Land Tawney, President and CEO
Land is a fifth-generation Montanan who developed his conservation ethic from a young age in duck blinds on warm water sloughs in the Bitterroot Valley, at the end of a fly rod during the salmon fly hatch on the Big Hole River, and chasing the wily wapiti in Cinnabar Basin. He's led the charge at BHA since 2013.
Land received a B.S. in wildlife biology from the University of Montana in 2000 and a Ph.D. in post hole digging while fencing in the family quarter horses and mules. Fresh out of college, he worked for a newly formed sportsmen's organization called the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership as the TRCP's national grassroots coordinator. Much of his work at the TRCP focused on sustaining high-quality places to hunt and fish via roadless area conservation and promoting volunteer incentives for landowners to provide public access to private lands. Following four years with the TRCP, Land joined the staff of the National Wildlife Federation as NWF's regional representative in Missoula, Montana.
In 2007, Land was promoted to senior manager for sportsmen’s leadership at NWF. In this capacity Land led a joint campaign with NWF, TRCP and Trout Unlimited called Sportsmen United for Sensible Mining, which aimed at reforming the 1872 Mining Law. Working with more than 600 local, state and national sportsmen's organizations, former U.S. Forest Service chiefs and former state fish and game directors, the coalition was able to advance comprehensive legislation with bipartisan support through the House; unfortunately, it stalled in the Senate.
In 2009 Land initiated Vanishing Paradise, an effort to nationalize the issue of coastal land loss in the Mississippi River Delta, which winters 11 million ducks and geese every year and supports world class redfish and speckled trout fishing opportunities. This joint campaign by NWF, Ducks Unlimited and Louisiana Wildlife Federation built an army of 700 local, state and national sporting businesses and organizations and more than 70,000 individual hunters and anglers from all over the country. All these partners were essential in the passage of the RESTORE Act through Congress. RESTORE dedicated 80 percent of the Clean Water Act penalties (estimated at $15-20 billion) associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to restoration of this national treasure.
In addition to his campaign duties, Land helped build the sportsmen profile within NWF, served as liaison to national sportsmen's organizations, created two sportsmen advisory councils and was a member of the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council, an advisory board that counsels the secretaries of Interior and Agriculture on issues concerning hunting and fishing. In short, Land has spent his professional career building, energizing and activating hunters and anglers to carry on our rich outdoor legacy.
Land sits on the boards of the Phil Tawney Hunters Conservation Endowment, named after his late father, and is active in local and regional sportsmen's groups. Any other spare time is spent on the stream, duck blind or chasing big game.
Land enjoys anything outside with his wife Glenna, daughter Cidney, son Colin, and black Lab, "Triple T," Teller Turk Tawney.
Grant Alban, Development Associate
Born and raised in Southern California, Grant knew at an early age that he someday would live in Montana. Fascinated by animals his whole life, he learned the finer points of hunting from his grandpa when he was old enough to carry a gun. After graduating from Humboldt State with a degree in wildlife management, Grant spent most of the next decade as a biological science technician, doing everything from studying spotted owls in the Northwest to eradicating feral pigs from California’s islands and spending five seasons in Montana’s backcountry collecting grizzly bear hair. Grant now enjoys elk and antelope hunting and guiding his wonderful wife down Montana’s rivers while she casts to rising cutthroats. Grant is thrilled to be a part of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and feels privileged to be able to help protect the wild places that mean so much to him.
Tim Brass, State Policy Director
Tim Brass grew up hunting and fishing in Minnesota with his family and friends. He followed his passion for the outdoors to earn a B.S. in natural resource management from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, and an M.A. in community and regional planning from University of Oregon. Prior to joining BHA, Tim did research work for the Forest Service, National Science Foundation and Cooperative North American Shotgunning Education Program. Now living in Colorado with his wife Megan and his daughter Linden, Tim enjoys hunting waterfowl, big game hunting with a bow and fly fishing high mountain lakes. He’s glad to be a part of an organization that stands up for the wild, public lands he enjoys the most. Tim’s role at BHA is to help chapters spearhead campaigns at the state and local level, aimed at conserving intact fish and wildlife habitat, ensuring public access and opportunity and defending our fair chase hunting traditions.
