As a senior at Williams in 1982 I thought it might be fun to bike across the country. I'd spent the previous summer in Glacier National Park and there was something about the Great Plains that stretch off to the east of Glacier that made me want to ride my bike across that vast emptiness. Problem was, I'd never been on a bike trip (and I didn't own a bike). Undaunted, I talked a friend into joining me, we bought bikes, and I read a book about bike touring. All set.
Some 3,000 miles later we reached the Pacific (after crossing the Continental Divide at 12,183' on Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park). Success, pure and simple. But the trip was much more than that: it was the most fun I had ever had, I made a great friend, I was challenged in all kinds of ways, and, at the end, I had a singular accomplishment—one that has stayed with me to this day.
When I started Overland in 1984, I sought to create experiences for kids that mirrored my cross country bike trip: experiences that were, first and foremost, fun, where new friendships could grow, where there were real and varied challenges, and where, at the end, our participants would have achieved something of importance to them. From modest beginnings—36 boys and girls came with us our first summer—Overland has grown over the decades so that now we serve over 2,200 young people every summer on hiking, biking, service, and language programs on five continents.
As Overland grew, so did my family. Liz and I were married at the end of Overland's first summer, Cate came along in 1992 and Luke was born in 1994. As a family we've always spent time outdoors hiking and biking. What's more, both kids have spent extended time in two of our country's most treasured public lands: Cate spent six summers in Rocky Mountain National Park, and Luke spent his gap year before college training for Nordic ski racing in the Sawtooth National Forest.
With our kids grown and Overland flourishing, Liz and I are eager to invest our energies in organizations whose missions resonate with our life-long interests. For me, the National Park Trust's efforts to broaden access to our public lands—both for its inherent and immediate benefits (a day outdoors!) as well as for its social justice and stewardship values—is compelling (the Trust's efforts in these areas mirror our own efforts to create a robust financial aid, scholarship, and endowment program to broaden access to Overland's programs).