Trails foundation names executive director
When he takes over the reins of the Truckee Trails Foundation, John Svahn is going to be a busy man about town ” and on the trail.
With Leigh Fitzpatrick stepping down as the nonprofit’s executive director after four years, the foundation’s search for a new trails champion ended with the selection of Svahn, a local trails and bicycle advocate who has been involved in the community on multiple levels.
The new position will be just one of the ways Svahn works with the cycling and trails community, however, since he will continue as the Donner Lake Rim Trail coordinator for the Truckee Donner Land Trust and will even put in some hours at Paco’s Bike and Ski.
“John is really well known as a trail-building guru,” Fitzpatrick said. “He is really committed to trail issues.”
Fitzpatrick said the foundation picked Svahn from a field of about 10 applicants, adding that he stood out because his involvement goes beyond nonprofit work, and includes on-the-ground experience building and maintaining trails.
“He got really high marks from Perry Norris,” the executive director of the Truckee Donner Land Trust, Fitzpatrick said. “Our expectation is he will take our organization to a whole new level.”
Svahn said he applied because he liked the work the Truckee Trails Foundation has done, and his connection to local trail issues made it a natural progression.
“I want to continue to work on alternative transportation and recreation trails around town, as well as the dirt aspects,” Svahn said. “I’m excited about working on the Mousehole and the Legacy Trail.”
An active participant in the cycling community for 17 years, Svahn has worked in bike shops, bicycle advocacy groups from the Backyard Trail Group in the Prosser area, to the Truckee Tahoe Bicycle Coalition and the Truckee Donner Land Trust.
“Working in a shop gives me a chance to listen to what people think about local trails,” Svahn said.
Working with both the Truckee Trails Foundation and the Land Trust should also create some beneficial cross-pollination, he said.
“To me trails and open space are like peanut butter and jelly,” Svahn said.