Sawyer Connelly, Campus Outreach Coordinator
Sawyer Connelly hails from the Acadian forests of northern Vermont. From a young age his mother taught him all the beauty the natural world has to offer, while his father educated him on the importance of civic engagement. It didn’t take him long to find a fishing pole and explore the rivers and shores of New England, trying to catch whatever swam, while getting his first taste of politics at the age of 14, working as a legislative page in the Vermont State Legislature.
After graduating from Northfield Mount Hermon School in western Massachusetts he lost the pastels, packed a suitcase and headed to South Africa for a year. From there the call of the West led him to Colorado and Colorado College. While there, his already strong passion and appreciation for wilderness and wildlife flourished as he chased elk and mule deer in vast tracts of wilderness throughout Colorado and ripped lips in every watershed throughout the state. He took his passions to the classroom, pursuing a degree in environmental science and a minor in English while conducting research with the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project on large landscape conservation in 2013-2014. When not in the classroom or backcountry, he could be found dabbling in the theatrical arts and helping found the Colorado College fly fishing club.
Graduating in 2015, he packed his bags to enjoy a humbling stint chasing Atlantic salmon in Norway but soon found the West was calling him back. Relatively to Missoula, when not in the office, he’ll be found exploring new waters and lands of the area with his German Shorthaired Pointer, Moshup, finding animals, and skiing.
John Gale, Conservation Director
John Gale is a fifth-generation Idahoan who grew up hunting and fishing the backcountry with his family. Engaged in politics at a young age, John finished high school early to take his first job with the Idaho State Senate. Later on, while feeding an outdoors addiction as a whitewater river guide and ranger, John received his degree in natural resource management from the University of Idaho.
After a two-year stint in Morocco with the Peace Corps managing biodiversity and water projects, John found a niche for his ecumenical angling habits in Washington, D.C., directing a variety of grassroots conservation programs for Trout Unlimited. Eventually he succumbed to the calls of Western topography and returned to the high country, directing sportsmen campaigns and public lands policy for nine years with the National Wildlife Federation.
As BHA’s conservation director, John is committed to defending our wild public lands, waters and wildlife for future generations. In his personal time, John enjoys the outdoors with his wife and daughter and prefers the solitude of lonely backcountry mountains where the elk bugle and cold streams run with wild trout.
Will Jenkins, Upper Great Lakes Outreach Coordinator
Born and raised in Central Virginia, Will now resides in Hudson Wisconsin with his wife and 3 kids. Growing up he mostly hunted whitetails and turkey with family but developed a passion for the outdoors after discovering bowhunting and taking a trip for trout and turkey to Highlwand WMA in the Virginia mountains. After moving to the midwest his love for public land and the backcountry was further cemented after chasing South Dakota Mule Deer.
Will has been a freelance outdoor writer and blogger for 5 years having written for various publications on the topics of hunting, fishing and conservation. He has also been an active member of the Minnesota Chapter of BHA helping with various programs such as the Adult Learn to Hunt program with the Minnesota DNR as well the initiative to help protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from sulfide mining.
Sam Lungren, Backcountry Journal Editor
Sam grew up on Whidbey Island in Washington’s Puget Sound, where he developed a love for outdoor adventures and an ambition to write about them. After a youth filled with steelheading and duck hunting he went to Gonzaga University to study journalism. His senior thesis story about the historic Elwha River dam removal project led him straight into graduate school at the University of Montana. He wrote and photographed another thesis about the controversial use of salmon and steelhead hatcheries and graduated with an M.A. in environmental journalism and natural resource science. While attending UM, he worked for Bugle magazine at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. He spent four summers working on a commercial salmon fishing boat in Prince William Sound, Alaska but now lives full-time in Missoula, Montana, editing and producing Backcountry Journal.
