Justin was born and raised just outside of Portland in Happy Valley, Oregon where he grew up hunting the Willamette Valley for waterfowl and pheasant, and fly fishing the Deschutes, Rogue and local Portland rivers for steelhead and the multitude of local lakes and streams for trout. Following his initial introduction to fly fishing in the high mountain lakes of Oregon at the age of 8, he hasn’t turned back.
After receiving his undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University, Justin moved to Los Angeles to pursue his Juris Doctorate at the University of Southern California. After a short stint in New York, Justin now officially calls LA home. During the workweek, Justin is a real estate attorney in the downtown Los Angeles office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP with a practice focused on acquisitions, dispositions, financings, and joint ventures for institutional investors, owners and developers. Justin also serves on the Board of Directors for the Pasadena Casting Club, one of the largest fly fishing clubs in Southern California.
On his days off, Justin explores the local fresh and salt waters, takes regular backpacking trips into the Sierras in search of trout and breathtaking scenery, and pursues his passion of upland bird hunting as he endlessly trudges across the landscape after quail.
Brent grew up in Grants Pass, Oregon in the southwest corner of the state. Public property was such a big part of his life that he didn’t realize it didn’t exist in other places.
Currently living in Castaic, CA, just north of Los Angeles with his wife, Cara, daughter, Charlotte, son, Griffin and a baby due in April. Life has him working as a grip in the film business which he has done for the better part of twenty years. He’s also been known to take time off to guide elk hunters for an outfit in Colorado.
The knowledge that there are people that not only want to, but are actively trying to take away the people’s land has led me to want to take action. “ I can’t imagine a country where future generations won’t have the same opportunities to enjoy it, that I was blessed with”.
Cory grew up in the Southwest Michigan city of Battle Creek. Spending most of his childhood with the Kalamazoo river flowing literally through his back yard. Cory’s passion for exploring the outdoors, hunting and fishing was developed at a young age. Fostered by the mentorship of Robert Hughes, a family friend and all around true woodsman. Unfortunately, Robert passed when Cory was 10 but his influence is felt every day.
Cory is currently living in San Francisco with his beautiful wife. It wasn’t until he moved to the west in 2006 that he had true exposure to public lands. Having grown up in Southwest Michigan, only hunting on family and friends private property the idea of land anyone could access felt foreign. It didn’t take long for him to realize not only how important these wild public places are to the now but also how important they are to the future.
Now living with full-blown “Adult On Set Public Land Syndrome” he hopes to use his experiences to shape a clear public land message and to create opportunities for others that may not understand what it means to be a Public Land Owner!
Jonathan’s day job is a carnivore biologist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. He has an intimate understanding of the challenges we face in defending our rights to hunt, fish, and recreate on our public lands. He was born and raised in the smallest state, Rhode Island. Yet, at the end of his road, he had access to 700+ acres of public land to explore and hunt. In the summers, he frequently visited the White Mountains of New Hampshire to hike the alpine trails hut to hut.
His passion for exploring public lands and the wildlife that inhabit them drew him out west. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology at the University of Montana. It was a tough decision to leave Montana, but researching bighorn sheep in the eastern Sierra Nevada of California lured him out. The Sierras have remained his home for over ten years. However, he has taken multiple hiatuses to explore new public lands, hunt, and research wildlife.
He worked as a fisheries biologist in the Bering Sea, a hunting guide in the Ruby Mountains of Nevada, and an environmental consultant in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. He decided to further his knowledge and skills in wildlife management by obtaining his Master’s degree in wildlife biology at Utah State University working on black bears. When he’s not off hunting, he and his girlfriend enjoy exploring the mountains with their horses and dogs, cooking wild game, rock hounding, rock climbing, mushroom hunting, playing Frisbee golf, floating the Owens River, ice skating on alpine lakes, and whatever else sounds like good times on our public lands."
Ryan Hughes grew up in Santa Rosa, California. From a young age he enjoyed the outdoors through hunting almost every game species that California has to offer. That interest soon grew into fly-fishing, surfing, and writing about his adventures. Ryan’s pursuits have taken him throughout the western states and continue to drive him to wild places.
Ryan received a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2017. It was there that he began his outdoor writing career, which led him to opportunities all over the states. At the University of Nevada, Ryan began a collegiate chapter of BHA, which led him to lobby for public lands in Nevada, as well as in Washington DC. After graduation, Ryan began living in Montana, working as a guide and interning at BHA national headquarters, writing for the Backcountry Journal. Now living back in Santa Rosa, he continues to hunt, fish, write, and guide hunting and fishing trips.
Alan grew up in Alaska where his earliest memories are of millions of salmon redds drifting silently underneath my family's Zodiac inflatable (a sight that we all know no longer exists in California). Having moved to CA as a youngster,he spent his free weekends fly fishing all over the Sierras for trout in the summer and coastal rivers in the winter for steelhead. For the past 20 years, he’s lived in San Francisco and Oakland where people look at me with wild eyes when he tells them about he and his wife’s hunting deer and wild pig for our meat, and that we do our best to not participate in the industrial food economy. He’s helped teach classes on hunting and given demonstrations on field dressing wild pigs at skillshare events such as the Not So Simple Living Fair. He’s dedicated to protecting wild spaces and preserving the quality of life he was so fortunate to be able to enjoy for our future generations.
