Board of Directors & Agency Liaisons

Executive Committee:

Immediate Past Chair Dave Campbell started work seasonally on the Estes-Park Ranger District of the Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado in 1970 and continued working on the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests and the White River National Forest until graduation from the College of Natural Resources and Conservation at Colorado State University in 1976. Dave started a permanent career in Forest Planning on the ARNF in 1979 and then moved to the Estes-Poudre Ranger District as Silviculturist in 1984. Dave transferred to the Twisp Ranger District as Silviculturist in 1987 and then moved to The Bitterroot National Forest in 1990 to become the District Ranger for the Sula District.  While at Sula the fire plan for the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness was completed and the first WFU (then PNF) took place on the Sula District in 1995.  Following forest re-organization, Dave moved to the West Fork Ranger District as Ranger in 1997.  Dave was a recipient of the Chief’s Fire 21 Line Officer Award for leadership in fire management following the 1998 fire season, he has had the opportunity to work with outstanding wilderness managers and to learn from them on a host of issues including Outfitters and guides, Wild & Scenic River management, Tribal relations and Cultural Resources.

Dave received the first Wilderness Fire Management Award from the Chief of the Forest Service for 2005 and the Line Officer Wilderness Leadership award (as part of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Ranger council) in 2007.  Dave has worked with the Forest Service International Programs on several technical assistance missions to protected areas in Africa since 2007. Dave received a B.S. in Recreation Administration and Forestry from Colorado State University in 1976 and was certified as a Silviculturist in 1984. Dave retired from the Forest Service at the beginning of November 2013.

dmc41752@gmail.com

Chair Amber Kostoff worked in Wilderness Management on the Krassel Ranger District of the Payette National Forest from 2001 to 2014 where she ultimately held the position of Lead Wilderness Ranger.  This time spent, both working and being, in wilderness allowed her to develop a sense of self-reliance and overall awareness of the natural world.  This kind of perspective is something that she feels wilderness can offer to society as a whole and has contributed very much to her passion for wilderness stewardship and preservation. She was active in the district’s crosscut saw program as well as the stock packing program and enjoyed providing leadership to others regarding these traditional skill sets.  As a long-term seasonal employee of the USFS, Amber was, and remains, a vocal proponent of the vital role that the temporary, seasonal workforce plays in both wilderness and public land stewardship across all land management agencies. She has recently joined forces with the Forest Service Council of the National Federation of Federal Employees campaigning for temporary employment reform within the agencies. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Utah State University in 2004 and her M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Idaho in 2013, where she focused her research on job satisfaction among seasonal wilderness employees. She currently lives in McCall, Idaho with her husband Patrick and their two rescue dogs: Ramey and Warren.

a.kostoff@wildernessstewardship.org

Treasurer Justin Preisendorfer began his relationship with wilderness began with adolescent fishing adventures, teenage backpacking trips, and adult excursions to climb, snowboard, hunt, and meditate. He entered the wilderness stewardship community as an Americorps volunteer at 18 and has based his career around wilderness ever since.   

While earning his undergraduate degree from Unity College in Maine, Justin spent his summers leading crews of volunteer trail workers for the Appalachian Mountain Club. He then paired trail stewardship with work as an international climbing guide, leading trips from New England to the Andes. Justin began working for the US Forest Service as a wilderness manager with wintertime avalanche forecasting duties and coordinating search and rescue operations. During this time he began work with the USFS Chief's Wilderness Advisory Group, a collection of field-based wilderness staff that advise the Agency's leader on all things wilderness. After serving as a regional representative to the group Justin became the group's vice chair and then chair, working on projects related to the 10-Year Wilderness Stewardship Challenge and the hurdles associated with the USFS wilderness management career ladder. For this work, and his work on the White Mountain National Forest, he was given the 2013 Bob Marshall Award for Internal Champion of Wilderness Stewardship.