Frankie McBurney Olson, Director of Operations
Frankie was born and raised on a ranch outside of Ronan, Montana. She grew up hunting, fishing, camping and enjoying the wonderful state of Montana. Frankie attended college at the University of Montana and upon graduation began her work in the nonprofit sector. Frankie has fundraised for the University of Montana, American Cancer Society and most recently was the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Missoula.
Frankie’s love of the outdoors brought her to BHA, where she is very excited to be part of the conservation effort so that her two young boys can enjoy the same experiences that she had growing up.
Katie McKalip, Communications Director
Descendant of coal miners, fur trappers, ice fishermen and schoolteachers from Pennsylvania, Katie McKalip grew up with a front row seat to the politicking of Washington, D.C., thanks to her military upbringing. After college in Virginia, she landed in western Montana, where she spends a lot of time outdoors and engages in policy making from a distance.
Katie joined the BHA team following a seven-year stint with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, where she led the TRCP’s media outreach and other communications work. She also helped realize founder Jim Range’s vision of the TRCP as an influencer of sportsmen-driven conservation policy and a center point in the outdoors and hunting and angling constituencies. She serves as counsel to the board of directors of the Outdoor Writers Association of America and volunteers for other grassroots sportsmen and conservation efforts. In her spare time, she enjoys upland hunting with friends, big game hunting with her husband and getting her two kids out and about on Montana's hills, peaks and waterways.
She has an M.S. from the University of Montana and a B.A. from The College of William & Mary. For her master’s thesis, she wrote a manuscript on the history of mining – camps, communities and colorful characters – in the area now known as Rocky Mountain National Park.
Jesse Salsberry, Northwest Outreach Coordinator
Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Jesse was brought up with a deep appreciation for the wild things and places that surrounded him. After graduating from Washington State University with a degree in Digital Technology and Culture, Jesse dove into video production. Cutting his teeth in the Portland, Oregon area, Jesse has gratefully worked with some of the world’s most innovative brands and creative agencies as an editor, motion graphics artist and director. Now, Founder and Creative Director for an outdoor-focused video production agency, Crowfly Creative, Jesse continues to find ways to bridge the two passions of his life: video and the outdoors. Jesse, his wife and son, currently live in Vancouver, Washington where they eagerly await the arrival of their second child, due this October.
Ryan Silcox, Membership Coordinator
Ryan Silcox joined Team BHA in 2016. Ryan has been hunting and fishing across Montana since he was old enough to walk, and he's excited to be on board at BHA ensuring the future of our outdoor heritage. Ryan brings with him several years of experience managing hunter-based membership and fundraising programs. He looks forward to helping increase the already quickly growing BHA membership base.
Ty Stubblefield, Chapter Coordinator
Ty Stubblefield grew up in Oregon's Umpqua Valley with access to some of the West Coast's most diverse landscape and wildlife. From coastal blacktails to desert mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk to rainforest Roosevelts, Ty has taken full advantage of the opportunity to seek out the wild critters and public lands Oregon has to offer.
At an early age he came to the realization that hunters and fishermen are the true conservationists and stewards of the land. Recognizing the need to give back, Ty jumped on the conservation bandwagon, getting involved with state policy while volunteering for Oregon Bow Hunters from 2001 to 2008. In 2008 he was blessed with the opportunity to work with Oregon's largest state-based conservation group, Oregon Hunters Association, as field administrator. In this position he worked with Oregon hunters to help Oregon's wildlife, habitat and hunters' rights.
Joining BHA and the awesome people who make up this organization is the apex of his career in conservation! BHAers are an elite group of people who understand that these lands we hold so dear are not free and must be fought for. When not working for the betterment of wild public places and wildlife, he can be found enjoying them with a bow or fly rod in hand.