Committees and select associations:
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.
Dolores (Dee) Neil – Event Coor/Communications/Newsletter
Dee was born in Mecklenburg County and developed a love of the outdoors at an early age. Camping, swimming, skiing, and sailing were weekend family activities, and these activities were continued over the years with her two sons. A love of the mountains and golf drew her to Roaring Gap where she spent time for 23 years before relocating to Elkin. A love of nature and a desire to give back to the community led her to volunteer with EVTA. She joined the Governing Group in 2016 and she serves as Events Coordinator, secretary and coordinates communication.
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.
Jason Taylor – Governing Group: Trail Construction & Maintenance
Jason Taylor was born and raised in North Carolina, and appreciates the Southern gentleman way of life.
Growing up in Eden, NC on 21 acres of land, he had the opportunity to roam the woods, creeks, and surrounding properties. Gaining an appreciation of open space, wild animals, responsible land management, and the relationship between humans and our surroundings, he completed his BS from NC State University in Zoology, with two minors in Genetics and Religion in 1997.
At a young age, his adult network recognized his keen entrepreneurial skills, helped to develop his insight; and he furthered this side of his expanding education thru various leadership positions while in primary and collegiate school. While working his way up in the Retail and Manufacturing Sector, he continued his education thru Graduate courses at UNC Charlotte and Bellevue University. Ultimately, he became a partner, and eventually owner of the ACM Agency, Inc. Whose principal goal is representing manufacturers and importers on the National and International level, as well as, working directly with Fortune 500 Companies such as Lowes Home Improvement, and The Home Depot.
It is thru his past and current experiences, that he yearns to give back to his community. Outside of monetary support with various organizations, his love of the outdoors, and the understanding that green space is vital to ones well being brought him to the Elkin Valley Trails Association. He became a Board of Directors member in June, 2015. His current duties include supporting trail development, maintaining, and various parts of operations. Outside of this, he can be found on a trail near you.
Jill Atwood – Volunteer Coordinator Chairperson
Jill Atwood is originally from Alleghany county. She enjoys both river and ocean kayaking. She is a trails enthusiast and is almost always spotted on a hike accompanied by her canine friends. She loves photography and travel with a goal of exploring all continents. Jill has her doctorate in Audiology and currently works in Winston Salem.
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 Yadkinrivertrail.org and Yadkinriverkeeper.org. 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.