Maine Audubon official to take top post at Portland Trails

Less than three months after longtime executive director Nan Cumming announced she would be leaving Portland Trails to head the Maine Crafts Association — and a little more than a month after she officially departed — Portland Trails has announced its next top administrator.

Kara Wooldrik, courtesy of Portland Trails

Kara Wooldrik, education director for the Maine Audubon Society, has been tapped for the executive director post, according to a Portland Trails announcement Wednesday.

Wooldrik is a Portland resident and longtime member of the trails organization. She had this to say in a statement released Wednesday by her new employer:

While I am sad to leave an organization I love, I leave feeling good about having built its educational capacity. As a runner and cylist, I’ve used PT’s trails ever since moving to Portland and I have been a dues-paying member for years. I am thrilled to be offered this opportunity to lead such a fine organization as it helps build toward a healthy, active future for the communities of the Casco Bay region.

Wooldrik, who oversaw Maine Audubon’s largest department, will transition into her new job in late March and officially take over as the full-time executive director in April. Her predecessor, Cumming, led Portland Trails for 12 years, during which time the group launched an annual 10K run/walk and preserved a sought-after 48 acres along the Presumpscot River for passive recreation.

Wooldrik is the third executive director of the outfit and comes after Portland Trails celebrated its 20th birthday last year. Alix Hopkins was the group’s founding executive director, and is credited with overseeing construction of the Capisic Pond and Eastern Promenade trails.

Portland Trails has protected nearly 200 acres of land in the mostly urban area, and has established about 34 acres of hiking trails.

More statements on the hiring of Wooldrik and her potential leading Portland Trails into the future follow.

Kara Wooldrik, hiking in Scotland in a pic provided by Portland Trails

Here’s Aurelia Scott, past president of the board, now serving as interim director:

We see ourselves as being more than simply a trail-building group. By connecting people with green spaces and enabling them to get around safely and easily without a car, we hope to improve the health of individuals and our community. As our mission statement reads, we want to ‘make greater Portland a model for people-powered recreation and transportation.’ Kara can help make that happen.

And John Osborn, president of the PT board:

Kara’s outstanding management and development skills, and her vision for our future growth and evolution, lifted her unmistakably to the top of the field. Kara has long been a Trails member and supporter. She has a deep understanding of what the trail system means to the people of greater Portland, and she has imaginative and embracing ideas for what we can become in the next years. The Board and staff are uniformly delighted to welcome her as our new Executive Director.

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.