The Unstoppable Mary Lynch!

It may be a bad pun, but it’s no exaggeration to say that Mary Lynch has long been a linchpin of Berkeley Path Wanders. Since 2002, she’s contributed her ideas, talents, and sweat equity to help us to preserve, maintain and expand Berkeley’s path system.

Mary began her BPWA career as a path builder. Always an avid walker, she went on one of our guided walks and learned she could volunteer to help finish the 50 or so unbuilt paths on city-owned rights of way.

“We were building lots at that time, completing one path and then moving onto the next,” Mary recalls.  “It was hard work, but it was exciting to see the paths materialize, one step after another.”  

In 2005, Mary joined our board, serving two four-year terms. She managed our membership rolls, tracked our merchandise, and put her professional IT skills to use as our webmaster.  She modernized the first iteration of, moving it to WordPress, a more sophisticated system for managing websites than the one we had been using.

Thankfully, Mary didn’t withdraw from BPWA once she left the board.  About two years ago, as the number of unfinished paths dwindled, she turned her attention to maintaining the wood-tie stairways that she helped install. “After a rainy season, some of them just seem to disappear,” says Mary.

She has organized thirty path-maintenance work parties. She and her fellow volunteers weed, prune, and sweep one or two paths a month to keep them beautiful and safe. (Mary would love to have you join her at a work party. Drop her a line at

And what’s the secret to being one of the best walkers in town? It’s really no secret. She’s someone who actually did walk miles to school, preferring that to riding the bus. Once she married her husband Bob, they thought nothing of walking ten miles a day. When they moved to Berkeley in 1990, they found themselves in walkers’ paradise.

Sadly, in August, Mary badly broke her ankle just as she was venturing on a five-day hike. Is she depressed about being housebound and hobbled? Not Mary! “There’s so much to do each day: ice, elevation, physical therapy, and exercise.” Plus, she says, she has books and magazines she wants to read, PBS shows she’s been meaning to watch, and welcome visits from her friends and family.

Mary’s determined to get back on her feet, and we can’t wait to see her back on the paths!