Utah Chapter Board

Perry Hall, Chair 

A bit of an anomaly in the Utah chapter, Perry grew up in eastern Massachusetts, spending his summers fishing, shooting archery, and exploring what little public lands existed in the Greater Boston area. He quickly realized that his love of all things out of doors required a change. He migrated to his parents’ home state of Vermont for college, where he could pursue his passions of skiing and mountain biking. A bit of an adult onset hunter, Perry finally began pursuing the critters of New England after a roommate from Vermont got him into the deer and upland woods. Upon graduating from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Recreation Management, he moved to Alta to pursue a powder skiing master’s degree. He easily made his decision to remain in Utah after one summer spent exploring the public land opportunities in the Salt Lake Area. After an extremely comedic first duck hunt, and an encounter with a bugling bull 30 minutes into his first elk hunt, his initial apprehension and excuses disappeared and you can now find him pursuing mule deer, elk, and waterfowl from August to January. After countless days spent on public lands hunting, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and fly-fishing, he wanted to be more involved and jumped headfirst into BHA in the fall of 2016.


Caitlin Curry, Vice Chair 

Cailtlin_Curry.jpgBorn and raised in Buffalo, NY, Caitlin grew up with an innate interest in the outdoors but without vast tracts of public land nearby. The outdoor bug eventually took hold and drove her to Utah in search of countless public land adventures. Already an active member of the NY BHA chapter and then the UT BHA Chapter, she was inspired by the opportunity to support UT BHA in a leadership capacity to defend public lands, access, and opportunity for public land hunters on the incredible Utah landscape. She first served as Chapter Secretary for two years before becoming Vice Chair. Though she pursues a vast array of wild game, her heart lies with bowhunting and can often be putting on miles in the Wasatch Mountains as a weekend-warrior during the archery season or trail running the same mountains to stay ready during the off-season. In her career, Caitlin is a finance and accounting professional with a B.S. in Business Administration and MBA from the University at Buffalo where she was a Division I Track & Field and Cross Country.


Ashley Kijowski, Secretary

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My name is Ashley Kijowski. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and was lucky enough to spend summers fishing, swimming, kayaking and hiking in northern Wisconsin at my family's tiny lakeside cabin. My interest in the outdoors led me to pursuing my M.S. in biology at University of South Dakota where I studied the movement patterns of the endangered Hine's emerald dragonfly larvae in northern Wisconsin wetlands. After finishing graduate school, I eventually landed a biologist position with the State of Utah and moved out here in 2013. Being out West really opened my eyes to public lands and the issues we are facing today. Not only that, but a couple of years ago I bought a bow and decided to give archery hunting a try. I am now completely hooked on it and it is my absolute most favorite thing to do. Having the opportunity to enjoy and hunt on our public lands is something I want every person to be able to experience and is the reason why I support and joined BHA. I am so excited to be a new board member! 


Matthew Wohlwend, Treasurer

Matt_Wohlwend.jpgMatt has had the privilege of being an outdoorsman for most of his life, inspired at an early age by family camping and fishing trips. He is a Texas native and comes to Utah by way of the Midwest and Northeast after heeding the call of the mountains. Each successive move has opened up more opportunities for recreating on public lands, which has kindled the desire to leave behind a positive legacy of access and opportunity. Matt wants others to have the same opportunities as he has today, whether they choose to hike deep off-trail in search of bugling bulls, or simply to marvel at the natural world from a car window. He enjoys pursuing furred, feathered, and scaled critters as a way to find new adventures, share companionship, and bring home a meal. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Systems Engineering, and currently works as a Systems Engineer.


