Liz Bergeron, Executive Director and CEO of the PCTA, Has Announced Retirement

In an email sent out to the PCTA’s newsletter subscribers on September 10th, Liz Bergeron, Executive Director and CEO of the organization, announced her retirement to the trail community.

Hired with a background in nonprofit administration and fundraising, Bergeron was first selected as the PCTA’s Executive Director twenty years ago. During this time, she has grown the organization and dramatically expanded its capacity to care for the trail.

When she was first hired in 2001, the organization had 3 full-time staff members, a few hundred volunteers, and an annual budget of $400,000. Under her guidance, the PCTA has grown to employing more than 30 full-time staff members, managing a network of over 2,000 volunteers who log close to 100,000 annual hours, and utilizing an annual budget of up to $4.7 million.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though – during her time with the organization, the popularity of the trail skyrocketed due to movies like “Wild” and “A Walk In the Woods”. Bergeron assisted the PCTA in managing the massive uptick in thru-hike attempts (from a few hundred in 2001 to just under 5500 in 2019). Other notable projects during her time at the PCTA include developing an updated board policy manual, funding and implementing significant technology upgrades throughout the organization, and strengthening the overall leadership of the PCTA.

“…the more I learned about the importance of our work, the more my passion for the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail grew.”

Throughout her 20 years in the role, the trail has become much more than a path connecting Mexico and Canada. Instead, it currently stands as a source of health, well-being, and improvement for those seeking everything from world-class recreation, friendship, solitude, or a place to heal from trauma. The corridor also acts as a protected conservation area that houses countless plant and animal species. 

As a way to assist in the planning of Bergeron’s departure, the PCTA has created a new staff position that will be filled by Megan Wargo, who currently works as the Director of Land Protection. The new role – Deputy Executive Director and CEO – will serve as a way to increase leadership capacity and allow Bergeron to transfer relationships and information, as well as cross-train in various key areas as she transitions out of her role.

“I am so grateful to have worked on behalf of the PCT. It’s very satisfying to know that I have helped build a strong and resilient organization that will ensure the trail experience is available for all, now and in the future.”

Bergeron’s departure from the PCTA won’t conclude until June 2022, and the Board of Directors will work on creating a plan for choosing her successor in the meantime. The organization is expected update the community accordingly as more information is released.

Featured image and information about PCT thru hiker statistics via the PCTA.

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