Colorado Chapter Board


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David A. Lien - Colorado BHA Co-Chairthumbnail.JPG

David grew up in the small northern Minnesota town of Grand Rapids and started fishing at the age of four. He shot his first squirrel when he was eight, was hunting ruffed grouse at age eleven and started deer hunting the next fall. At thirteen, David killed his first deer with a Ruger .44 Magnum rifle handed down to him by his grandfather, World War II/U.S. Navy veteran, John Boyce.

After completing high school, David was offered an Air Force ROTC scholarship at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and went on to graduate with a BA in political science and second lieutenant bars. He completed four years of military service as a missile launch officer at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, while also completing a master’s degree in administration (MSA). After finishing his service commitment and a second undergraduate degree (in accounting), David accepted another federal job and moved to Colorado.

David served on the BHA national Board of Directors for eight years. He is the founder and former chair of the Minnesota BHA chapter and has been either the chair or co-chair of the Colorado chapter since July 2006. He’s also a Life Member of both Trout Unlimited (TU) and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA). In addition, David has climbed all 54 of Colorado’s fourteeners (i.e., peaks over 14,000 feet), six of the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on each continent), and has set foot on each of the fifty state highpoints. He has also traveled to forty-one countries and been to all seven continents. 

David has contributed stories, articles, essays, letters and photos to numerous periodicals, books and newspapers, including American Hunter, the Backcountry Journal, Boundary Waters Journal, Bugle and Fur-Fish-Game. He has also published six books, including Age-Old Quests II: Hunting, Climbing & Trekking and, most recently, Hunting for Experience II: Tales of Hunting & Habitat Conservation.

In 2014 David was recognized by Field & Stream as a “Hero of Conservation.” He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Melinda, and works as a federal financial institution examiner for the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

Don Holmstrom - Colorado BHA Co-Chair1Don_Holmstrom-Missoula_trout_(2).jpeg

Don was born and raised in Southern California near Pasadena. He was fishing at the age of 5 in the salt water of California and in the trout streams of New Mexico. His grandfather, who lived in New Mexico, started taking him hunting for doves and waterfowl at the age of 10. His big game hunting started when he moved to Colorado in the mid-70s. “I transitioned to bow in the early 1980s,” Don said. “Today I primarily hunt and fish in Colorado and the greater Rockies.”

He hunts both small and big game, including elk, deer, antelope, buffalo, grouse, turkeys, waterfowl and pheasants; and fishes primarily for trout, but also bass, salmon and catfish. Don was an early BHA member, joining in 2005, the same year the Colorado chapter (the first official BHA state chapter) formed. He was also one of the chapter’s first Habitat Watch Volunteers (HWVs), joining their ranks in September 2009, the same month the program started. In addition, Don has been the chapter HWV Program Coordinator since early 2017.

Don went to college at Stanford University and Law School at the University of Colorado. He worked for a French oil company for 19 years and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board for 16 years as Director of the Western Regional Office. He has a legal background in occupational safety and health, environmental law, toxic tort and administrative law. Don lives in Boulder, Colorado.

20170812_Sheep_(2).jpgNathan Kettner - Colorado BHA Treasurer

The Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers recently appointed Nathan Kettner to serve on their Executive Leadership Team (ELT) as treasurer.

Nathan grew up in a small town in southern Minnesota where his dad was the town butcher and had a very traditional introduction to hunting and fishing. “My dad and grandfather took me out deer and pheasant hunting in the fall, ice fishing and fox hunting in the winter, and lake fishing in the spring and summer,” Nathan said.

He attended public grade school, but went to a private school in Wisconsin for high school. “It was a life-changing decision,” Nathan explained. “Living in a dormitory in high school was the best time of my life and I also met my wife there.” Nathan went to college at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and graduated with a BS in Physics. He moved to Colorado for a space industry job, obtained a Masters of Engineering in Space Systems and then switched from the operations side (launch and on-orbit maintenance) to the ground software side.

Since moving to Colorado Nathan has focused mostly on big game hunting with a smattering of small game, turkey and spin-casting for trout. “About ten years ago I got into archery hunting and that has been my passion ever since,” he said. “I have been lucky enough to take several nice bulls and even a bighorn with my bow. I have hunted with just about every legal method, but spend most of my time in the mountains with a compound bow or rifle.”

Nathan moved to Monument, Colorado, from Colorado Springs during 2019. “The semi-rural life is great!” he exclaimed. “I joined BHA in 2019 after hearing high praise from Steven Rinella and Randy Newberg on their podcasts,” he added. Nathan is a long-time RMEF member and CPW volunteer and has been looking for a way to contribute year-round. “The treasurer position seems like it will be a great fit,” he said. Nathan is stepping up to replace David Kinn, who has been the Colorado BHA treasurer since May 2018.

