Matthew J. Nelson

Executive Director, Arizona Trail Association

Matthew J. Nelson is the Executive Director of the Arizona Trail Association, the nonprofit organization responsible for the protection, maintenance, construction and promotion of the 800-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail. Over the past seven years, Matthew has grown the organization’s operating budget by 400%. His innovative approach to nonprofit leadership, natural resource management, marketing and developing partnerships helps sustain the Arizona Trail as well as the 30 gateway communities located within the trail corridor.

Matthew has worked as an outdoor educator, Grand Canyon backpacking guide, archaeologist, Native American tribal liaison, editor and freelance photojournalist. He has more than 500 published articles to his credit and is the primary author of Your Complete Guide to the Arizona National Scenic Trail and the Arizona Trail Junior Explorer Handbook.