Governing Board & Steering Committee


  • Bill Blackley, Chairperson
  • Joe Hicks, Vice-Chair, Trails Ambassador, Duck & Turtle Regatta
  • Joe Mickey, Treasurer, Wildlife, Riparian Borders
  • Denise Lyon, Secretary, Newsletter, Recreation & Parks Board

Other Board Members:

  • Bob Larson, Blue Ways, YVHC representative
  • Rob Libbert, Mountain Bike Trail Coordinator
  • Richard Moore, Cycling/YV Tour de Vino
  • Bob Hillyer, Trail Development
  • Robert Ball, Running, Fundraising, Insane Terrain
  • Dee Neil, Events Coordinator
  • Jason Taylor, Trail Building and Maintenance

Other Responsibilities

  • Will Gwyn, Trail Construction
  • Cynthia Beane, Trail Angels
  • Brian Ratledge, Ron Storey, Birding
  • Herb McDonald, Trail Building and Maintenance
  • Kevin Cheek, Ducks & Turtles, Scouts
  • Mark Fowlkes, Fishing and Maps
  • Martha Smith, Grants
  • Maureen Postle, Wheelchair Accessibility
  • Scooter Parker, Scouts
  • Adam McComb, Bridge Chairperson
  • Eris Ball, FMST annual meeting
  • Charles Triplette, Horseback Trails
  • Christopher Kemp, Accountant
  • James Freeman, Attorney
  • Rob Arnold, EVTA web master
  • Randy Tulbert, EVTA web editor

Read our leader’s biographies

Bill Blackley, MD – Governing Group Chairperson: Special trails interests include history, trains, grants, native plants, birding and planning.

Bill is a retired physician and member of the original Vibrant Elkin group whose mission was to improve the quality of life in Elkin and thereby improve the economy through business recruitment and retention.  He works with other members of the Governing Group to help keep a focus on areas of interest will best serve the mission of the Elkin Valley Trails Association.  He is an Eagle Scout and very interested in working for the common good.

Denise Lyon – Governing Group Secretary:  Website, Communications, Planning, Newsletter Editor, brochure builder and more.

Denise grew up in Elkin, but spent 25 years away living in trail-oriented mountain towns in NC, VA and CO.  She loves bringing trails and greenways to Elkin, and wants to be able to hike to Stone Mountain from her front porch in town. Denise is a meditation teacher and has been a massage therapist since 1995. She enjoys helping people and communities reach their potential.  Denise puts together the EVTA newsletter and helps with events.

Joe Mickey – Governing Group Treasurer: Planning, native species planting, native specie walks, birding, photography

Joe is a retired NC Wildlife Resources Commission Fishery Biologist/Stream Restoration Coordinator.  Joe is a founding member of the Yadkin River Trails Association, a member of Trout Unlimited and Piedmont Land Conservancy.   Joe enjoys being with his family and grandchildren.  He is an avid outdoorsman and especially likes hiking, canoeing, camping, fishing/hunting, and wildlife/wildflower photography.

Joe is the chairperson for the Native Species Planting Group.  He is active in the Elkin Creek Watershed project.

Bob Hillyer – Governing Group: Trail Development

Bob is a retired log home plant manager who grew up in Asheville and spent the last 30 years in Elkin.  He is an avid hiker, outdoorsman and castle maker (handmade wooden castles).    Bob enjoys working to develop trail easements, road and off-road trail routes, engage in trail construction and is a leader in developing partnerships to bring our trails to fruition.

Joe Hicks – Governing Group Vice-Chairperson: Trains, History, Trail Inspection & Development, Bridge Structural Work, Grants

Joe is a retired machinist, robotics programmer at Westinghouse, Siemens, and Thyssen Krupp Turbines components.   He is involved with genealogy, history (especially Revolutionary War), the Overmountain Victory Trail, railroads especially the Elkin & Alleghany Railroad, history of Elkin, hiking, his dog, Joey, being outdoors and one with nature and wildlife.  He wants to leave a footprint by working with all these through the Elkin Valley Trails Association and thereby improve our community quality of life.

Robert Ball – Governing Group: Sponsorship and Fundraising

Robert was raised in Elkin and returned full time in 2006. Graduated from Appalachian State University.  He works as a commercial real estate appraiser and broker dating back to 2001.  He founded Underdown, Ball & Associates, LLC in 2005, a full service real property appraisal and consulting company.   He has volunteered with many local and regional non-profit groups and community boards including Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Town of Elkin’s Planning Board, Advisory Committee for the Elkin/Tri-County Grants from The Winston Salem Foundation and First United Methodist Church of Elkin.  He is confident that the trails will be an asset to Elkin and the surrounding communities by attracting local and regional visitors, creating economic development and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Robert coordinated the Insane Terrain 5 and 10 K road race each fall.

Robert Libbert – Governing Group: Mountain Bike Trail Planning

Rob is a VP of Information Technology at Allegacy Credit Union and an avid on and off-road cyclist.  Rob enjoys being with his family and he brings joy to everyone who meets him.  He is a skilled blacksmith in addition to many other talents including the ability to operate heavy machinery necessary to build mountain bike course . . . a passion is he pursuing with the EVTA.  He coordinates, with friends, the Tour de Vino cycling event each spring in conjunction with the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival.

Will Gwyn – Trail Construction, engineering   

Will grew up and Elkin and is the owner and operator of the Greenhill Environmental Construction Company.  He is an active leader in the Elkin Presbyterian Church and a very loving Dad and Husband.   He is the inspirational leader and hard worker making possible the extraordinary handicapped accessible trails in and around Elkin.  He is extremely creative in getting trail work planned and finished.  He is an Eagle Scout and can operate most heavy equipment.

