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.
I work at 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 the 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?
Along a different vein, I also value preserving and restoring historic structures in our communities. These buildings have stood the test of time and tell a story about our area, and once they are lost, so too is our heritage. Maybe someday we'll enjoy driving through cookie-cutter suburban streets the same way we do bucolic country roads, but for me that day can wait a while. With that in mind, in 2014 I started the Keweenaw Waterway Lighthouse Conservancy to protect the Lower Entrance Light, a historic lighthouse built in 1920. There are a limited number of lighthouses in the world, and fewer still are not already under some form of protection. I felt it was my duty to stand up for this lonely sentinel. When else would I get the chance to take on such a unique project?