Doug Habermann, a long-time trail advocate and friend of Billings TrailNet, is the new executive director of Bike Walk Montana.
Habermann moved from Billings to Helena just days after completing more than 30 years of service with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, most recently as regional manager of state parks. He began working part-time for Bike Walk Montana in August, then started working full time in early October.
Bike Walk Montana is a statewide organization dedicated to improving safety and accessibility for Montana’s cyclists and walkers. It often works in partnership with local trail advocacy groups such as Billings TrailNet. Doug succeeds Melinda Barnes as Bike Walk Montana’s executive director, and is excited about his new position.
“There’s a lot to learn, but I’ve been impressed with the number of people connected to the organization and the number of requests for information,” he said. “So obviously Melinda did a good job of establishing the organization. Now my challenge working with the board is to expand on what she has done.”
Bike Walk Montana will continue to focus on three areas: trail access, advocacy and legislation pertaining to transportation and trails. Habemann is looking forward to working closely with Beth Shumate, parks administrator for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, in his new role.
Habermann has been a long-time friend of Billings TrailNet, and recalls playing music at Ales for Trails and other events. He looks forward to working with Executive Director Kristi Drake.
“Kristi is a fantastic leader and the organization has grown tremendously under her. I hope to do the same for Bike Walk Montana,” Habermann said.
He said Montana communities are beginning to embrace trail development as a key component to enhancing community health and economic development. The 50-mile Bitterroot Trail connecting Missoula and Hamilton is one example. At Fish Wildlife and Parks, Habermann covered a huge area that stretched from Billings to Glasgow. He is looking forward to helping Eastern Montana communities improve their trails.