Although his home mountains in New Hampshire have a strong hold on his heart, Justin's adventures with fly rods, splitboards, and climbing shoes in wilderness areas around the country continue to make him wonder just what might be around the next bend in the river or over the next ridge in the distance.

alpinetraveler@gmail.com

Secretary Nancy Taylor is currently the Recreation and Wilderness lead for the Yellowstone Ranger District in the Custer-Gallatin national Forest.  She previously worked as the Recreation and Wilderness Program Manager for the Ruby Mountains, Jarbidge, and Mountain City Ranger Districts on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in northeastern Nevada.  While in Nevada, she had stewardship responsibilities in four Nevada wilderness areas: Ruby Mountains, Jarbidge, East Humboldts, and Santa Rosa-Paradise Peak; and will be working in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness as part of her new position.  She lived in Nevada for 13 years, and enjoyed managing diverse challenges related to recreation, trails, wilderness, and natural resources, and looks forward to many years of interesting work ahead in Montana.  During the summer of 2015 she worked on Colorado’s Rio Grande National Forest and spent time in the South San Juan, Weminuche, La Garita, and Sangre de Cristo Wilderness areas. 

She has been a ski patroller and search dog handler, is an EMT and Wilderness First Responder, and recently obtained certifications to teach wilderness medical training up to the first responder level.  She has always enjoyed the mountains in all seasons, beginning with hikes following her dad in the White Mountains of New Hampshire as a kid.  These early adventures in the outdoors inspired her passion for wilderness, and she now travels with her Service Dog, Kasha, hiking, backpacking, skiing, and snowshoeing.   She has BS and MS degrees from Montana and Utah State Universities, and just completed a graduate certificate in wilderness management through the University of Montana’s Wilderness Management Distance Education Program.  

 

 

Board of Directors:

Andrew Ackerman ​began exploring wild areas of his native Vermont and nearby Adirondacks and White Mountains in his early teens. He attended undergraduate and graduate school in Washington state and later received a MS in Regional Planning at University of Idaho. Many summers were spent working as a ranger for the National Parks or traveling to wild areas around the world. Since 2009 he has worked and lived in Alaska conducting human dimensions of natural resources research on variety of topic areas for the NPS. He has been consulted nationally as an expert on federal land use policy and law, and the application of wilderness and visitor use and experience monitoring methods and tools. Andrew enjoys spending time outdoors with his family and friends.

 

 

 

Sam Commarto developed a vast appreciation for wilderness while learning the traditional skills of trail construction and maintenance in New England and California. A proud alumnus of the SCA New Hampshire Conservation Corps at Bear Brook State Park, he has spent several seasons leading trail crews, training crew leaders and teaching traditional skills at SCA, PCTA and USFS training events on both coasts.

In 2012, Sam was hired in his current role as a District Recreation Officer on the Klamath National Forest, where he has management responsibilities in the Marble Mountain, Russian and Trinity Alps Wilderness areas. Working on the Klamath has provided Sam with opportunities to learn about the ecological role of fire in wilderness areas, and the management challenges that appear at the intersection of wilderness, wildfire, and communities.

Sam lives in Etna, California with his partner Jill, and their dogs, Rufous and Sheba. He spends his free time backcountry skiing, playing rugby and filing crosscut saws.

 

 

Dr. Bob Dvorak is an Associate Professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services Administration at Central Michigan University. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Dakota, and his master’s and PhD from the University of Montana. Born and raised in North Dakota, Bob has spent much of his life hiking, camping, and fishing in the Midwest. He gained a great love and appreciation for the outdoors at a young age. In particular, he has a strong attachment to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the north woods of Minnesota. Both are his favorite wilderness and backcountry areas in the country. Bob’s professional interests include wilderness and protected area management, examining visitors use issues, and understanding the relationships and attachments people form with wilderness areas. He is a Wilderness First Responder, ACA Canoe instructor, Leave No Trace Master Educator, and on the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Wilderness.  In his spare time, Bob enjoys camping, canoeing, hiking, and playing disc golf with his wife Lisa, and three sons Ben, Aiden, and Emmett.

