Administrative Team

Amanda Barragar – Executive Director

Born and raised in Trinity County, CA, Amanda has always been happiest in nature. She understands how important it is to deepen our relationship to nature and feels blessed to have grown up with the Trinity Alps Wilderness in her back yard.

Fueled by a passion to integrate exposure to nature into everyday life, Amanda uses her degree combination of Environmental Sustainability and Cultural Anthropology to explore the social constructions in cultural and community contexts to better understand how we relate to nature and how that shapes who we are and what we do.

She spent 6 years as Wilderness Patrol in the Trinity Alps Wilderness and has logged nearly 2,000 miles in the local wilderness. Hiking is one of her ultimate passions.

Her unique perspective of combining environmental issues driven by cultural constructs has brought her to work in rural communities in Southern Oregon, the Piedmont of South Carolina, and as far as the surrounding communities of El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico. She also helped found a non-profit called The Zahra Foundation that teaches women in Egypt how to repurpose trash into items of worth in an effort to shift perspectives of how we view our resources on our planet and to boost socioeconomic status while being ecologically minded.

Amanda now lives full time in Trinity County, in the home she grew up in, with her husband, son & daughter.  She also works as an independent contractor for various environmental organizations doing community organizing around local environmental issues and activities. She is happily contributing her skills and experience she’s gained around the world in her childhood community.

Keyri Cruz-Garcia – Program Director

Keyri is a Los Angeles native who, in the pursuit of happiness, decided to make the BIG move to Trinity County in late 2022. Previously, the only true backcountry action that she embarked on was on the trailheads of the Los Angeles National Forest. Getting lost, finding a waterfall at the end of the trail, and finally finding the car at the top of the hill felt like a true adventure that left her craving more. As she saw the immediate changes she was beginning to experience while spending more time outdoors, she realized that everyone regardless of age needed to be a part of this wonderful experience that is very magical and healing.

The first time Keyri truly fell in love with nature was during her first visit to Yosemite National Park. The beauty, solitude, and serenity the wilderness brought to her mind and soul became the driving force behind seeking this type of environment as a permanent home. Having a degree in Sociology and background in child development/education, working with Ascend felt like it would be a perfect fit and true alignment of purpose. She is truly grateful to join the Ascend Team in the midst of a big move and while adapting to a new community – it has felt like it could not have come at a better time in her life.

Keyri enjoys hiking and taking long strolls in her backyard, which technically is the Trinity Alps! She believes it is a true joy and honor to be able to provide this experience to children and adults who may not have the time and resources to do so. 

Kerry Hurley – Public Relations Manager

Born in San Francisco, Kerry is a Sonoma/Trinity hybrid, having attended elementary and high school in both counties. She graduated from Trinity High in 1989 after serving as Editor of the school newspaper and winning Trinity Journal’s Writing Scholarship. While raising kids in Sonoma County, Kerry was fortunate to land with notable companies in her B2B sales and marketing career, like McAfee, NBC/Comcast, and Clif Bar. Her talents in writing, and thorough understanding of advertising and marketing have proven a nice addition to the small, yet mighty Ascend team. With her kids now grown, Kerry has returned to Weaverville to care for her mom. She enjoys spending her free time outdoors, or dancing, or dancing outdoors. Kerry is also very active in community service organizations and tourism, stating: “helping others is my jam.”