Superior Hero Tale: Steve Coz

September 24, 2019

What does it take to lead one of the Association’s guided hikes on the SHT? Leadership. Patience. Stamina. Sturdy shoes, and a willingness to get them muddy. 

What does it take to lead 40 of those guided hikes? An intimate understanding of the Trail and a belief that a stranger is a friend that you just haven’t met yet.

These are the qualities personified by our friend and trail volunteer Steve Coz, who will, in fact, lead his 40th guided hike on the Trail on October 5th (and two more the following weekend). It’s safe to say Steve is the first hike leader to reach this milestone, and we’re pleased to recognize his efforts over the last few decades to lead our guided hike program, welcome new friends to the SHT, and keep the Trail in great shape as a volunteer.

Steve was recognized by the Association as “Volunteer of the Year” back in 2012, and he’s continued to put in 50+ hours every year since.

The deep knowledge of the Trail that serves Steve as a hike leader comes from the time he’s put in to building and maintaining it. Since his first volunteer work with the Association in 1992, he’s put in well over 1,000 hours of sweat equity into the Trail — the grubbing, weed whipping, rock hauling, and hands-in-the-mud work — that has made our footpath enjoyable for tens of thousands of hikers over that span. 

Steve, pictured far right, worked alongside fellow volunteers to build the Ely’s Peak loop trail in Duluth last year. Photo: Paige Reeves

Steve’s contributions have gone beyond leading hikes and getting muddy on the Trail. When SHTA embarked on an assessment of the Trail in 2017 — a precursor to our Trail Renewal Program — we relied on Steve’s trail eyes. His astute observations of the biggest problem areas on the Trail helped us to identify the Big Bad Five that will be a major focus of our work in the coming years. 

We’re grateful for all that Steve has done, and we hope you’ll consider joining him on an upcoming hike to say “thank you” with us. 

Click here for more information on our upcoming Guided Hikes on the Trail.

Have a hero for the Trail you’d like to nominate? Let us know using this form.