The NWSA Board
Randy Rasmussen, NWSA Board Chair
Director for Public Lands & Recreation Back Country Horsemen of America
Since 2012, Randy has represented Back Country Horsemen of America—a widely respected national, non-profit volunteer service organization.
Randy assists BCHA’s 31 state organizations to advance initiatives and strengthen partnerships to ensure that current and future generations will continue to enjoy access to back country and Wilderness experiences. He was a key player in the development and promotion of concepts contained in the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act, which gained widespread bipartisan support and was signed into law in November 2016.
Prior to joining BCHA, Randy was senior policy manager for American Hiking Society. He was a founding board member of Trailkeepers of Oregon, a non-profit volunteer trail maintenance organization.
Ann Baker-Easley, NWSA Vice--Chair
Ann Baker Easley is a Colorado native who grew up in Boulder. There, she first discovered her love of the outdoors through family camping trips, backpacking and hiking. Over the past 25 years, Baker Easley has led state and national environmental, volunteer, and youth-development oriented nonprofit organizations, with a focus on strengthening their programs and helping them grow to new levels. Most recently she served for 14 years as the CEO for Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC), a statewide stewardship organization. Prior to Ann served as the founding director of the Colorado Youth Corps Association where she was its Executive Director for 11 years. She is a graduate of Colorado State University where she earned a BS in Psychology and the University of Michigan where she earned a MSW in policy and program development. She and her husband recently moved to Corvallis, Oregon where she is entering her new rewiring” phase! In addition to serving on the NWSA Board of Directors, Baker Easley serves as a governing member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Stewardship Council and The University of Michigan School of Social Work Alumni Board of Directors. Effective December 2021, Ann will begin a remote position as full-time Director of Institutional Giving with the national non-profit, Playworks, Inc. out of Oakland, CA.
Anne Sentz – NWSA Secretary
Anne is the landscape partnership manager for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, where she works to advance the pace of conservation within the Appalachian Trail landscape. She loves her job because it allows her to connect with public and private organizations across the East Coast.
Originally from Asheville, North Carolina, Anne holds undergraduate degrees in journalism and technical photography from Appalachian State University and a master's degree in Rhetoric and Composition from Western Carolina University. She now lives in West Virginia, where she enjoys exploring the beautiful scenery that makes up the Wild and Wonderful state.
Anne joined the NWSA Board in October 2016, and she is excited to spread the word about the incredible work being accomplished by NWSA partner organizations.
Michael Splain, NWSA Treasurer
A native of Maryland, Mike Splain relocated to the west coast in 1991 to pursue wilderness advocacy and stewardship with organizations like Forests Forever, Sierra Club, and Ventana Wilderness Alliance. He currently resides in northern California and manages the Conservation Funding Project at Resources Legacy Fund. Mike holds a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from UC Santa Cruz and spends his free time seeking flora, fauna, and solitude in the Klamath Mountains bioregion.
David Cantrell, NWSA Board Member
Dave grew up in the woods and lakes of North West Pennsylvania, a land his parents helped him learn to love and respect. His passion for wild places now finds a center in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he is a Poudre Wilderness Volunteer, helping maintain the wilderness areas of the Northern Colorado Front Range, which are much loved and always in danger of being much trammeled without the support of volunteers.
Dave chairs the Programs Committee, helping create an allied constituency for wilderness by connecting stewardship organizations nationwide with each other, linking our efforts and experiences, directing groups to resources, and fostering new organizations.
In 2012 Dave was recognized by the United States Forest Service with the Bob Marshall Award as Individual Champion for Wilderness Stewardship. Dave was the founding Chair of NWSA, and returned to the Board in 2016.
Sandy Compton, NWSA Board Member
Sandy grew up in Montana, near the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness and the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, on the property where he lives still. He is author of several book of fiction and nonfiction and hundreds of essays and articles, many dealing with the beauty and sanctity of our natural world. Sandy has been program coordinator for Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness since October, 2009. He recently received the Keith and Pat Axline Award for Environmental Activism, Idaho Conservation League's highest annual honor.
Ian Nelson, NWSA Board Member
Ian works with the Pacific Crest Trail Association as the Southern Oregon Regional Representative.
Katie Currier, NWSA Board Member
Katie has worked for a variety of different conservation and stewardship organizations across the country. A New York native, Katie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and recently completed her Master’s in Integrated Natural Resources from the University of Idaho. She is interested in the connections and challenges between rural communities and wilderness areas and is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive wilderness stewardship community.
Katie was a Program Director with Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards overseeing Field Crew and Volunteer Operations from 2016-2020. She has also worked as a Wilderness Ranger in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and spent two years training and coordinating field crews for the Utah Conservation Corps. She is a Leave No Trace Master Educator and a C-certified crosscut sawyer.
Katie joined the NWSA board in November 2016, serving as Vice Chair prior to becoming Chair in Fall 2021 thru Fall 2022.
Kaitlin DeVarona, NWSA Board Member
Kaitlin de Varona is a Nevada native living near Asheville, North Carolina where she currently serves as the executive director for Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS). Kaitlin has more than a decade of experience in the conservation world. Throughout her career, she has worked passionately to steward and protect our county’s wildest public lands. In addition to SAWS, Kaitlin worked for California State Parks, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Montana Conservation Corps, and Great Basin Institute. Kaitlin is committed to working towards equity in the outdoors and in conservation and continues to foster inclusivity in outdoor spaces and work to address past injustices to equitable access.