 

Morgan Gantz grew up camping and exploring the Midwest as a kid. She received her Bachelor’s degree in environmental science with a minor in environmental policy and planning from the University of Wisconsin– Green Bay. After college, Morgan moved to Colorado and worked as an education and outreach coordinator for Rock the Earth where she helped to gain support for protecting Brown’s Canyon as a National Monument. After Colorado, Morgan moved to Alaska and worked on the Exotic Plant Management team at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve- this was when she first discovered true wilderness and fell in love with the idea of wilderness management. Morgan then went on to participate in the Interagency Wilderness Fellows program and served in Rice Lake and Tamarac National Wildlife Refuges in Minnesota where she wrote Wilderness Character Monitoring strategies for each refuge. Morgan has returned to Alaska and is currently working on writing a Backcountry and Wilderness Stewardship Plan for Wrangell-St. Elias. She is interested in monitoring wilderness character, GIS, research in wilderness, statistical analysis of environmental data and modeling of ecological systems. During her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, camping, kayaking, running and foraging plants from the wild.

 

Matthew Kirby grew up in Wisconsin but every summer his family would take a weeks-long camping trip through the West. It was these trips that made him fall in love with wild places. After obtaining his undergraduate degree from Carleton College in Minnesota, he moved to Washington, DC to work for the Environmental Protection Agency. He quickly found himself drawn to the world of advocacy and took a position with the Sierra Club where he has been for the past seven years. For much of that time he was in DC working on wilderness, forests and endangered species federal policy and legislation.

 
His continued longing for the West, however, drew him away from DC in 2014 when he moved to Denver, Colorado. He currently leads the Permanent Protections Initiative at the Sierra Club, working to secure new administrative and legislative protections for special public lands across the country. He is now trying to make up for lost time and spending all his free moments hiking, skiing, backpacking, and running through the Colorado mountains.
 
 
 
 
 

Dr. Steven R. Martin holds a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Principia College in Illinois., an M.S. in Wildland Recreation Management from the University of Montana in Missoula., and a Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of Montana in Missoula.  His teaching, research and professional interests focus on visitor use of wildland recreation settings and managing recreational use of natural resource areas, particularly parks, wilderness areas and similar public lands.

His personal interests and hobbies include whitewater rafting, hiking and backpacking, cross-country skiing, and visiting our great public lands. His favorite landscapes to visit are the Colorado Plateau deserts of southern Utah and the high mountain lakes and forests of western Montana and the high Sierra. He's worked for the U.S. Forest Service on five national forests – as a recreation technician, wilderness ranger, wilderness trail crew, and helitak firefighter. He's worked for the National Park Service in Glacier National Park, Montana as a Park Ranger (backcountry) and as an Outdoor Recreation Planner/Social Scientist. He's consulted with and done research for the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, California State Parks, and the State of Montana. He worked as a research specialist at the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, at the University of Montana.

Dr. Martin is the 2015 recipient of the national award for Excellence in Wilderness Stewardship Research, awarded by the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service.

 

Nicole Wooten is a Masters of Environmental Management graduate student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.  Raised in North Carolina, she attended UNC - Chapel Hill before serving as an Environmental Education volunteer in the Peace Corps in El Salvador.  Then, deeply inspired by a long walk along the Pacific Crest Trail,  Nicole managed the land stewardship program for the Mid-Atlantic office of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy before returning to academia.  She recently continued in this vein with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition by crafting policy for land protection.  Her academic work currently focuses on the intersection of protected areas management, wilderness preservation, and ecological connectivity.  She strongly believes that connecting wilderness areas through corridors and buffer zones is the next step in ensuring the quality of wildlands in the US, especially in light of climate change. 

 

Sandra Zellmer is the Robert B. Daugherty Professor at the University of Nebraska College of Law, where she teaches natural resources, water law, environmental law, torts, and related courses.  She has published dozens of articles as well as several books, including Developing Skills in Environmental Law (West 2016) (with Glicksman); Water Law in a Nutshell (West 2015) (with Getches and Amos); Natural Resources Hornbook (West 2015) (with Laitos); and A Century of Unnatural Disasters: Mississippi River Stories (NYU 2014) (with Klein).  In addition to writing, she satisfies her passion for public lands and the great outdoors by hiking, kayaking, running, and skiing, often in the National Forests and Parks of the Rocky Mountains.

