For the second year in a row, Leslie is leading ITA’s first project of the year- the BSU Alternative Spring Break Project! We can only hope this year’s group will be as lucky as last year’s and see mountain goats. Even if not, the crew is fortunate to have an awesome leader like Leslie! Thank you for leading ITA projects and for all you do for Idaho’s trails, Leslie!

What is your background in? What are some of the things you enjoy doing for fun?

I am a fifth generation Idahoan and grew up on a farm bordered by the Boise River. My love of the outdoors was fostered early on via hours spent exploring and camping on the river and family pack trips into Idaho’s backcountry. I learned the value of service to others from my mother, and have been a life-long volunteer. My work career includes substitute teaching, office management and bookkeeping. I was fortunate to live for 30 years in the Sun Valley area, a place where I was able to considerably broaden my outdoor experience, and where friends introduced me to peak bagging; I love the challenge of attaining a summit as well as the magnificent views. I now live in Lewison where I continue to explore trails new to me, and am involved with the Hells Canyon Recreation Collaborative. My husband and I enjoy travel, camping, hiking, backpacking, skiing and spending time with friends.

How and why did you first get involved with ITA? What are the different ways you’ve volunteered for ITA over the years?

I became involved in ITA because of John Platt! I stayed with him and Julie the night before doing a week-long trip with the SBFCF in 2017, at which time John extolled the virtues of ITA. My first ITA project was in 2019, via Camas Creek to the Middle Fork of the Salmon and was led by John McCarthy. A few years passed and I won the membership raffle to join ITA’s staff and board for a week-long trail project; it was inspirational to work alongside the passionate individuals who lead ITA. After another week-long trip in the Mallard-Larkin, my commitment to ITA grew to leading my first project last year. This year I am leading two projects, and will do a third.

What do you like about volunteering on trails?

First of all, I enjoy meeting folks who appreciate Idaho’s beauty as much as I do. Secondly, I choose projects that allow me to experience a new place. Working with others, seeing progress, and knowing we are making these spectacular areas more accessible to others fills me with joy.

Most memorable backcountry or ITA experience?

During a spring break project with BSU college students, one of the participants stated her dream was to see a mountain goat. Another participant stated the odds were poor; however, on our third night at camp, not only did the group see a mountain goat, we saw three! Two…named Billy Bob and Peggy Sue by the students…were grazing cliffs above our camp while Lonesome Larry watched the happy couple from across the deep river gorge. We observed, entranced, until the sun set. This was a special and memorable wilderness experience for all.

Why are trails worth protecting?

Trails are worth protecting so that people who want to experience nature in its highest form can access the Wilderness. Being able to hike or take pack stock on a well-built and maintained trail allows a more enjoyable and safer experience for the public.

Leslie (second from right) on the 2022 Fawn Lake Project