ORA Trails Staff
Jed would play in the dirt all day if we let him. He has been back and forth across the globe following one adventure after another by bike, board, or boots. When it came time to raise a family, he and his wife, Kelly, paused just long enough to plant a few roots in the Driftless Area, and then started the adventures all over again, this time with kids in tow. La Crosse and the surrounding area offer all the recreation possibilities they could ever ask for accompanied by a warm welcoming sense of community. Jed loves that he can pick his kids up from school, hit the woods, slopes, or water, and still have dinner on the table before his wife gets home from work. By serving as the ORA Trails Executive Director, he has an opportunity to improve and highlight this beautiful place he calls home.
Liz is the head of the art department at Blue Steel Bikes, which she co-owns with her husband, Paul. From volunteering at local events such as Moon Tunes, Bike Fest, La Crosse Omnium, Hixon 50, Hixon Epic, to spending time working as rider support staff for JDRF Ride for a Cure, Tour of America’s Dairyland, and Door County Century, interacting with people at Monday Night Trailwork is still her favorite. You will see Liz out hiking the many local trails all year round, sometimes stopping to smell the flowers, putting her hands in the fresh snow, or foraging for mushrooms. She is excited to go on this journey with ORA Trails and help build more trails close to home, for everyone.
Jillian and her husband, Jeremy, can be found year-round on the Coulee Region's trails, bluffs, and waterways, oftentimes with their three adventure dogs nearby. Jillian loves traveling and new experiences, making La Crosse the perfect homebase given its wide range of outdoor recreation opportunities. As an alum of UW-La Crosse's Recreation Management Program and an outdoor advocate, she couldn't be more excited to be part of ORA Trails family and help drive its mission of providing trails for everyone.
ORA Trails Board
Randi and her husband, Erik, are the owners of Smith's Bike Shop. Randi is always volunteering in the community and thought ORA would be the perfect organization to put her time and energy into. You can find Randi and her family biking or running around the Driftless Area throughout every season. She is excited to share her love for outdoor recreation with everyone.
Chris is an Academic Advisor at Western Technical College and is proud to be a part of the La Crosse community. Chris truly enjoys the vast opportunities available in the Driftless Area, including fishing, hiking, trail running, and cycling on road and off. His wife, Anna, and two children love spending time outdoors too. For all these reasons, Chris is proud to serve on the ORA board and help protect, promote and develop the resources that we have available.
Carrie is a partner at Johnson Block CPAs. She and her family are avid outdoor users, and most weekends you can find her trail running, mountain biking with her husband and 2 kids, or boating on the river. She is proud to be a part of ORA and feels incredibly lucky to live in a place with amazing recreational opportunities at her doorstep.
Scott is a professor of biology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and became a member of the ORA board in January of 2014. He has been actively involved in grooming and maintaining the ski trails in Hixon Forest Park. Scott Cooper is active in endurance sports including cross country skiing, triathlon, kayaking, and biking. His top achievements include qualifying for the elite wave in the Birkebeiner and the Ironman in Kona Hawaii.
Kurt Schroeder is an architect and Chief Operations Officer for HSR Associates and has been involved with ORA since its inception when it began as Human Powered Trails in 1999. Kurt is an outdoor, silent sport enthusiast who enjoys giving back to the community and improving the venues for activity. Kurt was elected President of ORA, yet he thoroughly enjoys working on the trails, driving the snowmobile-ski groomer and having people say,
“these trails are great!“
Michael Borst is a Physical Therapist, running coach, ultramarathon runner, and casual biker. As a Physical Therapist with Dynamic Performance and Therapy, Michael works everyday to keep people active and out enjoying everything the Driftless Region and La Crosse has to offer. He enjoys being an active volunteer, building and maintaining trails in Upper and Lower Hixon through ORA. He is also one of the Race Directors for the Hixon 50, the Race Director for the La Crosse Marathon and Half Marathon, and President of the River City Running Club.
Ralph Heath is an author, consultant, and keynote speaker on innovative leadership, marketing, and wellness. Ralph was a founding member of Human Powered Trails, and past president (5 years) of Mississippi Valley Conservancy. Ralph is a four-time Triathlon All-American, two-time finisher of the Hawaii Ironman, and passionate hiker and biker. Ralph is writing a follow-up book to his best selling Celebrating Failure: The Power of Taking Risks, Making Mistakes, and Thinking Big. Ralph helps organizations with leadership, branding, and public relations.
Brian is a sales representative for CPC Printing & Promotions, a niche printing company whose primary focus is magazines, catalogs and direct mail. Brian became involved with HPT/ORA in 2012 to act as a service project conduit for his son’s BSA troop. A fourth generation Wisconsinite, Brian firmly believes understanding our ancestor history provides us with a foundation to community pride. He and his family are 4 season outdoor recreationalists. His most rewarding achievement is skiing the Kortelopet with his then 13 year old son.
Paul has enjoyed outdoor recreation his entire life and is now working to preserve outdoor recreational opportunities for future generations as a way of giving back. He believes that outdoor recreation provides so many health benefits and by supporting more opportunities to participate in outdoor activities we will see a vibrancy in the local community that will strengthen it economically and from a whole person perspective. Environmental health and wellness can make a significant impact locally. Paul is excited to be part of such a group of outdoor minded individuals that works with local government to enhance those outdoor recreational opportunities.
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks,” John Muir. Whether it involves walking, bike riding, skiing or paddling, Mr. Muir’s words ring true for Rick. The Driftless Area provides the very best opportunities for someone to experience these outdoor adventures. The Outdoor Recreation Alliance seeks to give more people more opportunities to experience the “John Muir effect.” This is why he is a board member.
Lisa is a mom of two littles, a lover of the outdoors, and a teacher at heart. The beauty of the driftless region and the outdoor activities it offers is what brought her husband, Jesse, and children to La Crosse a few years ago. You can usually find Lisa and Jesse on a bike year-round, whether it's exploring coulees on road bikes, racing trails on mountain bikes, or exploring the winter woods on fat bikes. As a family, they also enjoy fly-fishing, hiking, snow-shoeing, kayaking, and exploring new places!