Trail Mix's executive director, George Schaaf, will leave his position soon to take over as the new Parks and Landscape Superintendent for the City and Borough of Juneau. His new role starts Jan. 24.
"I've been at Trail Mix for almost four years and didn't expect to leave so soon," said Schaaf. "This has been really near and dear to my heart. It's defined my life."
The superintendent job covers public parks, but also includes landscaping, ball fields, cemeteries, the Jensen-Olson Arboretum, and everything right down to the very trails he's been working on for years. He feels his experience with Trail Mix will be a great benefit here, and CBJ agrees.
"We're really pleased that George is coming on-board," said Parks and Recreation Director Marc Matsil.
Schaaf feels his work with Trail Mix has given him opportune preparation for his CBJ role. Overseeing trail rehabilitation across a number of locations throughout the borough will serve him well in supervising maintenance and development for all types of outlets relating to recreational activities.
"It'll help quite a bit. I've had a lot of experience working with the public when working with trails in town," he said. "One of most important things for both jobs is the ability to work with users and come up with creative solutions, getting the best ideas when using limited resources."
He looks forward to coming up with new, innovative ideas for CBJ recreational users.
Schaaf joined Trail Mix in 2007, leading the nonprofit through many projects revitalizing Juneau's outdoor recreational facilities, such as Auke Lake Trail, Under Thunder Trail, Perseverance Trail and the Treadwell Ditch Trail. Many such projects were done in cooperation with Parks and Recreation.
"These collaborative successes basically have been a remarkable boom for trail use," Matsil said. "The combined effort with Trail Mix and Parks and Rec brought in funds for many trail improvements."
Of course, Schaaf's departure means the Trail Mix board of directors will need to find a new executive director. Schaaf said this is actually an ideal time of year for such a search because all grant applications are complete, giving the board some "breathing room to find the best person for the job."
The Trail Mix board of directors will be seeking applications through Jan. 31. Information can be found at www.juneautrails.org.
Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@ juneauempire.com.