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Officers and Directors

Meet the Board of Directors who work hard for you everyday!

donPresident Don Helsel – Term expires January 2019
Don says, “I was first elected  November 2012 by our MI-TRALE members as their President. This position carries both responsibilities and opportunities, of which I hope to use the first to maximize the second! My sincere belief is that we all are the ambassadors of our sport. We alone have the responsibility (and the opportunity) to form the future of our sport every day. We do this by the way we ride, where we ride, what we say and how we maintain our trail systems. I want MI-TRALE, the MDNR and the ONF to work together, as partners, to ensure that we both can encourage the guests we have to enjoy the trails that we provide. We also have to be able to demonstrate to our respective legislators that ORV riders can make an economic difference. This is especially critical for us here in the Western UP.” Don comes from a 40 year career working, both domestically and internationally, for Ford Motor Company. He retired in 2004 and relocated to Ontonagon, MI with his wife, Sue. He and Sue heard about “this local ORV group,” (MI-TRALE), and, as ATV riding is a favorite outdoor recreation of theirs, they joined! In 2010, Don decided he wanted to take a more active part in the organization’s trail development efforts. From then on he became very involved with the discovery and development of new trails in the 5-county area. He was nominated for (and elected to) our BOD as the Vice President in 2011. Don’s favorite place to ride is the Pioneer Trail System. He urges you to ride this trail at only 5-10mph as it changes at every corner and will keep your attention no matter the season. It’s a trail to enjoy what you are riding through, not what you are riding on. Don leaves us all with this challenge: “Become an active ambassador for our sport every day, both off and on the trails. We have a lot of work/play to get done, so let’s have some fun doing it! It will take each of us working together to make it all happen. Good riding to all!”


marv
Vice President Marvin Westerdahl – Term expires January 2018
Marv grew up in Iron River and graduated from NMU with a degree in Business Administration, and minors in management, accounting, economics and speech, a few light years ago. Jane and Marv married while he was in the Army and after getting back from Vietnam, was employed by a major insurance company in Detroit. He was transferred to Chicago, Kansas City, Long Island and finally to St. Pete, Florida as an office manager in charge of commercial claims for the state of Florida. Marv and Jane retired in 1999 and traveled, but always came back to their roots, spending at least a month each summer in the Mass area. In 2005 they bought a cabin in Mass, a mile from where Jane grew up. While still Florida residents, they try to arrive back in God’s country just after the snow leaves and stay until just before it starts again. Being active in their Florida community, loving ATVing and the beautiful Michigan outdoors, it is a natural fit and pleasure for them to extend that community service though MI-TRALE which he feels does so much to support the community, economic growth and development within the area.

lindaSecretary Linda Schulz – Term expires January 2019 
Linda was a successful entrepreneur in Illinois as owner/operator of both Rainbow Pony Rides and Construction Clean-up Company. She also managed the Governor of the United States Polo Association’s farm for 12 years. Linda, along with her husband, Mike, (MI-TRALE’s Trail Boss), got their first taste of the UP’s trails in the mid 1980’s when they became avid snowmobilers. She and Mike moved to the UP in 2005 to look for their “retirement business” of a small resort. But before they found that perfect place, from 2005 to 2007 Linda and Mike managed the Historic Gateway Lodge in Land O’Lakes, WI. In 2007, they purchased the Running Bear Resort, (located in Paulding, MI), together with Linda’s sister. To further the opportunities of exploring Michigan’s beautiful wilderness, Linda and Mike soon acquired ATVs and began to ride our trails. Discovering that MI-TRALE was the organization that worked on signing and maintaining these trails, (and wanting to assist with same), they became members in 2010. About 1 month after joining, Linda was elected to the position of Secretary for our BOD. In addition to the standard Secretary’s job tasks of Minutes-taking and –reporting, her duties also included handling all of the DNR Grant paperwork.  She has been re-elected twice now for 2-year terms doing both jobs. Also, Linda is also instrumental in the updating of our Facebook page and website. She loves being out-of-doors and so helps out with trail maintenance every chance she gets. One of Linda’s favorite things to do when riding is photographing the beautiful scenery and wildlife that are present everywhere along the trails.  Her goal for the coming years is to working on getting trails into the small towns of the UP. To all, Linda would like to say, “Come see what MI-TRALE’s trails and the Western UP have to offer. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!”

daveTreasurer Dave Bishop – Term expires January 2018
Dave retired to Ontonagon, MI (along with his wife, Pat) in 2000. This happened after a long and successful career as the Maintenance Foreman for the Waste Water Treatment Plant, (2nd largest in the state!), located in Rockford, IL. With a couple of years living in the UP under his belt, he wanted to further explore the beautiful wilderness it offered, so he thought ATVing would be the way to go. After the loan of ATVs and instruction from friends, in 2003 Dave got his own ATV and has been a dedicated rider ever since! Our President, Don Helsel, and Dave are good friends and it was at Don’s invitation that Dave became a member of MI-TRALE in 2012. Dave is a man who genuinely cares about (and is very involved with) his community. He is currently President of Ontonagon’s Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of the Ontonagon County Historical Society and a member of Ontonagon’s Theater Board. What’s one more plate for him to spin? So, this November, Dave was nominated and elected to our BOD! As our Events Chair, he hopes to create a number of fun, new activities in which our membership can participate. Some ideas in consideration are: Joint club rides with other Michigan ATV clubs, Member picnic rides, a combined Wisconsin All-Terrain Vehicles Association (WATVA)/MI-TRALE ride, etc. A couple of Dave’s favorite trails to ride are the Pioneer Trail and, especially, the Baraga Plains Trail. The 32-mile loop of this trail covers a wide variety of terrain, anything you’re looking for you should be able to find! Dave extends this invitation to all, “If you plan to ride in the UP on your ORV/ATV, spend some time enjoying the beautiful wilderness you’ll encounter on MI-TRALE’s trails!”

