About Crooked Trails

Founded in 1998, Crooked Trails spent over two decades establishing the principles of community-based, responsible tourism under the leadership of Christine Mackay and Tammy Leland. As an educational non-profit organization and operator, we helped broaden travelers’ understanding of the impact of travel on cultures and ecosystems through educational outreach, community development projects, and custom-designed travel programs. Our goal was to inspire travelers to get involved in the places they visit through true cultural exchange, and to empower locals to take charge of tourism in their communities.

In 2020 we made the decision to transition away from sustainable travel programs and focus solely on community-based project development. We do so in partnership with communities and other tour operators that share the same principles we do. We collaborate only with communities that have personally invited us, and support projects that community members choose to develop locally.

Join us as we continue to ensure that tourism acts as a positive force in the world. We remain an important resource for travelers with an extensive list of recommended operators based in every region around the globe. We are also the conduit for communities, operators, and travelers to support community development projects in the places they live, work, and visit.

Who We Are

Co-founders Christine Mackay and Tammy Leland founded Crooked Trails on the premise that tourism does not have to threaten the cultures and environments of tourist destinations and fragile regions around the world. In 1998, they chose to create a non-profit travel organization that focused on environmentally and culturally sensitive travel opportunities that encourage long-term sustainability for host communities. They also made it their mission to educate travelers on the principles and methods of making responsible travel choices.

As the years went on and their relationships with host communities grew, Chris and Tammy became a resource for community based development projects in addition to custom travel programs and itinerary design. They understood that participating in project development was a sensitive undertaking that required full community consent and mission alignment. There were too many examples of tourist-inspired projects that had gone awry, and Crooked Trails wanted to be certain that their support would be different. See here to learn more about projects they were a part of over the years and what it has meant for these destinations.

After more than two decades of travel planning and supporting global projects, Crooked Trails has moved into its new role as a resource and consulting group for community-based development projects in the tourism industry. With new team members, we will take the first-hand experience and lessons learned by our Founders, to continue engaging with communities that are seeking help with tourism projects in their community. We look forward to working with you in whatever role you play in the travel and tourism industry.

As for Tammy and Chris…You can find Tammy volunteering extensively on the Crooked Trails board while Christine now owns and operates her own company, Key Encounters.

Meet Our Team

Educational Outreach

Crooked Trails educates travelers on how to travel more respectfully and how to lessen the negative impacts – both environmental and cultural – on the places they visit. We also work with tour operators, both at home and abroad, to incorporate those ethics into their programs.

Our co-founders, both experts in the field since 1998, offer presentations throughout the year to the general public, schools & universities, travel conferences and clubs on sustainable travel and cultural stewardship.


Crooked Trails Federal Tax ID number (EIN): 73-1669742
Crooked Trails is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. As such, donations to Crooked Trails are tax-deductible. We send tax receipts for all donations with applicable federal tax information.

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