Zellmer is a board member of the Society for Wilderness Stewardship and of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, as well as a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform.  She is active with the American Bar Association Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources Committees on Water Resources and on Public Lands.   Zellmer also served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council Committee on Missouri River Recovery Issues.  Before teaching, Zellmer was a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division, litigating public lands issues for the National Park Service, Forest Service, and other federal agencies. She also practiced law at Faegre & Benson in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and clerked for the Honorable William W. Justice, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas. 

 

Agency Liaisons:

Roger Semler currently serves as Chief of the Wilderness Stewardship Division for the National Parks Service.  Prior to this appointment, he worked as the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks deputy parks director. He has more than 26 years of federal service in the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service, during which time he specialized in wilderness management and stewardship.  During his career he has worked in seven different areas that were designated Wilderness or proposed for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System.  During his tenure with the National Park Service, Roger was recognized at the national level as a leader in progressive wilderness management.

Roger has a passion for wilderness preservation and stewardship that was fostered during his career of federal service where he specialized in wilderness management.  He retired from the National Park Service in 2003 and has a strong desire to continuing sharing his time, energy, and expertise to foster professional excellence in wilderness management, inspire progressive agency actions and practices, preserve wilderness resources, and promote citizen understanding and appreciation of Wilderness values.

Nancy Roeper is the National Wilderness Coordinator for the Department of Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service. She holds a Master’s of Science in Zoology from the University of Maryland in College Park, MD and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. For 2.5 years, Nancy worked for the World Wildlife Fund on international wildlife trade issues before joining the US Fish and Wildlife Service. For nearly 10 years for the Division of Law Enforcement as an Intelligence Research Specialist working on international trade issues and assisting on Special Operations cases; as a Biologist working on Sikes Act and LAPS issues; for the National Wildlife Refuge System on biodiversity and Ecosystem Approach issues until 1999 when Nancy became the national wilderness coordinator. Nancy’s professional interests include Wilderness; Leave No Trace and her personal interests include gardening, bicycling, Invasive plants removal, canoeing and birding.

 

 

James Sippel’s first experience with wilderness was at age 12 on a backpacking trip with his older brother and sister in the John Muir Wilderness in eastern California.  He was poorly prepared and so cold at night that he didn't sleep much.  “Despite the discomfort, the experience captivated me,” he later recalled, “to see and experience land in a pristine state was like finding a treasure, and I couldn’t wait to come back.”  Coming back has been a lifelong pursuit: logging in several hundred overnight trips in wilderness areas throughout the west, encouraging friends to come along, and introducing his two sons to wilderness at a young age. James earned a BA from Prescott College (AZ), and a MA from Oregon State University in natural resource management, emphasizing wilderness management.  He’s worked in a variety of natural resource management roles for the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and with the Peace Corps at a National Park in Ecuador.  Starting with BLM in 1991 as a seasonal ranger in the Wilderness Study Area and Wild and Scenic River programs, he continued his federal natural resources career in Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada, and now is the lead wilderness specialist for BLM in New Mexico.  His professional focus of interest is in wilderness monitoring and restoration.  He values collaborative efforts with other agencies, and working on restoration efforts with Friends and Youth groups.

 

 

Ken Straley is the SWS liaison for the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center and serves on the SWS Professional Development Committee.  As the Forest Service Representative at the Carhart Center, Ken is dedicated to the professional stewardship of the National Wilderness Preservation System and is engaged with all four land management agencies, the University of Montana, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, and other partners in the development and delivery of wilderness training, information, and education programs nationwide.  Since joining the Forest Service as a Wilderness Ranger in 1993, Ken has worked as a Recreation Planner, Recreation Specialist, Wilderness Staff Officer, Recreation Staff Officer, and Wilderness Specialist for both the Forest Service and BLM in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and Montana.  Ken has acquired extensive professional experience in all aspects of public lands recreation management, but he specializes in wilderness, trails, visitor use management, and natural resource restoration.  Ken holds B.S. degrees in Marketing and Natural Resources Recreation Planning and Management from the University of Utah.   Ken is in constant search of wilderness and is an intrepid hiker, spending most of his free time exploring the wildlands of the West and occasionally elsewhere around the world.

