Home ] Trail Maintenance ] Calendar ] Plant of the Month ] Membership ] History ] About Us ] Links ] Supporters ]


We'd like to acknowledge and thank our volunteers for their tireless efforts in making the Backbone Trek an enjoyable and memorable experience for all:

Ruth Gerson - President SMMTC Board of Directors
Ruth Gerson has been a board member since 1979, serving as Secretary and Treasurer in the early years and as President in the last 13 years. An Agoura resident since 1975, Ruth has been riding her horses in the Santa Monica Mountains for 40 years, enjoying the trails for pleasure and endurance riding, while savoring the beauty, the wildlife and the serenity. Besides riding horses, she enjoys cooking, fishing, camping and horse packing both here and in the Sierras. She is involved in various equestrian organizations promoting public access to public lands for horseback riding, keeping the federal backcountry lands open for historic saddle and pack stock, helping to build the equestrian campground in Malibu Creek State Park, and ensuring that horses continue to be part of agriculture. As President, her focus has been to address the trails themselves and the many additional issues that affect trails access, easements, connections, maintenance and safety. She feels that it is vital to develop trail camps along the Backbone Trail. She strives for the Trails Council to maintain a presence within the community to educate people about the irreplaceable resource in trails and to collaborate with the land agencies in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA).

Burt Elliott - Van Driver, Hike Leader/Sweep
Burt retired as an Engineering Division Head on the Navy test range at Point Mugu. He participated in all seven BBTreks so far, and also was co-coordinator for the Ventura County Coastwalk for eleven years. He has been hike leader/sweep for the NPS Backbone Trail series and is very active in the SMMTC trail maintenance program. Burt also volunteers with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Conejo Open Space surrounding Thousand Oaks on a variety of trail issues. His hobbies include trail running, mountain biking, camping and geocaching.

Jerry Mitcham - Backbone Trek Coordinator, Hike Leader/Sweep
Jerry has been a member of the SMMTC board of directors since 2005. He has resided in Thousand Oaks since 1998. Jerry retired from the U.S. Navy after twenty years of service in 1979. He was then employed as a systems engineer for Litton Data Systems and Northrop Grumman Corporation for twenty-four years, retiring in 2004. He enjoys hiking, backpacking, camping and an occasional bike ride. He especially enjoys geocaching. Jerry is very active in the SMMTC trail maintenance program, participating in most of the weekly volunteer projects. He is a two-time recipient of the SMMTC Hank Grateful award for noteworthy volunteer service. He organizes and participates in the multi-day trail maintenance projects SMMTC conducts on Santa Cruz Island in Channel Islands National Park each year. He is the coordinator and an organizer for the annual SMMTC-sponsored week-long Backbone Trail Trek in the Santa Monica Mountains. He participated in the last three BBTreks.

Annie Salerno Coordinator, Food coordinator
Annie is a native of Southern California and was raised in the San Fernando Valley. Having watched the growth and building explosion of the area she is dedicated to the preservation of the Santa Monica Mountains as an ecological and recreational resourse. She has been involved in the Backbone Trail Trek since its inception in 2000 and has served in various capacities for the trek since that time. She serves on the board of the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council and is active in the Sierra Club. Since retiring from the insurance industry, Annie has developed a passion for international travel.

Diana Savage - On-site Coordinator, Hike Sweep
Diana is a seven-time BBTrek participant. She hiked the 1200 mile California Coastal Trail in 2003, and is a substitute teacher. Her hobbies include walking and travelling. She dreams of being a geocacher.

Mel Savage - Wrangler
Mel is a seven-time support staff for the BBTrek. He is a retired LA County Deputy Sheriff. He drove the support van for the 2003 California Coastal Hike. Mel's favorite hobby is travelling.

Dave Edwards - Hike Leader
Dave has resided in Oxnard since 1971. He retired from the federal government in 2001, having worked at the Navy base in Port Hueneme, CA, for 30 years, providing logistical support for the Navy Seabees. He is very active in the SMMTC trail maintenance program in the Santa Monica Mountains and on Santa Cruz Island for the National Park Service. Dave is a board member of Channel Islands Restoration (CIR), which restores habitat in sensitive and unique natural areas on the Channel Islands and adjacent mainland. He completed the 2003 and 2006 Backbone Trail Treks as a paid participant and has volunteered as a van driver and hike leader for the last two years. He enjoys backpacking in the Sierras and the local Sespe Wilderness.

Barry Dydyk - Van Driver
Barry is a retired Systems Engineer from Northrup Grumman. He is active in the SMMTC trail maintenance program. For two years he was hiker leader/sweep for the NPS Backbone Trail series. He is active with the Boy Scouts of America as an Assistant Scoutmaster and his hobbies include hiking, backpacking, camping and geocaching.

Dinner Volunteers
May 1:   TBS
May 2:   TBS
May 3:   TBS
May 4:   TBS
May 5:   TBS
May 6:   TBS
May 7:   TBS
May 8 (Farewell Light Lunch):   TBS