Utah Chapter Board

Joshua Lenart, 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 utah@backcountryhunters.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.


Caitlin Curry, Secretary

Caitlin_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. After re-discovering her passion for fishing and taking up hunting as an adult, the outdoor bug eventually took hold and caused her to move to Utah in 2018 in search of countless public land adventures. Already an active member of the NY BHA chapter, Caitlin was well in-tune with the severity of attacks on public lands in Utah prior to moving, but saw the issue as an opportunity to jump in and step up for public lands in the middle of the crossfire. Though she is very open to pursuing a vast array of wild game, her favorite hunting experiences so far include bowhunting for elk and training her Irish Red Setter puppy for upland game. Professionally, Caitlin is a financial analyst with a B.S. in Business Administration and MBA from the University at Buffalo where she ran Track & Field and Cross Country.


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.


Kait West, Public Outreach Chair

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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.


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.

Andrew Wike, Partnership Coordinator

Andrew_Wike.pngI’ve been using public lands for recreation since my mid 20’s. I am relatively new to hunting and fishing, but been lucky enough to ski, climb, hike, hunt, and fish in a number of beautiful places across this great country. I’m a public lands absolutist. Government officials threatening our public lands count on us being uninformed and confused by the bureaucratic process. I am committed to beating opponents of public lands at their own game. We need to engage with other public land users, strengthen our numbers, and focus our efforts where they will be most effective. The best times of my life have been spent on public land, I don’t plan to lose.


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!


Ashley Kijowski, Central Region Board

AshleyKijowski.JPGMy name is Ashley Kijowski. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and was lucky enough to spend summers fishing/swimming/kayaking/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! 


Jason West, Central Region Board

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I was born and raised in the Wasatch; skiing, camping, backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing and hunting were most of my earliest memories in the outdoors. During high school, college and the years after; big mountain skiing became my primary focus which I did at a professional level for 20+ years. More recently my attention has shifted back to hunting which has expanded from archery to muzzleloader and rifle seasons for everything the western US offers. 

Only because of the tireless, inconvenient and challenging work done by those conservation minded, passionate few that came before me, am I able to enjoy the access and opportunity for so many of the outdoor activities that enrich and define my life. I too want to be one of the passionate few who protect that opportunity for my daughters and generations yet unborn. 


Tyson Garr, Northern Region Board

Tyson_Garr.JPGGrowing up in Northwest Utah, Tyson has been an outdoors-man throughout his life. Traveling through most states in the west with his father he has hunted and fished almost all game species. Tyson considers himself a versatile outdoors-man that likes to hunt and fish whatever is in season. He most recently has focused on archery elk hunting, spring black bear hunting, and bass fishing. He enjoys the harvest and appreciates the process of butchering and eating wild game. Tyson holds a pre-law degree from Weber State University and has worked with local governments where he lives. Focusing on recreation management throughout most of his professional life, he has gained an understanding of the public lands war and a desire to help the cause. 


Matthew Lucas, Northeastern Region Board

Matt_Lucas.jpgI was born a fourth Generation Utahn in Taylorsville and was brought up on Utah’s Public Lands. My family vacations consisted of camping, fishing, backpacking, hunting and hiking on public land around the west. My father was an advocate for Public Lands and has always stressed to our family how lucky we are to have them. He was a backpacking, rock climbing, granola eating, Teva wearing, Ed Abbey, Neil Young, nut! My mom’s side of the family were shoot’em up, 2nd amendment, lifted truck, Chris Le’Doux lovin’, take no prisoners type of hunters. Both sides were great outdoorsmen but had a little different approach. This has made me well rounded by the differences in opinions on both sides of my family, I have sat through some interesting family dinner conversation. I love all of them and both sides love Public Lands. Both sides believe in Multiple Use, not Multiple Abuse. I’m the outcome of that!

At an early age, I became passionate about shooting a bow and by 18, I had shot and killed 2 nice Mule Deer. As that addiction waned, I got sucked into fly fishing and moving water, which led me into my now profession as a guide and outfitter (Western Rivers Flyfisher Guides) on UT’s Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam. I have been a full-time guide for 11 years and hope to be guiding for the rest of my life. In 2014, I found a new passion that works well with my guide season; upland hunting with pointing dogs. After following around my friends’ dogs for a season, I bought my first French Brittany in 2015 and now have 2 more. Following around these dogs on a Chukar hill, in the sage brush steppe or grass lands in the public lands of the west looking for Huns, Quail, Sharpies and Thunder Chickens is all I can think about.

