Board Of Directors


Mujtaba Ghouse

Mujtaba Ghouse


Mujtaba grew up in Britain, where he loved walking through the picturesque English countryside. He moved to the East Coast to earn a PhD in Computer Science from the Johns Hopkins University, then relocated to California in 1993, and rapidly gained a passion for hiking and camping. He works in Silicon Valley, and lives in San Jose. His children were in scouting, which led to a volunteer role as a Scoutmaster, and then as an assistant commissioner (coordinating a number of scouting units), as well as monthly backpacking trips. Mujtaba took the PCRF volunteer training in 2016, to spread awareness and appreciation for these parks, as well as help preserve them, and has been roaming (looking for trail problems) and leading guided hikes for the Foundation since that summer.

Eric Schmidt

Vice President

Eric has a passion for hiking, camping and environmental conservation. He’s done trail maintenance at Yellowstone and is happy to apply his energy locally. He has hiked and camped the Rockies, Sierras and Andes. He is Assistant Scoutmaster at Boy Scout Troop 37 in Los Altos and an avid scuba diver. Eric holds an engineering degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree from MIT. He has worked in sales, marketing and engineering roles at start-ups and major companies both in the Bay Area and Northeast. Eric lives in Mountain View with his wife and is the father of three sons.

Doug Brown

Vice President of the Board

Doug Brown grew up in Palo Alto and was introduced to the hiking and climbing at Castle Rock State Park as a teenager by his father. He has been a Volunteer with the Mid-Pen Open Spaces District for 5 yrs., with Tahoe Rim Trail Association for 3 yrs. and the Castle Rock Trail Volunteers for 2 years. His many volunteer hours hiking the Castle Rock trails, meeting visitors and talking to Rangers has given him an understanding of the many needs of the park. He first became a member and then joined the Board PCRF to help address these needs. . Doug attended UC Berkeley, the University of Freiburg, Germany and the University of Washington where he earned a PhD. D in Nuclear Physics. Doug returned to the Bay Area in 1978 and enjoyed a successful carrier in R&D and Management. He retired in 1995 and splits his time between homes in Sunnyvale and Lake Tahoe.

Becky Rivera

Director and Treasurer

Becky Rivera joined the Portola and Castle Rock State Foundation Board in 2012, following her first hike at Portola Redwoods State Park. Owner of BRFinance, a small consulting firm, Becky brings over 20 years of finance and administration to the role of Treasurer. A native Californian, Becky earned a B.S. in Business and a M.S. in Finance from Golden Gate University.

Julie Zack


Julie moved to the Bay Area in 1996, and is a member of the inaugural 2013 class of Castle Rock and Portola Redwoods Park Watch Volunteers. She is a graduate of the College of Charleston, the University of South Carolina School of Law, and is a licensed attorney. Growing up on the warmer waters of the Atlantic Ocean, her love of the outdoors migrated westward to enjoy the close combination of both sea and mountains, hiking throughout California and wherever else an opportunity presents itself.

Tracy Schwartz


As a fourth-generation Californian, Tracy grew up enjoying the state’s bounty of natural wonders and Native American cultures. She has lived in the Bay Area for over 40 years and currently resides in Mountain View with her husband. They have been hiking and camping in the area parks since their children were young in the 1980s, and joined the PCRF park volunteers in 2013. Tracy holds a BA in mathematics from UC Davis and a master’s in computer science from Stanford. She has worked as a software engineer and a scientific and technical writer. She now serves on the PCRF Board of Directors because she treasures the California State Parks and would like to contribute to keeping them great.

Michele van Zuiden


Michele brings a rich skill set to the PCRF Board. She graduated from the MBA program at UCLA’s Anderson school and had a 35- year career as a health care executive in the Bay Area. She lives and raised a family in Los Gatos, where she was elected to the Los Gatos/Saratoga High School Board and served for 8 years. In addition, she has served on the boards of a variety of community and non-profit organizations, including Hospice of the Valley, United Way and Pursuit of Excellence Scholarship Foundation. Michele also served as a Court Appointed Child Advocate for 10 years with 2 foster teens and is now a county park volunteer at Martial Cottle Park in San Jose. As part of transitioning into a second career, she is following her life-long interest in the outdoors. As a Board member, she will help support programs which enhance visitor experience to our parks.

Matt Cortez


Matthew Kirk-Cortez is a registered architect and certified access specialist with a passion for helping people enjoy the outdoors by highlighting accessible trails throughout the Bay Area and beyond.  He believes that enjoying the beauty of nature shouldn’t have limits, especially for those with mobility issues. Matthew is a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and currently provides building enclosure consulting and residential architectural remodel services in the Bay Area. He lives in Oakland, California with his wife and two young children who can be found camping and hiking across California most weekends.

Kai Brown


Kai grew up rock climbing, picnicking and hiking at Castle Rock State Park. While attending college at Humboldt State University, he was amazed by the massive trees and learned all about the complexities of the Redwood forest ecosystem. As director of PCRF Kai looks forward to volunteering to help with trail maintenance as well as with planning and implementation of other projects within both Castle Rock and Portola Redwoods State Parks.

Sarah Viaggi


Everyone who knows me knows I love Portola and redwood forests. I credit my father for passing on his love of nature and redwood trees. I have camped in Portola SP since it was 50 cents a night and have brought my children and grandchildren to not just carry on a tradition, but to learn to enjoy nature. My degree from San Jose State is in Nutrition Science and I interned at Sutter Hospitals in Sacramento with post grad classes at UC Davis. I’m now a retired Registered Dietitian who had specialized in diabetes in pregnancy. I have camped and/or visited many State Parks in California and believe strongly in nature as a stress reliever. Now that I’m retired, it is my turn to support the parks that I love by helping visitors enjoy their visit and find the same sense of peace and enjoyment in connecting with nature.

Karl Mosgofian


Karl has lived in the Bay Area most of his life and always enjoyed hiking our local parks.  He has a passion for trail work and has been a volunteer, crew leader, and board member of Trail Center since 2015.  He also loves snorkeling, and boating of all kinds (in his younger days, was briefly a whitewater raft guide).  In his day job he is an IT leader with over 30 years of technology and management experience.

Eric Polnoff


As a Bay Area native, Eric has a love for California’s natural beauty, spending his childhood hiking and camping throughout the state. An avid hiker, backpacker, and sailor, he’s been drawn to contributing his time and energy to causes close to his heart, volunteering at local outdoors and housing organizations. He studied Economics at San Jose State University and has been a sales leader in the tech industry for 20 years. In August 2021, Eric joined the Portola and Castle Rock Foundation as a trail crew volunteer, and the Board of Directors in June 2023, excited to apply his passion for the local environment, outdoor recreation, and community service to the benefit of the local parks and their numerous visitors.