News, Nonprofit, Salmonberry Trail

Salmonberry Trail Foundation seeks new treasurer, sees leadership change

The nonprofit organization behind the Salmonberry Trail is seeking a new treasurer, and has a new president, among other board leadership changes.

The Salmonberry Trail Foundation put out a call for volunteers to consider joining the board as the organization’s new treasurer because the current treasurer—former Tillamook County Commissioner Bill Baertlein—is planning to step down from the role at the end of 2023 while staying on as a regular board member until at least the end of his current term in May 2024.

That’s according to new President John Vogler, who was voted in as president this month after former STF President Alison Graves, of Buxton, resigned for personal reasons. According to STF spokesperson Gavin Mahaley, Graves plans a return to the board in the summer of 2024. The Salmonberry Trail Foundation website lists Graves as “on leave.”

“Bill has been a long time supporter of the trail,” Vogler said in an email to the Banks Post. “His financial skill, experience and insight of Tillamook County have been so helpful. We are grateful for his service.”

Those looking to join the board as a new treasurer are required to be a “trustworthy and principled individual with a background in non-profit financial management,” the STF said in a posting for the position. It’s hoped that the person who takes the volunteer role will serve for two years, said STF Executive Director Caroline Fitchett in an email to the Banks Post.

The position is supported by a contracted bookkeeper, with responsibilities including overseeing the organization’s budget, ensuing accurate financial reporting, working with the board’s other leadership members as part of the nonprofit’s executive team.

“This role is not just about managing numbers; it’s about stewardship of our resources and ensuring that we have a solid foundation for our future endeavors,” the STF volunteer posting read.

Those looking to become treasurer or find out more information were directed to contact John Vogler at [email protected] or call 971-506-7137.

A fairly quiet entity until recently, the Salmonberry Trail Foundation, which originally emerged as the nonprofit arm of the Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency (STIA) in 2019, has seen a flurry of activity in 2023, hosting volunteer trail clearing events, fundraisers, spearheaded bridge inspections and rail salvage work, and is hosting a series of guided hikes in Washington County along the recently cleared sections of former railway. The group has brought elected officials from local governments like city of Banks Mayor Stephanie Jones all the way to Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici to the trail to urge local, county, state, and congressional support for the Salmonberry Trail.

Prior to the foundation’s creation, the nonprofit aiding STIA was the then-Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust, now called the State Forests Trust of Oregon, which agreed to be the nonprofit fiscal sponsor for STIA as the governing body became established. The two organizations have several ties; both working in similar areas, and also sharing board member—and Tillamook County Board of Commissioner—Erin Skaar, while Alison Graves’ husband, Jay Graves, serves on the State Forests Trust of Oregon board.

Other news

The Salmonberry Trail Foundation noted several other changes in a year-end recap emailed out shortly after we finished writing this story. They include:

  • Caroline Fitchett joined the organization as Executive Director, with Gavin Mahaley joining later as Communications and Development Director.
  • The addition of three new board members: “We’re thrilled to share that our board has grown with the addition of three remarkable members: Michael Neunzert, an experienced mining engineer; Jerry Willey, Washington County Commissioner; and Mike Dennis from The Nature Conservancy’s Government Relations.”
  • Work is being done on the coastal section of the trail, too, with work in Rockaway Beach and Wheeler happening or planned.
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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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