DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Joe Neville, Keystone Trails Association
Joe Neville is the Executive Director of the Keystone Trails Association (KTA) in Mechanicsburg, [Cumberland County]. His love of the outdoors has fueled his passion for trail work and advocacy.
Since 1956, the volunteer-directed group has been advocating for trail programs and hikers, giving a diverse group of trail clubs a voice in their community.
Joe has been with the group since 2015. He says he “jumped at the opportunity” to lead the KTA after a lifetime full of outdoor recreation.
He grew up in a small town in northwestern Pennsylvania, which meant he had two places to explore when he was growing up: “the creek and the woods,” he explains.
His exploration of these areas fostered an interest in conservation, biology, the environment, and outdoor activities that have guided him since then.
Although these interests serve Joe well in his work, the primary focus of his job is interactions with the public. The trails association leads hiking programs, some of which introduce novice hikers to local trails.
They also produce various trail maps and guides to promote trails and hiking opportunities in the Commonwealth.
The people he works with and meets are his favorite part of working with KTA. Joe was surprised by the people involved in the hiking community.
He describes many of the people he has encountered as “the friendliest, most open, cheerful, and accepting group of people I’ve ever been around.”
The constant involvement of volunteers, especially those who perform trail maintenance to make trails more accessible to all, provide a constant source of inspiration for the work he and the association does.
Helping to keep trails open and accessible also is a priority for Joe and the association.
Joe often partners with various conservation organizations, including DCNR, to advocate for hikers and trails; and keep them free for anyone to use.
Joe is happy to have the opportunity to share his passion with more people. He says he enjoys the opportunity to “introduce new folks to hiking, and work to protect and preserve our natural places.”
Anyone can get involved with the Keystone Trails Association by visiting the Keystone Trails Association website.
Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact DCNR by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate someone.
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[Posted: August 7, 2019]
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