Spotlight: Routt County Riders Executive Director Kelly Northcutt
There’s a new chief in the saddle of Routt County Riders, and she’s the right person for the job. Born and raised in Steamboat Springs, Executive Director Kelly Northcutt, 28, earned her master’s degree in environmental management from Portland State University, with a thesis on developing off-road cycling facilities. She coached youth mountain biking clinics, worked for a bike tour company and volunteered building trails before the pull of the Yampa Valley brought her home.
This article is from the summer issue of Steamboat Living magazine.
Occupation: Executive Director of Routt County Riders. I also assist with the outdoor program at Steamboat Mountain School, taking students on backcountry adventures, am the resident mountain bike guide at Marabou Ranch and sit on the board for Rocky Mountain Youth Corps.
Family status: No kids, but one mighty fine spotted mutt of a dog.
What you like about Routt County Riders: I was initially hesitant to join an organization that advocates for all forms of cycling because my only experience had been with mountain biking clubs. But I commuted 100 miles a week in Portland for six years (over 30,000 miles), which made me an advocate of road cycling, as well. I enjoy RCR’s balance between trail advocacy and hosting events. Being the organization’s first executive director is my dream job. My graduate “research” consisted of meeting with land managers and trail alliance directors and riding the trails they had created. Enduring jealous remarks from my fellow classmates — who chose to study algal blooms or snail shell thickness — I finished grad school not sure I could actually make a career out of it. Thank goodness for that relentless Yampa Valley curse. Within a few months of returning home, I had found the perfect organization. I truly enjoy the diversity of RCR’s advocacy topics, meeting with stakeholders and contributing to the community that raised me to love biking.
Routt County Riders plans for the future: RCR is lucky to have such a diverse and engaged board. Without them, I wouldn’t have this position nor be able to raise the bar for the organization. Our new mission states we “advocate to implement positive change for cyclists in Northwest Colorado,” and we’ll do so through community outreach and increasing connectivity and diversity of cyclist amenities. Some of our goals this year are to have a stronger presence in the community and at cycling events, educate trail users about the U.S. Forest Service NEPA proposals for Mad Creek and Rabbit Ears Pass, and to promote a more diverse trail network.
Other interests/hobbies: Skiing in the backcountry and eating snow, eating delicious meals made by others, reading musicians’ autobiographies, yin yoga, learning the constellations (I’m only at 21 of 88), frightening myself on my bike, inventing great things that have already been invented, hot baths, not idling my car, watching my dog run in his sleep and trying to keep up with my hero of a sister.
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