Ryan Cavanaugh, Co-Chair - Ryan grew up in Southwest Michigan surrounded by the Allegan State Game Area where he has been an avid Outdoorsman, and hunter all his life. Ryan was very fortunate to have grown up in a family that embraced the field to table lifestyle. During that time is when he developed a deep appreciation, and rapport for not only the game he was harvesting, but more importantly for the lands, waters, and wild places where game thrive.
After attending Western Michigan University, and living in Kalamazoo, Ryan moved north across the bridge to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. During his time here he has seen how extremely important our public lands are to the people, and the local economies of the UP. From Black Bear, or fishing guides, to leech trappers, and small business owners, they all rely on our public locales to bring people in from all over the world.
He has been involved with other outdoor organizations, and volunteer programs all his life, but the passion that Backcountry Hunters & Anglers brings is unlike any he has ever seen, or been a part of. Ryan looks forward to working with other Michiganders, and future members to Keep Michigan's public lands in public hands.
Allen Crater, Co-Chair -Allen is President of Stevens Advertising in Grand Rapids. Recently recognized by the Grand Rapids Business Journal as one of the top 40 West Michigan business leaders under the age of 40, he has coordinated the development of brand marketing strategies and the resulting creative execution for a number of local and national brands.
Allen is a husband and father of two boys that frequently out-fish and out-hunt him. He is a passionate outdoorsman and enjoys all types of hunting, angling, backpacking and watersports. A lover of wild places and the public land and water that affords access to them, Allen is committed to protecting this opportunity for future generations.
Allen is a Founding Board Member of the Michigan BHA Chapter and is also active with his local chapter of Trout Unlimited. He has served on the Grand Rapids Rotary board as its youngest member, was a former board member for Indian Trails Camp and the West Michigan American Marketing Association. More recently he has directed his attention to work on the board of West Michigan AAF – serving as Past President and The Salvation Army Public Relations Committee, among others.
Don Goris, Treasurer -Don Goris lives in Holland with his wife, Emilie, and three young children. He is the founder and president of Campaign Resource Group, a political consulting and fundraising firm. He grew up fishing, camping, and hiking throughout Michigan and Ontario. He acquired the hunting bug in his late twenties and is doing whatever possible to make up for lost time. Most of his time outdoors is spent in Michigan either in a driftboat or a treestand, with the occasional jaunt out west.
As a new father, he's thoroughly excited about the prospect of spending time outdoors with his children, and is involved in BHA to help make sure his kids have the same access to public lands and waters that he has enjoyed.
Ryan Tucker, Secretary - Ryan loves the outdoors and when he is not spending time with family; he is hiking, hunting, fishing (though he isn't very good at it) and camping. He volunteers with a few other conservation and hunting based non-profits. Ryan’s goal, through this amazing organization, is to see that those areas in Michigan that are "public wild places" stay both public and wild for his daughter and all the future generations of anglers and hunters, and increasing the quality of habitat through conservation projects in Michigan.
Mark Kenyon, Board of Directors - Mark Kenyon is the founder of Wired To Hunt and host of the industry-leading Wired To Hunt Podcast. He is a contributor for MeatEater Inc, a nationally published writer, and an avid hunter, angler, hiker and storyteller.
Sarah Topp, Board of Directors - Sarah grew up in Gaylord, MI where she now works for Huron Pines as the AmeriCorps Coordinator developing future leaders in conservation. Sarah was a member through this program herself in 2015 where she served with Michigan United Conservation Clubs in Lansing. She then coordinated the On the Ground volunteer wildlife habitat improvement program for 3 more years before taking the chance to come back to her roots.
She grew up deer hunting but took up bird hunting in recent years and fully embraces the active lifestyle owning a GSP requires. Between seasons, she ventures out on public lands in and out of Michigan to go backpacking the Grand Tetons, canoe camping the Boundary Waters, paddle-boarding Michigan lakes, mountain biking single-track, snowshoeing and scouting for the next hunting season.
Although her focus is on Grouse and Woodcock in September-October and December, she also spends time practicing traditional archer for October whitetail season, calling turkeys April-May, and enjoying the nicer days on the water fishing for walleye, trout, and panfish. When she spend time indoors she enjoys lifting at the gym, going out for a good stout or porter, watching a good documentary, playing guitar, and entertaining her German Shorthair Pointer, Timber and sidekick Lab-Terrier mix, Lucy.
Goals of hers are to spend as much time as possible enjoying public lands in Northern MI and the UP with her dogs and introducing a few new people to public land recreation as well. This won't be hard to do with the places like the Pigeon River Country State Forest in her area--feel free to reach out!
Bob Busch, Board of Directors - Bob is an outdoor professional whose business is predicated on access to clear clean water. Bob is a paddler, fisherman, skier, hunter, musician, dad, not necessarily in that order. Access to public land and water is a basic right for all people, and he is here to help in it’s defense.
Dustin Nichols, Board of Directors -Dustin lives in Mid-Michigan, but the Upper Peninsula is where he calls home. Both of his parents hail from the U.P. and his roots are deeply planted north of the Mackinac Bridge. In the vast public wilderness of the Hiawatha National Forest and its intertwined streams and rivers is where Dustin cut his teeth and continues to hunt and fish.