I am honored to be a part of BHA and hope to represent the Northeast region to the best of my ability.


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. 


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. 

 

 


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.

 


Tyler Coleman, USU College Club President 

Tyler_Coleman.pngHusband, father of two, native trout conservationist and fighting to keep it public and protect those lands. I spent most of my life living in Arizona taking the public land for granted but after a few years living near Detroit, Michigan we needed to get back west were we belong where public land is abundant. I am currently the Utah State University President, work doing public out for Western Native Trout Initiative, providing brand content and manage social media accounts for fly fishing companies, work in the USU Fish Ecology lab, write articles for various fly fishing and outdoor media platforms and attend USU for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences / Management and Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems. Instagram @thecolemancollection 

 


Kolby White, USU College Club Vice President

Kolby_White.jpgI am Kolby White, I am 26. I was born and raised in western Weber County on a dairy farm. I grew up working with cows and on equipment. I loved hunting pheasants, ducks and geese on our property, but my passion has always been in the mountains hunting elk and deer. I served a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Argentina. When I came home I built air plane parts, but quickly learned my passions lied in the outdoors. So I left my job making good money to be a seasonal for the Forest Service. I am now attending Utah State University, majoring in Wildlife Ecology and Management. I hope to move into wildlife law enforcement after graduation. I can trace my passions for the outdoors back to a cold September day when I was twelve. My grandfather took me into the mountains, and sat me down on a hillside overlooking a meadow. He handed me a bugle and I made a lot of noise, none of which resembled an elk. However, a bull elk walked into the meadow and tipped his head back and steam left his mouth as he let out the first bugle I had ever heard. From that moment on, I have been hooked on spending time in wild places and watching wild animals. I love to hunt, fish, ride my dirtbike, go on adventures with my wife and two dogs (a brittany spaniel named Zoey, and a deaf mini Aussie named Lia), as well as work on the farm. 


Mike Moulton, USU College Club Secretary 

Mike_Moulton.jpegI got my start hunting and fishing like many of us did, by going with my dad on the weekends. I started just bait fishing but eventually was turned on to fly-fishing, which kicked off a lifelong addiction! I would also pick up bow hunting around this time thanks to my cousin who talked me into it. These interests would often take me places such as Boulder Mountain, the Uintas, and many other places. I’ve always enjoyed big game hunting and while I prefer archery I don’t mind using a rifle or muzzleloader either. Aside from big game I love to hunt upland game such as chukar or grouse and it’d be a tough decision if I ever had to pick between the two. I served in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia where I spent a few seasons chasing whitetails, but I’m now back in Utah chasing elk and attending college at Utah State University. I’m dual majoring in Wildlife Ecology and Management, Rangeland Ecology and Management, and minoring in Fisheries sciences. Growing up I took our public lands for granted, however, during my time in Virginia I was made aware of how important it is since there was so little available for hunters and anglers to enjoy. I look forward to doing my part to help ensure Utah’s public land stays public!


Mark Devey, USU College Club Treasurer

Mark_Devey.pngSome of my favorite and most influential childhood experiences were fishing, hiking, and camping on national parks, national forests, BLM land, and state parks throughout Utah and the intermountain west. These early experiences greatly influenced my choice to get a BS in Management & Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems at Utah State University, where I have extended my studies as a MS student in Watershed Sciences. My academic interests include the intersection of geomorphology and geochemistry with aquatic ecology and restoration. However, my past work experience has also instilled in me a passion for working with private landowners to manage natural resources in a way that benefits everybody, including public access and fish and wildlife habitat. As a trout fishing addict, I depend upon access and responsible use of public lands in Utah and beyond, but I enjoy hiking and riding mountain bikes on them as well. I habitually jump on any opportunity I can get to help out in aquatic research projects, habitat restoration, outreach, and public lands cleanups here in northern Utah.


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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