Throughout her time working to safeguard America’s wildest places, Kaitlin has seen the role volunteerism and non-profits are playing in wilderness stewardship as well as the value of partnerships working toward stewarding America’s enduring wilderness resource and preserving wilderness character. As such, Kaitlin joined the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance board in 2021 and proudly serves as a board member.
Kaitlin is absolutely enamored with her family, currently raising two young boys, and enjoys spending time with them outdoors hiking, camping, rock scrambling, gardening, and adventuring down the creek in their backyard. She earned a B.A. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a M.S. from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Kaitlin is certified in crosscut saw, holds a red card in wildland firefighting, and earned a Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Sciences from North Carolina State University.
Peter Mali - USDA Forest Service
Dusty Vaughn - USDA Forest Service
Peter Keller - BLM
Joelle Marier (she/her), current Executive Director,
Born and raised in Minnesota, Joelle found her first connections with wilderness in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness along Minnesota’s Canadian border and has been dedicated to the wild ever since. She joined NWSA as executive director in 2023 after many years spent filling a variety of roles in land conservation, with a primary focus on wilderness and public lands.
Most recently, Joelle served as associate director of the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust in southern Colorado where she led the finance and operations side of the organization, managed an array of grant funding, completed private land conservation projects and worked alongside the executive director in nearly all other aspects of the organization. Prior to this role, she worked as a grassroots organizer for New Mexico Wild where she promoted advocacy campaigns to protect wilderness-quality BLM lands across the state. Here, she also managed a budding wilderness ranger partnership with the USFS Southwestern Region. Prior to this, she served as an interagency wilderness fellow for the National Park Service where she completed wilderness character baseline assessments for parks in western Colorado and Hawai’i through the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute. Several seasons spent on trail crews and as a wilderness ranger for the Forest Service in Montana and New Mexico, and as a naturalist and backcountry guide in Alaska have helped to foster much of her wilderness ethic, along with countless personal wilderness adventures.
Joelle holds a Graduate Certificate in Geographical Information Systems, a B.A. degree in Environmental Studies, and A.S. degrees in Wilderness Management and Parks & Recreation. She currently resides in Del Norte, Colorado where she enjoys skiing in the San Juan Mountains, hiking and backpacking the many nearby wilderness areas and watching the wildlife that share the lands surrounding her home. She is excited to apply her experience and vision to lead NWSA toward new levels of success, connect and grow our stewardship community, and increase our impact across the nation.
Randy Welsh, retired Executive Director
Retired from the US Forest Service in 2015, after a 36 year career, Randy is enjoying his new found freedom to serve as a executive director of NWSA.
“Having served in protected area management with emphasis on wilderness and rivers most of my career I am especially aware of the need for strong partner stewardship organizations. I hope I can help NWSA achieve it’s mission of a stewardship group for every wilderness area.”
Randy spent time in Washington DC as the National Program Leader for Wild and Scenic Rivers and as Assistant Director of Recreation, Heritage and Volunteer Resources. He was a Regional Wilderness Specialist in the Intermountain Region working on wilderness and rivers issues for over 16 years before moving to Washington. Married, with two grown daughters, Randy lives in Oregon and enjoys river trips, wilderness hikes, and visits with friends and family. Let him know what you would like NWSA to become.
Past Board Members
Darcy Shepard, past NWSA Treasurer, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, 2012-2018
Jennifer Tripp, Pacific Crest Trail Association, 2016-2018
Bill Hodge, past NWSA Chair, 2011-2016
Bill Hodge is the new Executive Director of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation
Doug Scott, NWSA Board Member, 2013-2017
Doug has devoted his career to Wilderness. He helped pass many wilderness bills, including the Eastern Wilderness Areas Act (1975) and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA, 1980), as well as Alpine Lakes Wilderness in his home state of Washington.
He worked for The Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club, and the Campaign for America's Wilderness.
He served as the Club’s national conservation director and associate executive director. He was honored with the organization’s prestigious John Muir Award.
Scott has written several books, including The Enduring Wilderness and Our Wilderness: America's Common Ground. He is a past chair of the NWSA Board.
Hawk Metheny, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, 2010-2016
Shaaron Netherton, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, 2010-2016
Eric Melson, Montana Land Trust, 2016-2018
Celina Montorfano, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, 2010-2016
Adam Andis, Sitka Conservation Society, 2010-2016
Elaine Dermody, Friends of Wilderness, past NWSA Vice-Chair 2010-2012
Heather Day, 2010-2011
Margaret Shaklee, 2011-2013
Jerome Wilson, 2010-2012
Daven Hafey, 2014
Bob Hazelton, San Gorgonio Volunteers, 2012-2016
Stuart Dodd, Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance, 2016-2019
Andrew Schurr - 2012 - 2019
Andrew Downs, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, 2015 -2021
David Kallenbach, former Executive Director, Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation, 2019-2021
Zach Bumgarner, New Mexico Wild, 2019 - 2020
Chelsea Phillippe, 2020-2022