Sisters Trails Alliance seeks new leader


Last updated 4/2/2024 at 11:19am

On March 14, Sisters Trails Alliance (STA) Executive Director Scott Penzarella announced his resignation.

“I’ve made the difficult decision to leave the Sisters Trails Alliance to refocus my efforts on my own businesses,” he stated.

Penzarella is an owner of Left Coast Lodge, an 11-unit motel in Sisters, and, according to his Linkedin page he serves as managing partner of The Golden Gate Market in Sausalito, California.

He joined STA in June of 2022 and in his short tenure moved the organization from one that focused primarily on trail stewardship to one that added environmentalism to its mission. Along the way he was instrumental in rebranding what was Sisters Trails Alliance to STA, complete with a new logo.

The changes were considered controversial by some. A few took to removing the new logo from trail marker posts in a futile effort to bring back the original name and logo. Several trail users went on the record lamenting the loss of the name Sisters from the new branding.

In response to public sentiment, STA revised the new logo to include the words Sisters Trails Alliance.

Longtime volunteer and immediate past Board Chair, Rick Retzman, has been named Interim Executive Director as a search is underway for a permanent head.

Current Board Chair Forrest Tancer spoke with The Nugget about the change.

“Scott’s decision was a surprise,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to do community outreach and determine what the community wants or expects from the Trails Alliance,” he added.

Tancer is an equestrian, and is keen on a shared trails experience by all users. He says that the board is focused on growing involvement with younger users and supporters and cites the success of its Youth Ambassador program.

Tancer also talked about the ongoing e-bike controversy, and how STA could be a partner in any tests or trial programs the Forest Service may allow. Currently, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) does not allow e-bikes on Deschutes National Forest non-motorized trails. However, e-bikes could be permitted in the future after a USFS-led assessment.

Talks are underway to allow some portions of the Peterson Ridge trails system to be opened for pedal-assist bikes, increasingly in demand especially among older riders. Peterson Ridge is a major destination for mountain bikers, across Oregon and the region, who contribute to the Sisters economy.

The position of executive director is half time (20-25 hours/week) and pays $40-$50/hour depending on experience. There are no benefits. Qualified applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and references to [email protected].

STA will host “Recreation and Wildlife — A Discussion of Values, Context, and Perspectives,” an STA-led community discussion around social values and recreation impacts to wildlife, on Monday, April 15, 6–7:30 p.m. at the Sisters Firehouse Community Hall, 301 S. Elm St. in Sisters.


Reader Comments(2)

York writes:

I for one am NOT against pedal assist Mountain bikes on our trail system. This technology has allowed several friends to continue the enjoyment of riding when physical health, typically knee-replacements and other ortho limitations, to hit the trails. So many of these friends were the ones doing trail maintenance and building the sport in it's infancy.

36308 writes:

Please no e bikes on Pederson Ridge. They are motorized vehicles.There are several classes of these bikes and it would be very difficult to monitor which class would be permitted and enforce usage. They are not compatible with mountain bikes. More access to different vehicles would seriously impede the experience of non motorized mountain bikes and impact wild life. They also open doors to the over commercialization of our trails by outfitters.


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