Steering Committee

Melissa Abramson

Melissa Abramson is the National Field Manager, Marketing for REI, the country’s largest consumer cooperative.  Forming strong partnerships with local non-profits, government, and land agencies has been the cornerstone of her work, in an effort to promote conservation and equitable access to nature for all,  both in the greater New York area along with the nation. 


As an avid outdoor enthusiast, she has dedicated her life, both personal and professional to adventure, exploration, education and stewardship.  She has worked in Brazil, Costa Rica and the Pacific Northwest, designing adventure based Leadership Education programs for both youth and adults.  After receiving her Master Degree in Economics and Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics, she planted roots in New York City to create a direct pathway for urban dwellers to access nature and ultimately taking a vested interest in protecting and preserving public green spaces. 


Most recently, she has founded the New York Outdoor Recreation Coalition, providing a unified voice of outdoor enthusiasts for New York’s diverse user groups across the industry.

Keith Oberlin

Keith Oberlin is the co-chair of NYORC and the Founder & Adventure Director at Get Out And Trek (GOAT) - a fun-loving community of LGBTQ+ adventurists actively working to change the face of the outdoors. Through GOAT's trips, festivals, advocacy, and the LGBTQ+ Outdoor Equality Index™, Keith works to build a better, more inclusive outdoors for queer people.

Josh Howard

Josh joined the Trail Conference in 2002 in the position of Volunteer Projects Director. He went on to serve as Director of Membership & Development before being named Deputy Executive Director in 2008. He was appointed COO in March 2019, and Executive Director in October the same year. 

Josh graduated in 2000 from the University of Miami with an MBA and concentrations in international business and leadership. He spent five years working for the University of Miami as a computer trainer and help desk administrator. 

The highlight of Josh’s outdoor adventures began on July 14, 2001, when, from atop Mount Katahdin in Maine, Josh embarked on a five-month and five-day southbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. During his 2,168-mile odyssey, he rediscovered his passion for the outdoors. His experiences along the A.T. motivated him to become more involved in protecting and maintaining the trails and trail lands he had just hiked through. 

These days, Josh can be found enjoying hiking and trail running with his family.

Herb Brooks

Herb’s love for the Outdoors started with viewing and reading National Geographic media as a child. He later had the opportunity to embark on a 50 mile Appalachian trail trip with his New Jersey high school. Throughout his school career he has been on staff with Project U.S.E, a NJ based outdoor education provider and taken part in group adventures with them all over the East Coast.  

In 2020, he was chosen as a volunteer lead with Outdoor Afro, a national team dedicated to facilitating African Americans in a return to outdoor lifestyles and connections with nature. 

He has recently received his Level 1 Kayak instructor certification and is in training for his NYS Guide License.

As an inaugural member of the NYORC, Herb is excited about galvanizing the outdoor community in New York for sharing of resources, access and environmental advocacy

Lucienne Nicholson

A dynamic, universal scholar-activist and status quo agent-for-change, leveraging her geopolitical-multicultural lens and consultancy to break molds and foster equitable practices that center the lived experiences of the marginalized. An in-demand speaker, lauded lifelong learner, and advocate whose longstanding commitment to servant-leadership and inclusivity has helped colleges, boards, communities, and organizations reimagine their diversity outputs and commit to dismantling socio-economic inequalities that obscure the poor. 

A proven record of cultivating paradigm shifts—of upending biased perceptions and ideologies to create environments where bridge-building, understanding, and deliberate action can foster impactful legacies for generations. A goal-getter, a collaborative force who understands infrastructural impediments and how to sidestep them. 

A transformational leader and serial entrepreneur demonstrating exceptional communication skills, critical thought and, challenging biased norms and mores, and creating and spearheading opportunities that further organizational goals.