1996 Distinguished Service Award

Forrest Clark

Forrest Clark has been a member of The Mountaineers since 1986. He graduated from the Basic Climbing and Nordic Skiing programs, has served as Branch Chair (1987–1989) and held numerous committee and appointed positions. In fact, Forrest’s other name might be “Committees-R-Me.”

The chances of seeing Forrest at any given committee meeting are great, since he is currently an active member of four: Membership, Conservation, Alpine Scramblers, and Lookout and Trail Maintenance. In addition, he has been active with the Singles Committee and instrumental in reactivating the Bicycling Committee. As chair of Lookout and Trail Maintenance he is also a member of the Branch’s Executive Committee. He served as chair for the Ad Hoc Club House Feasibility Study Committee (1991–1992).

In the Alpine Scramblers program, Forrest has served as a course lecturer and lecture coordinator, field trip leader, instructor and scramble leader. He has been active in the Hiking Committee’s program by leading numerous hikes and backpacking trips through the years. He was the instructor for The Ten Essentials (1991– 1992), Hiking Safety (1993), and Backcountry Safety (1994).

Forrest was the founder of what was originally called the “T-shirt Committee,” before it became Promotions, now a part of the Membership Committee. Forrest was the “Branch Peddler” for several years. He has accepted assignments from the Branch Chair, such as starting the long effort to develop a Branch Operations Manual.

More recently he served as Branch Leadership Coordinator (1993– 1995). This involved organizing the branch-wide leadership development seminars. Notably, he brought fellow Branch member John Graham into the program as workshop facilitator. Consequently, John is now under contract with Mountaineer Books to write a book on outdoor recreation leadership. The Mountaineers Board of Trustees, seeing the value in leadership skills training, has chartered a Leadership Development Committee. This committee is in the process of developing an education program for the entire organization as part of its strategic planning effort.

The restoration and maintenance of fire lookouts such as Pilchuck and Three Fingers requires not only coordination and inspiration but also considerable perspiration. Transporting materials via backpack represents a very large time commitment and untold physical effort on the part of Forrest and others involved with this important work. But these two lookouts weren’t the only ones that he worked on. He was largely responsible for the restoration of the Evergreen Mountain Lookout completed this Fall.

In addition, he serves as co-director of the Western Washington Chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association, an organization that is dedicated to the preservation of fire lookouts worldwide. In 1994, Forrest began to develop National Trails Day into a Branch event. But more has evolved—numerous trail maintenance projects were planned and scheduled, and trail crew leaders recruited and trained.

Forrest has established relationships with VOW, WTA and other outdoor recreation organizations concerned with trail work. This leadership and planning effort and the results are perfectly aligned with the Club’s strategic plan for access and stewardship regarding public lands. Each year since 1994 the Branch’s National Trails Day response has been better than the previous year’s. However, the unprecedented turnout, the work accomplished on the Old Sauk River Trail, and the barbecue afterwards weren’t enough for Forrest this year.

With the Singles Committee he proposed a fundraising program featuring a prominent speaker. This turned into the Fred Beckey program held on September 24, 1996 at the Everett Performing Arts Center. He conceived the program, formed a planning committee, did a lot of the legwork, and suffered the anxiety associated with such a public event. The result was very successful in terms of attendance, program, positive publicity for the Branch and substantial funds raised to support future committee endeavors.

The achievements and contributions mentioned here are only the most visible. Many of the things that Forrest does aren’t noticeable or noteworthy. For example, he has opened and closed the Stevens Pass lodge numerous times to assist committees holding events there. Many members perform similar services quietly and competently, simply because they are needed. Nonetheless, Forrest has distinguished himself within the Branch membership for his many years of service on our behalf. Therefore, for all of the things presented above and more, Forrest Clark receives the 1996 Everett Mountaineers Distinguished Service Award.

—Roy G. Metzgar, Chair, Nominating Committee, November 23, 1996