John Fairchild, Policy & Access Coordinator

John_Fairchild_Pic.jpegJohn was introduced to hunting and fishing at an early age by his father, an avid outdoorsman.  Growing up in Berkeley California, their adventures took them to the Coast Range for wild pigs and black-tailed deer, to the Central Valley for doves and pheasants, to the High Sierras for backpacking/fishing outings and to Nevada to hunt mule deer in the Ruby Mountains. The decision to pursue a career in wildlife management was an easy one. John attended Utah State University and obtained a degree in Wildlife Science.  He followed that up with MS and PhD degrees from BYU in Range and Wildlife Resources.  While in school, he worked seasonally for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and was eventually hired on to work in various capacities in their habitat management program. John retired from the DWR in 2016 after 38 years of employment with the agency; the last ten years as the regional supervisor for the Central Region. John joined BHA in 2017 because as an avid hunter, and someone who has benefitted greatly from having access to public lands, he saw it as an opportunity to continue advocating for policies that benefit wildlife and public land users.

Josh Liljedahl, R3 Coordinator

Josh grew up in western North Carolina in an outdoor obsessed family. Much of his childhood was spent fly fishing local streams, hunting whitetails or hiking in the mountains.  After earning his Masters of Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University, he visited Utah a few times.  He fell in love with the west, quit his job and moved to Salt Lake City.  He now spends his free time pursuing elk, fly fishing or mountain biking.

Introducing his wife, Charlotte, to hunting helped Josh realize the barriers to entry novice hunters face and the importance of having a good mentor.  His work with BHA centers around helping new hunters become good stewards of our wild areas and increasing public land hunting opportunities. 


Melissa Early, Central Region Board Member

Melissa_Early.pngMy interest in conservation was forged in the smells of wild duck roasting in the oven, growing up in rural Virginia.  I remember my dad and our Chesapeake Bay retriever returning from early morning duck hunts, smelling distinctively like a swamp.  I moved out West after college, where I had my first taste of elk steak, hunted by my Wilderness mentors on National Forest, and served around a campfire while I was a park ranger at Mount Rainier National Park.  From backpacking 15 miles to fish in Yellowstone National Park’s wild waters; peeking out my tent on a Wyoming ridgeline silhouetted by golden aspens, bugling bulls, and setting full moon, in the Bridger-Teton National Forest; witnessing dawn’s pink light on Utah’s sagebrush sea to the tune of an active sage grouse lek on remote BLM wildlands; fishing unnamed lakes in Utah's High Uintas Wilderness filled with jumping wild cutthroat and starry night skies; savoring the taste of the firs in the ruffed grouse I shot and cooked with wildcrafted morel mushrooms; to the powdery slopes --- public lands enrich my life each and every day.  My M.S. thesis research at the University of Montana examined ranchers and farmers who are co-existing with native predators, or "farming with the wild" at the nexus of private and public lands.  I am continuously awed by the great migrations and the presence of charismatic species in the truly wild Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, as well as the Greater Sagebrush Sea in Utah and beyond. Our shared 640 million acres of incredible public lands are our greatest American treasure and must remain in public lands as our enduring legacy!


Ben Kraja, Central Region Board Member

Ben grew up waterfowl and big game hunting with his family in Utah and developed a deep appreciation for public lands at a very young age.  During college he taught himself how to fly fish and while he was there he also earned a BS in Environmental & Sustainability Studies and an MS in Natural Resource Recreation Planning and Management.  

Ben has worked for the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and currently works for the US Forest Service in Salt Lake City.  His favorite thing to do is bird hunt with his dog Arrow and he is looking forward to having his two young boys tag along for future adventures.


Hunter Huffman, Central Region Board Member

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Hunter grew up in the outdoors with his family here in Utah, spending most of his time either skiing, mountain biking, or fishing. Later on, Hunter fell in love with fly-fishing and since then has spent many summers on the river throwing flies with friends and family. Having recognized that public lands and waters gave some much to him throughout his life, he realized he wanted to give back somehow.

Hunter joined the BHA Board most importantly to help preserve and better our public lands and waters for future generations. During his time as a board member, it is most important to him to learn and become a more knowledgeable and confident advocate when it comes to conserving our public lands and waters. Hunter is also looking forward to becoming an avid hunter and gaining as much experience as possible from fellow BHA members and board members.


