Lover of all things nature, William McWhinney is well known in the Angeles Chapter for leading a series of beginner hikes and connecting people with the outdoors.
Will started hiking over 30 years ago with friends, but their casual nature walks were not enough to satisfy his thirst for adventure. Will began attempting more difficult hikes while exploring in the Santa Monica mountains and eventually took interest in backpacking, but an unexpected fall made him consider taking a class to get more information about the activity.
Will turned to the Wilderness Travel Course (WTC) to learn backpacking skills that would aid him in his solo outings. During his time with the WTC, Will took a number of courses, such as mountaineering and navigation for off-trail travel where he met a number of people that shared his passion for exploring.
The WTC eventually lead Will to the Sierra Club’s Angeles Chapter where he’s had the pleasure of leading trips and outings for the last 21 years, but he is best known for being the outings chair, often leading local and urban hikes for beginners. “It’s very rewarding to take people out, particularly people who wouldn’t go [hiking] without someone to lead them,” said Will. “The people are so appreciative and I believe the outings support the overall mission of the Sierra Club.”
Will has been apart of many Sierra Club special events, including the Sunset Poetry Hikes at Griffith Park and the Zero Emissions hikes in Baldwin Hills; accessible through various forms of public transit. He also helped organize the chapter’s first ever City Hike that took place in late September in downtown Los Angeles, which was a total success!
Today, Will is active in promoting Stand LA — a campaign to prevent neighborhood oil drilling in LA in addition to promoting conservation within the central group. He is also working on partnering with a hiking group that supports the visually impaired to improve inclusivity within the chapter.
“The Sierra Club has changed my whole life,” said Will. “Becoming active with the club has been such a rewarding experience and has enabled me to take my love for nature further. I feel like I’m making a difference and I have made so many friends along the way. It’s not just recreation, we get things done!”
If you’re local to Los Angeles, join Will on one of many hikes offered by the Sierra Club. His patience and dedication to the chapter outings makes him the perfect resource for information.