Spencer is a born and raised Southern Californian. He began hunting and fishing at a young age with his father. Spencer spent his formative years fishing in the Pacific, hunting the desert, and adventuring up to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska for the yearly salmon run and searching for monster halibut.
He is an attorney working in public service in San Diego. He serves on the San Diego River Coalition and the Ocean Beach Planning Board for the City San Diego. He is a Professor of Criminal Litigation and Procedure and is active in the San Diego legal community. As a veteran of the California Army National Guard, Spencer serves in a leadership role of the Military Law Section of the San Diego County Bar Association.
Spencer is focused on conserving wilderness in the urban sprawl of Southern California and fighting for access to the existing wild spaces.
John grew up in the Central Valley of California and spent much of his youth fishing, camping, and backpacking in the Sierras. In his younger days, John backpacked extensively in California, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and Alaska.
John has been a court reporter and freelance deposition reporter for 48 years and is a past president of the Deposition Reporters Association of California. Until recently, John was the owner of Against The Flow Adventures, a small business that specialized in taking clients on fly fishing float trips on some of Alaska's not-so-famous rivers. John is a past president of Delta Fly Fishers in Stockton, California, and is a frequent presenter at fly fishing clubs and fly fishing organizations in California, Oregon and Montana.
John currently lives in Sacramento with his wife, Vicki; a crazy cat, Parker; and a 200-pound dog, Sweet Baby James.
It all probably began when Tom was a small child: As his mother told him later in life, he would point and shout at every bird he saw. Since then he’s been on constant lookout for birds, attempting to identify them and witness unusual behaviors or activities seen only when in the outdoors. His motto: When it comes to witnessing what happens in the outdoors, you must be present to win!
Tom’s education began in the natural sciences but it was the social sciences where he excelled and earned a sociology degree from Cal State Long Beach. His career was in youth development and nonprofit administration, but he found greater satisfaction in construction and project management. His deep interest in wildlife and their habitats, has lead him to work today as the Fire Recovery Project Manager for the Sonoma Land Trust.
He remembers his first hunt at the age of about six when his grandfather took him deer hunting carrying his own bow, with probably about a 25 lb. draw and three homemade wood arrows. He still has that bow and the recurve his grandfather made and used.
The majority of his hunting has been for waterfowl and upland game hunting public areas throughout California. With friends he’s hunted eastern Washington for its legendary Mallard and Canada Goose hunting, and freelance hunted Saskatchewan numerous times. But his greatest thrill was the opportunity to travel to and hunt in New Zealand as part of an exchange through California Waterfowl Association and the New Zeeland Deer Stalker’s Association where he hunted ducks and geese on the south island.
Tom has been active in California’s waterfowl, wetland and hunting heritage serving as a banquet chairman and then board of director member of California Waterfowl Association (CWA) where he served as board Secretary for five years and one year as Vice Chair. After serving his two full terms he’s been looking for the next opportunity to serve. Getting back in to big game and bow hunting later in life, BHA seemed to be the right fit for his interest in public land advocacy and stewardship.
He remains on the board of directors for the California Waterfowl Foundation the assets of which support the program properties owned and managed by CWA.
Craig Van Arsdale
Craig grew up in Washington State in the South West portion of the state along the Columbia River. It was here where he learned to fish the big rivers and small streams of Western Washington for Salmon, Steelhead, Trout and Sturgeon. Before he was old enough to hunt he tagged along in the mountains with his father on hunts for Deer and Elk. College bought him to the Eastern side of the state and ultimately to California for work.
Craig has hunted most Western States from Alaska to New Mexico. He enjoys all methods of take from modern rifle to Traditional archery and enjoys hiking, backpacking, mountaineering and photography when he is not hunting.
Craig has lived in the East Bay area for the past 10 years where he works for an Oil Refinery as a Project Manger. Craig is passionate about our public lands and preserving them and our privilege to hunt and fish on them. Craig also serves as a board Director for the California Wild Sheep Foundation.
J.R. Young, Treasurer
J.R. grew up in Bellevue, Washington and started hunting and fishing at an early age. His parents had a cabin in Central Washington that bordered the Wenatchee National Forest where in his youth he spent countless weekends exploring. “I feel like I've covered just about every trail, drainage, and meadow in the area, and while I live a thousand miles away now, my family and I still return to the area every Memorial Day weekend for a camping trip… and to find a morel mushroom or two.”
He lives in Los Gatos with his wife and two and a half year old son where, when not hunting, they spend much of their time entertaining friends, foraging and canning.
J.R. has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Washington and a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Fairfield University in Connecticut. He currently works for SunPower Corporation in San Jose and has recently become a Hunter Education Instructor.