Will Peterson, Central Region Board Member

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Will grew up in Utah, His family has been here since the 1850's. Will has spent his whole life in the outdoors, from Lake Powell as it was filling, to the West Desert and everywhere in between.  Will has the amazing curse of always wanting to know what is on the other side of the hill, which has given him the chance to see amazing things in the backcountry.  This is something he hopes his children and grandchildren have a chance to do.  Hunting has always been a part of these adventures, but is only a small part of the love for the outdoors. Being able to spend time with family using public lands is a must to keep going and that is why I have become a member of the BHA Board, to make sure that our children have a future to enjoy public lands.


Sam Donnelson, Northern Region Board

Sam_Donnelson.jpgGrowing up, Sam and his family spent most of their vacations and weekends recreating on Utah’s amazing public lands. Public lands and the experiences from them have really shaped who Sam is and what he values in life. As a hunter, fisherman, hiker, camper, snowmobiler, and dirt biker, Sam really takes the phrase “multi-use” to heart. Sam can be found in the outdoors year-round. He loves spending time hunting waterfowl with his brothers at the Bear River Bird Refuge in the fall. His favorite bird to chase however, is the Wild Turkey. Something about chasing springtime gobbles around the mountains in the fresh spring air really energizes him.

Sam is excited to bring to BHA his passion for public lands and his ability to relate and connect with all types of public land users. Land use issues are complex and contentious, but Sam enjoys learning and sharing his passion for what he believes in. Sam’s bachelor’s degree in Technical Sales from Weber State University has given him skills to help communicate and engage with folks on all sides of the issues. He enjoys his career as an Operations Manager and is excited and honored for the opportunity to serve as Board Member with BHA.


Lauren Ryan, Northern Region Board Member

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Lauren was raised on the rivers and public lands of Eastern Montana, with the Beartooth Mountains and Yellowstone River as her playground. From an early age, she was taught the art of fly fishing, and how to hold her own on the oars of a drift boat so her parents could enjoy catching fish. The love of the West and its wild places kept her in Montana, where she received a degree in Community and Environmental Planning at the University of Montana in Missoula. Most recently, she has found a love of chasing birds in the uplands and now considers herself an adult-onset hunter. Hunting has brought a new perspective to her experience in the outdoors and a passion to help conserve these places she loves. 

Lauren now resides in Logan, Utah with her husband, and German Shorthaired Pointer rescue, Faye. In the daytime, she works for Cache County as a long-range planner working on land use related issues.


Brandon Savaiinaea, Southern Region Board Member

Brandon_S.pngMy name is Brandon Savaiinaea. I was born a raised in Independence, Missouri. I grew up around family and friends that hunted by my mother never allowed me join in on the fun. I mainly fished growing up catching bass, blue gill and crappie. At age 19 I finally had my first hunting experience joining my friends on a squirrel hunt. I wouldn’t hunt again until I was 28 years old. I’m sort of a late bloomer when it comes to hunting and virtually didn’t know anything about public lands issues until I started watching and listening to Steve Rinella. From that point on I was hooked. I lived in California for ten years before moving to Southwest Utah three years ago. I’ve been on many failed hunts in my short time hunting but I’ve had some of the most enjoyable experiences in my life hunting and recreating on public lands.  I knew that when I moved here that the federally managed public lands had been under constant threat. After two years of living here I decided to get involved. I had already been a member of BHA for a few years and then I heard the Muley Freak podcasts Western Slam with Josh and Perry on it that was hosted by Kory Van Tams. At that time we had no representation in Southern Utah. After meeting Perry at the Hunt Expo and exchanging emails with Perry and was encouraged to write an essay on why I wanted to be part of the Utah. In short I am just an average guy that is passionate about hunting and public lands. I have no background in politics or wildlife biology or a seasoned hunter. I am willing to put up a fight so that my children and my children’s children will be able to recreate and enjoy these public lands that many take for granted. My goal is to educate and drive membership in Southern Utah so that many will be able to understand the complexities and alleviate some of the so called fears and mistrust of federally managed public lands. 