cathyEQ Director Cathy Wainio – Term expires January 2019 
For many years now, Cathy has been a Bookkeeper for the Lac Vieux Desert Tribal Accounting Department and prior to that, she was an Office Assistant for the US Department of Agriculture Farmers Home Administration for 10 years. For the past 9 years, Cathy has lent her volunteer efforts to the improvement and maintenance of the Courtney Equestrian Trails. Cathy became a member of MI-TRALE about 2012 when we expanded our trail base to include equestrian trails. Shortly thereafter, she agreed to complete the term of office for a previous director on our Board. This year she was elected to serve a full term on the BOD. “Horses are my good friends,” Cathy says, “and I am lucky enough to have 2 of them. I take care of them. They take care of me.” They live with her and her husband, Dick, along with assorted other critters, in Ewen, MI. Cathy continues, “Trail recreation offers a retreat, a place to rest and calm the heart and mind, and a place to gather with friends old and new.” She plans to work diligently in the coming year to offer good recreational opportunities for everyone and to assist with all MI-TRALE events. She has an established group of equine trail volunteers who plan to work in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service for the betterment of the Courtney Equestrian Trails. Look for Cathy next 4th of July. You’ll be able to see her riding her horse, Babe, in a couple of parades throwing candy to the crowds along the parade route! Cathy wants you to know that, “The members of the BOD of MI-TRALE all have the same passion: Bringing enjoyment to as many different kinds of trail users as possible. Our mission is to continue to bring improvements to all our trails. Come and enjoy the natural beauty and locations of interest along our trails in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula wilderness.”

russDirector Russ Diethert – Term expires January 2019 
“As owner/operator of Headwaters Polaris in Watersmeet, MI, I have long been a supporter of MI-TRALE,” Russ says. “Being a business owner involved with Off Road Sports, I wanted to be able to provide the latest information to our guests/customers.” Russ believes that it is critical that we have organized representation and do all we can to promote and protect the sport that we love. He declares, “MI-TRALE has done well in this aspect, but we need to do more.” Russ’s goals are to help MI-TRALE become the most respected resource for anyone looking for ORV information in the Western UP. He wants to improve our communication with all government agencies so it is as effective and productive as possible. This way we can work together to further develop trails and protect what trails we have. He is fortunate enough to have trails and legal roads to ride between home and work. His dog, Katie, and he enjoy being able to make that trip several times throughout the summer months! One of his favorite things about trail riding is gathering together with his good friends and neighbors to explore new places along the trails. Russ invites all our website’s readers to come and experience the beautiful UP with the following message: “Stop by and say hello to me at Headwaters Polaris. Whether you need a map, some friendly local advice, or perhaps even some service while you’re in the area, MI-TRALE and I are here to help you have a great time. We want your visit to be enjoyable.”

Khris2Director Khris Kennedy – Term expires January 2018
Khris is a native Yooper who retired from the United States Air Force in 2007 and returned to the area with his wife Brenda after 26 years of traveling the world. After returning to Sidnaw Khris got involved with the Sno Valley Riders Snowmobile Club for a couple years and then was elected as their President six years ago. This knowledge of the trail system and the DNR process transfers directly to the MI-TRALE interests. Khris has always been involved with power sports in some capacity whether it is snowmobiles, motorcycles or ATV’s so being involved with MI-TRALE is a natural progression for him. Khris likes to get out in the woods whenever possible which is pretty easy now that his home is essentially surrounded by the Ottawa National Forest and the new OC trail is only about 1/2 mile away. Khris has always said that tourism is very important to our area and is excited to be part of two entities that are directly geared toward tourism and power sports. Come see what we have to offer here in the U.P.!


JanetbioDirector (Holmstrom) Miesbauer – Term expires January 2018
Janet is the Communications coordinator (Czar) and is active in the equestrian division of MI-TRALE. She and her husband Ron reside in the “backa Mass” surrounded by both state and national forests. They have 3 horses and a donkey as well as a cat and 3 dogs. Janet is on a DNR subcommittee for equestrian trails representing the Upper Peninsula and is also employed by the State of Michigan. Janet became involved in MI-TRALE when she found out the Courtney equestrian trails were managed by MI-TRALE. She joined the group to help with maintaining those trails. Janet has found the MI-TRALE group to be an enthusiastic, always willing to lend a hand and fun loving bunch of folks to be involved with.

 

Jim2Director Jim Fooce – Term expires January 2018
Jim has lived in Ontonagon county his entire life. Jim started riding dirt bikes and ATVs when he was very young, back then there were no real trails, just a path beside the highway or on the railroad tracks before the tracks were removed and the trails we ride were built. Jim has watched the trail system change from nothing to the immense system it is now and can not believe how much has changed. Jim said “I am happy to be a part of that and to help the trail system grow and see our area opened up to more people.”  Jim is an avid fisherman and love getting out on th​e trails and trying out the streams and rivers that cross them.  Jim is looking forward to helping make the MI-TRALE system something that we can all enjoy!