TRTA Staff

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Morgan Fessler

Executive Director

Morgan’s adventures with Tahoe Rim Trail began many years ago hiking, biking, and skiing on the trail. Now, as the Executive Director of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, she gets to enjoy the Tahoe Rim Trail full time. Morgan previously served as the TRTA’s Director of Operations where she was responsible for the development, coordination and management of the Trail Operations Program including trail building and trail maintenance as well as supporting fiscal and administrative programs and projects. Morgan came to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association most recently from the Sierra Nevada Alliance where she directed the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership which places AmeriCorps members throughout the Sierra Nevada to conduct watershed restoration and education. Morgan has also worked with various conservation organizations including the Student Conservation Association, Northwest Youth Corps, and the National Park Service. She is passionate about trails and preserving all of the unique and awe-inspiring qualities and features that make the Tahoe Rim Trail experience world class! 

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Chris Binder

Director of Trail Operations

Chris has a professional background in recreational trail design and construction, environmental planning, and resource management. He holds undergraduate degrees from Boston College and advanced degrees in landscape architecture and natural resource management from Utah State University. His passion for long-distance hiking has led him to a career in conservation and trail management that over the past decade has taken him to the high peaks of Maine, the rugged mountains of northern Utah and the temperate rainforest of the southern Appalachians. Now at home in the Tahoe Basin, Chris and his family are thrilled to be a part of the Tahoe Rim Trail community.

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Lindsey Schultz

Outdoor Programs Director

Lindsey’s first volunteer trail work day on the Tahoe Rim Trail was in the early ’90s when she was a foot shorter than the shovel she was wielding. One of the few babies to be delivered in the Incline Village Hospital and graduating from George Whittell High School, Lindsey Schultz spent her childhood split between the north and south side of Lake Tahoe. Like many a Tahoe native, exploring Tahoe’s many beaches, trails, coves, and snowboarding routes that contribute to the must¬see reputation that the place holds for so many sports enthusiasts and nature enthusiasts alike was just what you did when you grew up here. After high school, Lindsey seriously considered joining a traveling circus, but an acute allergy to big cats and sequined spandex redirected her career aspirations to plants. With long stops in the Bay Area, Long Beach, Denmark, Florida, and Portland, Lindsey finally returned to the Tahoe area where she spent two incredible years as the Tahoe Rim Trail Association’s Trail Operations AmeriCorps. After a short hiatus of working with Lift Operation’s Administrative Department at Sierra at Tahoe, Lindsey is thrilled to return “home” to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association and take on the exciting role of Outdoor Programs Director.

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Justine Lentz

Operations and Marketing Manager

After graduating from California State University Chico with a BA in International Relations, Justine traveled back to her Midwest roots and served on an AmeriCorps National Civilian Conservation Corps team. Following her term of service, her passion for environmental stewardship led her to join a river cleanup organization based on the Mississippi River, Living Lands & Waters. Justine spent two years living on a barge, traveling from city to city removing debris from our waterways with volunteers. She is thrilled to be back in the mountains and call the Lake Tahoe area her home. As the Operations & Marketing Manager, she is proud to highlight the amazing accomplishments of TRTA volunteers and staff!

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Maggie Brandenburg

Outdoor and Youth Programs Manager

Hailing from the Midwest, Maggie has always been a passionate outdoor adventurer and enthusiastic animal lover. After spending the summers of her youth as a Girl Scout camp counselor on the shores of Clear Lake, Iowa, Maggie took her curiosity on the road, leading backcountry trips and undertaking animal research from Arkansas to Zambia. Maggie spent several summers working with Broadreach, an international study abroad company, leading biology-based service trips in South Africa, Ecuador, and the Galápagos Islands. For a change of scenery, Maggie packed up her life (and her dog!) and meandered down to the US Virgin Islands, where she spent her time as a kayak/snorkel guide – and getting a wicked tan. Never one to stop adventuring, Maggie eventually followed her heart out west where she landed on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Maggie is stoked to be a part of the talented TRTA team as their Outdoor & Youth Programs Manager, leading the Youth Backcountry Camps boldly into the wild!

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Laurie Buffington

Office Administrator

Being raised in Northern California in a family that spent most free time hiking, backpacking and skiing in the Sierra, it was only natural that these became lifelong pursuits. A degree in Geography from California State University, Sacramento and love of the mountains helped her to land permanently at the north shore of Lake Tahoe many years ago. She and her husband Michael lived in Alpine Meadows for over 30 years where they raised three children, and currently live near Tahoe City. Laurie became one of the first 100 members of the Tahoe Rim Trail 165 Mile Club upon completion of the trail in 2001, and still enjoys getting out on the trail as much as possible for personal enjoyment and as a TRT guide. Laurie began working for the Tahoe Rim Trail Association in 2005 and remains passionate about the organization and its mission; the fantastic volunteers, staff and trail users; and the trail that truly is “a trail like no other”!

Veronica Palmer

Development Manager

Starting at an early age with family hiking trips around Red River Gorge, Kentucky, Veronica developed great passion for the outdoors. Later in life she discovered her love of long distance trails. After completing her degree in photography from Sam Houston State University, she set out to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail where she learned a lot about herself and about living in the wild. She loved the trail life so much that Veronica and her husband decided to complete the Pacific Crest Trail for their honeymoon. While hiking the PCT they became enamored with the west coast, specifically the Tahoe Basin, and relocated from Texas soon after finishing their hike. She now spends her free time hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, skiing, and photographing in the mountains she loves. As the Development Manager for the TRTA, Veronica is excited give back to the hiking community that has given so much to her and to help the Rim Trail grow.