Bob Larson – Governing Group: EVTA representative for Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor

Richard Moore – Governing Group: Coordinator of Yadkin Valley Tour de Vino annual cycling fundraiser event

Stuart Taylor Steering Committee:  Watershed Now

Stuart is the pastor of Elkin Presbyterian Church, a long time activist, author, hiker and father to two beautiful daughters.  He is an avid hiker and inspiration to all of us working on the trail.   Stuart is the chairperson for a project to engage local ministers and church members in stream, creek and river adoption for the stewardship of water in our region.  He is active in the Elkin Creek Watershed project.  He is active in reducing pollution, helping the poor and being engaged in the life of our community.  He led a lot of his church members on the Tour de Yadkin canoe/kayak paddle in Elkin.

Raymond “Scooter” Parker – Steering Committee, easements, Scouts and Military

“Scooter” Parker is a native of Elkin and is attorney for the Town of Elkin.  He has considerable experience with obtaining and drafting easements for hiking and “greenway” trails.   In his more than 40 years in the Boy Scouts, he has many hiking and camping skills, and has access to a large network of scouts and scouters.

Jason Couch – Steering Committee: History

Jason is an Elkin Native and has serve as the historian for the trails.  He was deeply engaged in the production of our Elkin & Alleghany Railroad Revisited book and also the historian who vetted the Elkin High School history scripts recorded by Elkin High School Students in the Project Development Class for seventeen multi-modal history and nature trail signs.

Martha Smith – Steering Committee: History, Permanent Exhibit, Grants, Editing, General Consultant

Martha Smith is a native of Elkin and currently manages the Elkin Public Library.  Her graduate studies included library science, history, and business.  Having worked in libraries and publishing companies in other states, she was pleased to return to her roots 10 years ago and hopes to see Elkin grow to become again the vibrant town it was when she was growing up.  She believes promoting the history of the town is instrumental to its rebirth.  Martha served at Chairman of the Elkin & Alleghany Railroad book project and as the main grants writing person for the Elkin Valley Trails.

Adam McComb – Steering Committee: Planning, Bridge Construction Coordination, Park Liaison with EVTA

Adam is a local native and currently the Director of the Elkin Parks and Recreation Department.   Adam has been instrumental in coordinating with our town, as the Trails member of the Yadkin Valley Heritage Committee, and as s volunteer helping advance the trails mission to boost wellness and the local economy.

Rick Chatham – Steering Committee:  Blue Ways, Canoe & Kayak coordinator

Rick is a local conservationist with multi-cultural experiences, a long-time member of the Elkin River Rats, the and As a paddler-advocate his focus is on community-centered and responsibly managed river trails.

R. G. Absher – Steering Committee: Liaison with the Overmountain Victory Trail Association and Strategic Planning

RG is the current Executive Director with the Yadkin River Greenway in North Wilkesboro, NC.  He also serves on the board of the Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor Partnership and the Overmountain Victory Trail Association. RG is the current President of the NC Daniel Heritage Trail and is retired from the US Army Corps of Engineers where he worked with volunteers to build over 30 miles of multi-use trails at W. Kerr Scott Reservoir. Absher lives in Elkin, NC.

Maureen Postle – Steering Committee: Handicapped Accessibility & Trail worker

Maureen recently moved to Elkin and has become involved to improve handicapped accessibility for wheelchair access, persons with walking difficulties, stroller pusher and pet access.

Ron Storey – Steering Committee: Birding

Ron has been instrumental in setting up the Elkin & Alleghany Rail-Trail ebird site . . . identify and posting over 80 birds and making the E & A Rail-Trail a birding hotspot in North Carolina.

Bern Schumak – Steering Committee: Trail Blazer

Bern is a hydrogeologist and has been with Clean Water Management Trust Fund for 17 years.   He previous did environmental consulting and oil exploration.   He is an avid hiker and is working with the EVTA to start thru walks and boost trail development.

Rob Arnold – Steering Committee: Webmaster

Rob is a consultant specializing in high level IT governance and security.  Rob has strong ties to area and just wants to contribute back to the community.

Nancy Goodwin and Pamela Bauman – Steering Committee:  Native Species Planting

Nancy, Pamela and their husbands recently moved to Elkin.  They both love the out-of-doors and have been very active in planting native species along the trail.

Lori Gwyn – Steering Committee: Publicity, EVTA Brochure

Lori has been helpful in media outreach and publicity

Mark Fowlkes – Steering Committee: Maps, Fish Habitat, Mapping, Grants

Mark helped establish trout fishing in the Elkin Creek, participated with the Elkin Creek Watershed study, develops maps for grant application, advisor on stream and river crossing

Cynthia Beane – Steering Committee: Campsite Development & Trail Angels program

Cynthia is an RN and avid hiker and would like to develop trail campsites. She manages the Trail Angels program.

Tommy Holcomb, Larry Wagoner, Henry Key, Charles Triplett – Steering Committee: Horseback Riding Development, Bridge Building, Trail Development

Tommy, Larry, Henry and Charles Triplett work with Herb McDonald and Bob Hillyer on building the horse components of our trail.

Herb McDonald – Steering Committee: Trail Development and Project Coordinator

Herb has been extremely helpful is coordinating the Wells Knob project and other trail developments.


In Memorium: Terry Kryska

Terry was a retired professional engineer who worked 40 years as a consultant in the energy field in design and construction management of facilities around the world. Moved to the State Road area for retirement and became involved in the EVTA seeing the trails as a great project and something to contribute to his skills.

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