I'm a strong believer in protecting what makes our communities special. I'm a regional planner by training, and I value what makes one town or place stand out from the rest. If everything looked the same, why go there? You might as well stay home if your destination is identical to where you began. Creating a sense of identity is important, whether that's in a big city or a tiny town.
My main gig is with the Copper Harbor Trails Club, a nonprofit organization that develops and maintains non-motorized trails in and around Michigan's northernmost outpost. We are an advocate for outdoor recreation in a town where bikes easily outnumber people, in a region where success is judged by how many pairs of boots you've worn through, not how many bedrooms your house has. Being outside in the Keweenaw is a way of life, whether you bike, ski, hike, paddle, or run - I would know. As CHTC's Executive Director, I am a champion for the Keweenaw's varied and growing trail network. Without groups like ours creating opportunities for low-impact recreation, where would future Nathan Invincibles roam?
Over the years I've acquired a number of related side hustles. I've teamed up with the Visit Keweenaw to provide blog content on a regular basis encouraging people to explore our beautiful area. Our Wilderness Adventures collection is a growing resource for would-be Copper Country visitors. I'm proud to share my knowledge of where to go and what to see, and hope to do so on a larger scale in the future!
While Finlandia University was operational, I was an Adjunct Instructor where I led a hiking course in the fall and a snowshoeing course in the spring. I loved it because I get to share cool places with students who otherwise wouldn't have the gumption, know-how, or gear to get out and explore their surroundings. Plus, I got to be outside even more! Unfortunately, after 126 years Finlandia shut down in 2023 and the fun came to an end.
In addition to creating places to go adventure, encouraging others to go on adventures, and adventuring myself, I also semi-professionally keep up on my photography side hustles. I spread my photos far and wide, from planning documents at WUPPDR to informational brochures, websites, billboards, and any number of random spots you might not have noticed. You can read up more about those on my photography page.
Prior to working at the Copper Harbor Trails Club, I worked with the Keweenaw Land Trust as a Project Coordinator, protecting and stewarding natural places across the Copper Country. I also spent 5 summers working with Michigan Tech Summer Youth Programs as their in-house photographer. Maybe you're noticing a trend in my workplaces of choice...