Ivan James - Vice Chair/Legislative Liaison4Ivan_James-Trad_Bow.JPG

Ivan was raised on a farm in northeast Kansas and started fishing at the age of four. He was handling a shotgun by age ten, followed by a bow at thirteen. “I grew up hunting small game and waterfowl, and fishing ponds and streams, then got into trout fishing and ocean fishing when I moved to New England,” he says. “Now fishing is secondary to bowhunting.”

His hunting-angling mentors, and best friends, were his father, uncles and two cousins. “They are all gone now, but hardly a day goes by that I do not think of them and the great times that we had together,” Ivan said. He went on to spend a decade honing his skills as a dedicated muzzleloader hunter and has been a traditional bowhunter for over 20 years.

And during his hunting career Ivan has had the opportunity to bowhunt 9 of the 10 big game species extant in Colorado, and has been fortunate to bowhunt in 10 states and two foreign countries, including three Canadian provinces. His most memorable backcountry hunts were in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness, Colorado’s Weminuche Wilderness, and northwest of the Alaska Range near Denali/Mount McKinley. 

Ivan has a BS in civil engineering and MS in water resources engineering from the University of Kansas and completed advanced graduate work in environmental engineering at Harvard. He spent over 40 years with the U.S. Geological Survey in their Water Resources Division and has done consulting in hydraulics, hydrology and statistical analysis since then.

After retiring, Ivan also spent 13 years on the Colorado Bowhunters Association Board of Directors, the last 11 as their Vice-Chair for Legislation. Ivan lives north of Colorado Springs (between Black Forest and Monument), but also has a farm in Kansas and has been “married to the same understanding woman” for over 50 years. They have two sons, both trained as aerospace engineers.

kassi.jpegKassi Smith - Board Member

Kassi was born on the west coast of Washington and spent every summer on her grandparent’s farm in eastern Washington. She started fishing and shooting as a kid, then backpacking as an undergraduate in eastern Washington, and started hunting after moving to Idaho for graduate school. Kassi has a doctorate degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Boise State University.

She started hunting with her boyfriend, now husband, and said, “We will generally go out at least once per year casually for each small-game species, but big game is where the action is.” She hunts with a rifle, but is “attempting to hunt trad.” Kassi also enjoys fly-fishing for trout in alpine lakes or streams/rivers, but when time is short she’ll throw spinners out in local reservoirs.

Kassi joined BHA during 2015 and first started volunteering in Idaho. After moving to Colorado, she volunteered to serve as Assistant Regional Director for the Denver Metro Area Group (in August 2019).[1] During 2020, Kassi started “Women in The Woods,” a new series of blogs, content and virtual events. She recently moved to Moffat, Colorado.

“I love BHA. I love the network, the events, the members. Most of all, I love what we stand for,” Kassi said. “The reason BHA is a successful organization is because we have a wide network of individuals who are capable of level-headed, intelligent and considerate conversation. We have different opinions, expertise, ideas … and we can talk about them. Many of us, dare I say most, are even open to hearing other people’s viewpoints! So simple, yet so novel. I want Women in the Woods to extend our reach.”[2]

“Empowering leaders is in BHA’s DNA and we’re lucky to have another outstanding leader join the Colorado chapter Executive Leadership Team,” Colorado BHA Co-Chair David Lien said. “Kassi is a selfless, tireless defender of wildlands and wildlife and a welcome addition to the Colorado BHA family. We need many more like her!”

For additional/related information see:

  • “Women in The Woods: A New Series of Blogs, Content & Virtual Events From CO Chapter Leader Kassi Smith.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 4/15/20.
  • Kassi Smith. “Women In The Woods: Carp Cooking Showdown.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/15/20.
  • Kassi Smith, Gabby Zaldumbide, Emma Dunfee. “How to Build a Crawfish Trap-Women in the Woods.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/28/20.
  • “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint Denver Metro Area Assistant Regional Director and Southwest Colorado Habitat Watch Volunteer.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/29/19.

Dan Parkinson - Vice Chair/Southwest Colo. Regional Director5Dan_Parkinson-Bow-Elk.jpg

Colorado BHA Southwest Regional Director (& BHA life member), Dan Parkinson, was born and raised in Denver/Lakewood and says, as a boy, the area seemed to on the western edge of civilization. “As a child I roamed the fields of seemingly wild places west of our home and dreamed of hiking/backpacking from our house over and through the mountains—just to see what was out there,” he says.

