to McCall. Witnessing the power of the storm that up close and personal left me awestruck and maybe a bit nervous! The pilot made a daring couple of attempts to navigate through/around/over/under the storm but nature wasn’t willing to cooperate. Low on fuel, we ended up landing at Pistol Creek Ranch, a private ranch in the middle of the Frank where we needed to spend the night to wait out the storm and wait for another plane to arrive with more fuel. We passed the time by finishing off our backpacking food, playing some ping pong, and reading various books. The next morning, the storm had cleared. We were able to refuel and fly safely back to McCall.
Why are trails worth protecting?
I think trails are worth protecting because they help lure us out into nature, and it’s been well proven that getting out in nature provides countless benefits. I feel trails also connect us to each other, whether that be in the more literal and historical context of a trail connecting towns or maybe a more modern and figurative context of sharing stories about experiences on a particular trail or wilderness area.