Keith Skinner, Berkeley Path Wanderers President, Charlie Bowen, and senior path builder Steve Glaeser. Photo: Mary Ross Lynch

Charlie Bowen of the Berkeley Path Wanderers Association was yesterday named the 2012 Cox Conservation Hero for Northern California for her decade-long effort to restore the unimproved public paths in the Berkeley hills.

BPWA will put the $10,000 that comes with the award towards continuing the work it has been doing for the past 15 years. Bowen has volunteered for BPWA for over ten years with a mission to complete the historic Berkeley path network. Her official title is BPWA Path-Building Lead. She has also helped organizations in other communities begin path programs of their own.

“Charlie has been one of my personal heros for a long time. She has not only built a legacy of rustic paths here in Berkeley, she has inspired and guided similar efforts in surround communities such as Oakland, El Cerrito, Marin and Kensington. It’s also a wonderful affirmation of BPWA’s mission and the work we’ve done for the past 15 years,” said BPWA President Keith Skinner.

Since 1998, BPWA has improved 30 paths that would have otherwise gone neglected. “These are paths that not only provide respite and recreation for Berkeley residents and the general public, but also provide egress routes during natural disasters such as earthquakes and fires,” said Skinner.

The Cox award was presented to Bowen Thursday night at the studios of KTVU.

Cox Conserves Heroes is an awards program created by Cox Enterprises and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) that honors people who work to create, preserve, improve or enhance the shared outdoor places in communities.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...