Dan’s parents encouraged each of their children to “get out there and explore the fields and mountains,” and some of his fondest family memories are of camping and fishing trips in the mountains of Colorado and the West. “Mom and Dad planted the seed of appreciation for wild places and wild things in me and it is a gift that I hope to share with others,” Dan says.

Aside from some plinking, field archery and an occasional rabbit hunt, Dan didn’t really start hunting until a college buddy got him hooked on archery elk hunting. “The perfect combination of backcountry challenge, adventure and wonder and awe,” he says. His angling preferences have changed from dedicated bait-bobber fishing for “anything that you could eat,” as a kid, to small stream fly-fishing for wild trout.

Dan and his wife, Laurie, moved to Durango in 1982, where they raised two children, Tommy and Erin, and built a family cabin on the nearby Pine River. Dan worked for years as a small-animal house-call veterinarian serving a large area of southwest Colorado.

Later, as owner and managing veterinarian of Riverview Animal Hospital, Dan developed a special interest in pain management. He retired in 2013, but still lectures around the country, assisting veterinarians in efforts to improve patient comfort and safety. Dan also provides specialized end-of-life care for pets in La Plata County through TenderHeart Pet Hospice.[1]

Dan and Laurie live on the Pine River near Vallecito where Dan hunts elk, deer, turkey and occasionally grouse, ducks and geese. “I am an avid traditional archer who prefers the simplicity of the longbow, but will occasionally use a shotgun,” Dan adds. He’s also leading Colorado BHA’s Volunteer Signage and Bighorn Observation Program.[2]

[1] Jan Reeder. “Good grief: Local veterinarian offers specialized end-of-life care for pets.” The Durango Telegraph: 1/28/15.

[2] Paige Blankenbuehler. “Agricultural interests steer Colorado’s wildlife management: Sheep grazing in the state’s largest wilderness area could endanger a dwindling bighorn sheep herd.” High Country News: 8/31/18.

Craig Grother - Vice Chair/Central West Slope Regional Director6Craig_Grother-Camp.JPG

Craig was born and raised in southern California and has lived in the western U.S. his entire life. “My parents took my brother and me camping in the mountains and beaches of California and Mexico,” he says. “My dad took us fishing in the lakes and streams of the Sierras, and fishing in the ocean off the coast of southern California and northern Mexico.”

Grandpa Otto, from Iowa, was Craig’s first hunting mentor. “My grandfather introduced me to pheasant hunting on his farm in Iowa at an early age as well, first as the assistant bird dog, and then as one of the hunters,” he said. “My biggest ocean-fishing mentor has been my nephew, Nick, and I continue to learn more about trout fishing from my buddy John here in Colorado.”

Craig has a BS in Wildlife Biology from Utah State University. He started working with the U.S. Forest Service soon after graduation, which led to a 33-year career as a wildlife biologist on ranger districts in Idaho, Nevada and Colorado. Craig worked the last 20 years of his career for the Norwood and Ouray Ranger Districts of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests in Colorado. He retired in 2009.

Craig joined BHA in 2007 while attending a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation convention in Reno, Nevada, and has served as a Habitat Watch Volunteer (HWV) for the Uncompahgre National Forest since 2009.[1] “I mostly hunt elk and deer on public lands, as well as turkey and grouse,” Craig adds. “I also fish for trout in Colorado and Idaho, and make the trip to Southeast Alaska to fish for salmon and halibut with my nephew off the Prince of Whales Island. I am fortunate to have a son-in-law from western Kansas and my chocolate lab, Ozzie, and I get to hunt pheasant on their farm around the Thanksgiving holiday.”

During 2013, Craig received one of BHA’s highest national awards, the Aldo Leopold Award, which recognizes significant contributions made towards preserving wildlife habitat.[2] During 2015, Craig was recognized as BHA’s Volunteer of the Month (for January), and was appointed by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to serve on the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area Advisory Council. He has been Colorado BHA’s Central West Slope Regional Director since January 2016.[3]

“I spend time giving back to the conservation of our fish and wildlife resources by teaching hunter education and as an active member of BHA,” Craig says. “Through BHA, I currently serve as the sportsman’s representative on the Colorado Forest Health Advisory Council and Adaptive Management Group for the Spruce Beetle Epidemic and Aspen Decline Management Response program on the GMUG National Forest.” Craig and his wife, Sheila, live in Norwood, Colorado.

[1] For additional information on Colorado BHA’s Habitat Watch Volunteer program see:

[2] For additional information see: “Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Recognize Two Conservationists.” Fly Rod and 3/25/13.; “BHA’s Craig Grother & David Petersen Recognized For Protecting Backcountry Habitat.” 3/25/13.

[3] “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint Central West Slope Regional Director.” 1/26/16.


Click here to contact the Colorado Chapter Board