Trish Hedin, Southeastern Region Board

Trish_Hedin.jpgTrish has been an avid outdoorswoman her entire life. Growing up in a logging family requires not only being tough, but enjoying all the outdoors has to offer. Trish has trapped and hunted throughout her whole life and believes in access to public lands and the bounty that they provide. She is an educator who has taught all ages and is currently a professor for the Utah State University with the Department of Environment and Society, as well as working for her local school district. Trish is also enthusiastically involved with the UDWR as both a regional RAC Chair and a hunter education instructor.

 


Tony Mancuso, Southeastern Region Board

Tony_Mancuso.jpgI grew up hunting whitetail and upland birds in the mixed hardwood forests of eastern Pennsylvania. My family tried hard to pique my curiosity in the outdoor world, and it worked. For me, the best thing about living in the West is the abundance of space where a person can explore and discover. That inspiration led me to pursue a lifelong career outdoors as a guide, wildlife tech, and land manager. It's really a privilege to call Utah home. The same passion that drives me to get outside; demands that I work to protect the places I go. 

 

 


Ashley Kimburis, Southeastern Region Board

Ashley_Kumburis.jpgAshley is a born and raised hunter from the suburbs of northern New Jersey. An unusual place to begin one’s hunting journey, Ashley spent her youth hunting and fishing with her father in NJ, PA, and NY for turkey, whitetail deer, and trout. After moving to The Adirondacks to study Biology, Ashley began hunting grouse, rabbits, and ducks while learning how to homestead and forage. From the northern Adirondacks Ashley crossed the continental divide and moved to Colorado where she began hunting for elk and earning a master’s in Public Land Management. From Colorado Ashley crossed the border into Utah where she currently works restoring public land through vegetation management. Ashley is passionate about connecting people with public land and using her skills to enhance native habitat through education and restoration practices.


Joshua Lenart, Policy Advisor / Past Chair 

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Although his dad is a bird hunter and his brother a deer hunter, Joshua is an archery elk hunter. A lifelong outdoorsman, he moved to Montana to chase wapiti across the public lands that support them after a chance encounter with a traditional archer in the Gallatin National Forest in 2002. Joshua holds an MA in English from Montana State University and a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing Studies from the University of Utah where he currently teaches technical communication in the Communication, Leadership, Ethics, and Research (CLEAR) Program. His appointment is in the Departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Chemical Engineering. His research focuses on land management policy as it relates to landscape-scale infrastructure and its impacts on wildlife, habitat, and adaptation planning. Currently, he is working closely with several local and national organizations to research stakeholder discourse on the sale, transfer, and management of federal public lands. Joshua also serves on the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Regional Advisory Council (Central Region).

Feel free to email Joshua at [email protected] with any issues, ideas, questions you have relating to wildlife and public lands in and around the Intermountain West.  


Jay Banta, Board Member Emeritus

Unknown.jpgJay was raised in the farm country of the Salinas Valley of California. He developed a passion for all things outdoors at a very early age and was engaged in studying birds of all kinds by the time he was 7 or 8 years old. He fondly remembers his early hunting forays, riding his bike across his small community and going down to the river to chase quail, cottontails and an occasional duck.

This love of wildlife led him to a degree in wildlife management from Humboldt State University in 1978. Soon after, he embarked on a career as a wildlife technician, working on national wildlife refuges in California, Nevada, Minnesota, and Utah. This was followed by a six year tour as a Wildlife Biologist for the Department of Army in Oklahoma and then a transfer back to the National Wildlife Refuge System as the Refuge Manager at the Bill Williams NWR in Arizona. After a couple of hot years on Lake Havasu, he transferred back to his dream station, the Fish Springs NWR where he remained as the Refuge Manager for 19 years before retiring in March of 2010.

Aside from watching birds, Jay is a passionate spring turkey hunter and enjoys pursuing all upland birds in the fall. He views his work with BHA as a stellar opportunity to continue to contribute to the habitat conservation that has been core to his world for over 40 years. He now lives in beautiful Torrey, UT and is the proud father of two wonderful kids and the most wonderful granddaughter in the whole world!

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