 

Ralph Swain is the Rocky Mountain Region (R2) Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers program manager.  Ralph has a BS degree in Marketing and a MS degree in Natural Resource Management.  He has worked in wilderness management from all levels; as a seasonal wilderness ranger, wilderness trails, district wilderness manager, forest wilderness specialist and, for the last 10 years, in his current position.  Ralph was the Forest Service's first national program manager for the Leave No Trace wilderness education program.  Additionally, Ralph has been involved in international protected areas and has worked on international assignments in Belize, South Africa and Kamchatka, Russia.  As the regional program manager, Ralph works with a variety of partners and wilderness friends groups to foster wilderness stewardship.  He is also involved in wilderness training and annually conducts a wilderness ranger exchange program with South African rangers.

Carol Miller is a Research Ecologist in Wilderness Fire at the Aldo Leopold Research Institute. Carol holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from Colorado State University, and Master’s of Science in Forest Sciences, also from Colorado State University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University. After a brief career as an engineer, Carol has found much more satisfaction in the field of ecology. As a graduate student, she developed and used a simulation model to study the interactions among climate, fire, and forest pattern in the Sierra Nevada of California. After a postdoctoral appointment at the Leopold Institute and The University of Montana School of Forestry, she became the fire ecologist at the Aldo Leopold Research Institute. Her program of research seeks to help land managers understand how to include wildland fire as an ecological process to landscapes. Carol’s research interests include: Agents of landscape pattern formation; Interactions among fire regimes, climate, and vegetation pattern; Implications of fire suppression and our ability to restore fire as an ecosystem process; Effects of global climatic change on disturbance regimes.

Diane Bedell has played many different wilderness stewardship roles throughout her career; from outfitter/guide for an adventure travel company to wilderness ranger and outdoor recreation planner for the Forest Service and as the trails program director for Washington Trails Association, one of the largest volunteer trail maintenance organizations in the nation.  After exploring the Boundary Water’s Canoe Area Wilderness as a guide, Diane graduated with her master’s in Outdoor Recreation Management from the University of MN and worked with the Forest Service in MN and WA for the next 13 years. She served on the Chief’s Wilderness Advisory Group from 2004 to 2008 while she was the wilderness manager for the Goat Rocks, William O. Douglas, Glacier View and Tatoosh Wilderness Areas. She left the Forest Service to work with Washington Trails Association, an advocacy group for trails and helping to ensure primitive skills continue to be used in wilderness. Having seen wilderness stewardship from both public and private views, she is convinced that a strong professional wilderness stewardship organization is essential to the continued integrity of the NWPS. Diane lives in Seattle with her partner Julie and would be hard pressed to choose between dog sledding and canoeing in the Boundary Waters or hiking in the Cascades as her favorite activities.

d.bedell64@gmail.com

- See more at: http://198.61.196.214/society-wilderness/site/node/16#sthash.iO4BzkOP.dpuf

Diane Bedell has played many different wilderness stewardship roles throughout her career; from outfitter/guide for an adventure travel company to wilderness ranger and outdoor recreation planner for the Forest Service and as the trails program director for Washington Trails Association, one of the largest volunteer trail maintenance organizations in the nation.  After exploring the Boundary Water’s Canoe Area Wilderness as a guide, Diane graduated with her master’s in Outdoor Recreation Management from the University of MN and worked with the Forest Service in MN and WA for the next 13 years. She served on the Chief’s Wilderness Advisory Group from 2004 to 2008 while she was the wilderness manager for the Goat Rocks, William O. Douglas, Glacier View and Tatoosh Wilderness Areas. She left the Forest Service to work with Washington Trails Association, an advocacy group for trails and helping to ensure primitive skills continue to be used in wilderness. Having seen wilderness stewardship from both public and private views, she is convinced that a strong professional wilderness stewardship organization is essential to the continued integrity of the NWPS. Diane lives in Seattle with her partner Julie and would be hard pressed to choose between dog sledding and canoeing in the Boundary Waters or hiking in the Cascades as her favorite activities.

d.bedell64@gmail.com

- See more at: http://198.61.196.214/society-wilderness/site/node/16#sthash.iO4BzkOP.dpuf

 
 
 
 
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The Society for Wilderness Stewardship is a non-profit, charitable organization under the 501 (c)(3) section of the Internal Revenue Code.