Professionally, Dustin works for a large property management company, and is a licensed real estate salesperson. He is also the Co-founder of Lifestyle Lost, an outdoor lifestyle apparel company who donates 100% of its profits to conservation efforts. In addition, Lifestyle Lost coordinates volunteer public land and water clean-up efforts statewide to help maintain pristine areas and keep access to them open.
For Dustin, BHA’s mission reverberates loudly and his driving motivation is to ensure that the privileges and places that have so greatly influenced him remain available for his children and the generations after them.
Landon Dekeyser, Board of Directors - Landon was born in Michigan’s upper peninsula in the small town of Saint Ignace surrounded by deep woods and water. His love of the great outdoors is rooted deeply in his blood having many generations of outdoorsmen on both sides of his family. He enjoys a wide variety of outdoor activities, but what he cherishes most is trout fishing and deer hunting.
He learned at a very early age the value of public lands. His family moved to the southernmost part of Michigan when he was 7 years old. In this area, there is little to no public land. Moving from an area with an abundance of public land, to farm land with fences and posted signs, it had a drastic impact on how much time was spent in the woods with his dad.
Landon considers himself an animal lover of all kinds. He values the life of every living creature and feels it is the duty of mankind to manage and protect them for the future. Combining this with his passion for the outdoors, his single life goal is to be known not as a hunter or angler, but as a conservationist.
Jeff Lipple, Board of Directors - Jeff Lipple is the host of Hunt Camp Podcast where discussions are centered around hunting, fishing and conservation. He owns Island View Resort, which is made up of cabins along the shoreline of Lake Huron. They are located within the Les Cheneaux Islands, in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Also, he owns Island Charters with his brother Greg, which takes people fishing for salmon and trout, from Mackinac Island over to Drummond Island.
When he’s not in the U.P. throughout the seasons, he lives in Shelby Township. Him and his wife Christine have a Rottweiler and German Shorthaired Pointer. He enjoys craft beer and traveling, whether visiting warm places like the caribbean or adventures out west to Alaska, Idaho and Colorado. Deer hunting is his favorite way to spend time outside, which is typically done on public land in the Northeast of the lower peninsula. He also loves duck hunting, chasing upland birds with his pointer, catching King salmon and pulling jumbo Perch through the ice.
Matt Poet, Board of Directors -Matt was born and raised in Clare, Michigan where he learned about hunting, fishing, and the outdoors at a very young age. He is 3rd generation of the family owned company, Jay’s Sporting Goods, where he has held the title of Marketing Director for the past decade. Whether it’s being suspended above a whitetail in a Michigan hardwoods or putting a stalk on a Muley in the badlands, he cannot get enough of what the outdoors has to offer. Even during the winter months blazing a snowshoe trail in the fresh powder is something Matt looks forwards to. An avid lover of everything outdoors, he feels that everyone should get the opportunity to create stories and make memories with family and friends like he so gratefully has.
Josh Hillyard, Board of Directors - Josh lives in Brighton, MI with his wife and young son. He grew up in West Michigan fishing and camping and started hunting in his early 20’s. Josh is now an avid whitetail hunter and has dedicated his career to conservation as the Regional Director for the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). He has hunted whitetails on small public parcels in the metro Detroit area, cedar swamps of northern Michigan’s public lands, in the Boundary Waters Canoe area, the badlands of North Dakota, and elk in Idaho. In the spring, he enjoys shed hunting with his dog, a chocolate lab, and turkey hunting. He hits the Manistee River any chance he gets to do a little fly fishing and loves to fish the inland lakes of northern Michigan where his family has a cabin. When he is not hunting or fishing, he enjoys hiking and camping with his family.
Since Josh began hunting later in life, it fuels his passion to get others involved in the outdoors. He loves to mentor new hunters and introduce them to all hunting has to offer. He makes it a point to get someone new out each year and he hopes you do as well. It’s the only way our hunting heritage will continue on for the next generation of hunters and conservationists. Wild places and public access are vital parts for introducing newcomers and he is committed to fighting for those places.
Zach Snyder, Board of Directors - Zach lives with his family in Southeast Michigan. A lifelong outdoorsman, he has been fishing since he could walk, and hunting since he's been able to. Zach hunts, or fishes around the state every chance he gets, but also spends as much time as he can outdoors with his children. He understands what it means to be good steward of the outdoors, and how important it is to pass on that stewardship and our outdoor heritage to the next generation.
Coming from the suburbs of Detroit, access and opportunity are paramount to Zach. While many of his earlier outdoor experiences took place in and around Alcona county where his family is from, as he got older, he began to explore other areas of the state. As he did this, he began to realize how most of those experiences would not have taken place if it were not for the abundance of public lands and waters that we have access to in our great state.
Zach has worked as a metal fabricator by trade for 13 years, and operates a small side business specializing in custom outdoor products. He is also an active volunteer in multiple other state, and national conservation organizations