Joshua Lenart, Chair
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with any issues, ideas, questions you have relating to wildlife and public lands in and around the Intermountain West.
Perry Hall, Vice 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.
Chris Smith, Treasurer
Chris was raised in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California on the western edge of enormous tracts of public land. Through family friends he got the opportunity to hunt deer, wild pig, turkey, and duck, although ironically these early hunting experiences took place exclusively on private land. It was only after moving to Salt Lake City and exploring the public hunting and fishing opportunities in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming that he became aware of how important access to public land is for the general hunting and fishing public. As Utah may be regarded as ground zero for the transfer of public lands, he began looking for ways to help.
He joined BHA in 2015 on the recommendation of a friend, and is now applying his background in business and software development to the role of Chapter Treasurer. Regarding the missions of BHA, he looks forward to a time when we are no longer on the defensive with regard to the transfer of public lands, and can return our main focus to improving access to public lands and streams that are inaccessible currently.
Kait West, Central Region Board Member
My name is Kait West. I grew up in Central Oregon and moved to Utah in 2009 to finish my degree in exercise and sport science at the University of Utah. I grew up in the outdoors, skiing/snowboarding, hiking, camping, playing on the river, and rock climbing. I didn't start hunting until I met and started dating my husband in 2011. It was hunting that opened my eyes to public lands issues. My vision for the Utah chapter of BHA is to stand out as a voice against the sale and transfer of public lands. My children (3 daughters) are a huge driving force for me. I want them to have the same access and opportunities in the outdoors that I have had, and that they deserve.I am excited to be a Board Member and look forward to growing our chapter and getting our voices heard.
Grey Wilson, Northern Region Board Member
A lifelong resident of Cache Valley, Grey is an avid outdoorsman who especially enjoys camping and archery hunting for big game with his wife, Andrea. He and Andrea work together in real estate and property management in Northern Utah and Southern Idaho. He loves scouting new areas and meeting new people who share his passion for the outdoors and hunts as many new areas as he can every year. He wants to expand the outreach of sportsmen towards a focus on protecting and preserving public land and water.
Brandon Savaiinaea, Southern Region Board Member
Brandon Savaiinaea was born and raised in Independence, Missouri. He grew up fishing for largemouth bass, crappie and blue gill. Brandon did not go on his first big game hunt until he was twenty-nine while he lived in California. While living in southern California he attended the University of LaVerne earning a B.A. in History. His first serious term paper was on Theodore Roosevelt and the fight for wilderness and wildlife. This term paper combined with Steven Rinella’s appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast got Brandon to get out there and start hunting. This also brought Brandon to learn about an organization Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Brandon joined BHA while living in California but it wouldn’t be until he moved to southern Utah that he realized just how much publicly managed lands are under threat. Brandon decided to reach out to the Utah BHA board and figure out more ways to get involved and that led to his position on the state board.
Jay Banta, Board Member Emeritus
Jay 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!