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Wilderness Volunteers

Board of Directors


Cheryl Walczak, President, South Ogden, UT

Originally from Chicago, Cheryl has been interested in the beauty and history of the West since family vacations as a child. Her eclectic interests kept her learning, earning a BA in Anthropology and Biology from Northwestern University in Evanston, a field-work based MS in Ecology from Penn State University, and an MD from Loyola-Stritch School of Medicine in Illinois. She practiced interventional and diagnostic radiology for 25 years in Illinois, Minnesota, and Utah. After thrashing through gnarly brush on archeological projects in Grand Gulch in the 1990’s, she noticed a pamphlet at an outdoor store offering opportunities to clear trails in the same area. She has been having new ventures with Wilderness Volunteers since 1999, and began leading trips in 2001 with founder John Sherman. She was asked to join the Board in May 2014. The enjoyment of new places and meeting people with similar interests keeps her with the organization. She’ll explore just about anywhere her two feet will take her.

Lee Cooper, Treasurer, Tucson, AZ

Lee has been leading WV trips in Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, and Utah since 2006. He loves being in the wilderness as evidenced by the fact that he spends 6-7 weeks a year sleeping on his Therm A Rest. When home in Tucson, Arizona, he spends most weekends monitoring the backcountry and trails of Saguaro National Park East as a volunteer. Lee has always come away from WV trips amazed at the wonderful people he meets and how much work they accomplish.

Curtis Mobley, Secretary, Sammamish, WA

Curt imprinted on red rocks while growing up next to Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle, and he discovered mountains on Boy Scout trips to New Mexico. He received a B.S. in Physics with Highest Honors from the University of Texas at Austin, spent a year in Germany on a Fulbright Fellowship, and finally ended up with a Ph.D. in Meteorology from the University of Maryland at College Park. For most of his career he worked as an oceanographer studying how light interacts with the ocean. Along the way, he worked twelve years for the University of Washington, managed the U.S. Navy’s Ocean Optics Program, worked for a large consulting firm and at the Jet Propulsion Lab. From 1997 to 2019 he was the V.P. for Science at a small oceanography company in Bellevue, Washington. Although now theoretically retired, Curt is busier than ever with projects of all kinds ranging from replacing his grass lawn with native vegetation, to genealogy, to continuing to dabble in oceanography.

For 15 years Curt was the Finance Officer for the Sierra Club’s Water Trips Subcommittee, for which he led many white water raft trips on rivers from the Grand Canyon to Alaska’s North Slope. He also led Sierra Club cultural trips in China. He knew that WV was the organization for him as soon as he spent his first week logging tamarisks in the Escalante, and he led WV trips from 2002 to 2018. For vacations, he is usually in a sea kayak in some exotic corner of the world, including even a 30 day expedition along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula in 2018.

Rick Volpe, Harleysville, PA

Rick became introduced to WV while surfing the web for volunteer outdoor activities. Rick’s inaugural trip into Dark Canyon confirmed his desire to support the organization, and to take advantage of as many trips as can be fit in his family and business schedule. Rick and his wife Marge have enjoyed backpacking, canoeing and camping with their four children from Maryland’s Eastern Shore to the rocky coast of Maine. They have also completed numerous church trips to Mexico’s Yucatan to construct churches and medical clinics. As recent empty nesters, they are venturing more to the wide-open west, into the heart of WV territory. In addition to numerous church Boards and committees, Rick and Marge serve on the Board of Governors of Opportunity International, helping the world’s poorest people transform their lives through microfinance. Rick is the founder and owner of Asset Planning Services, a financial advisory firm located in suburban Philadelphia.

Gerry Norton, Henderson, NV

Gerry learned about WV from an ad in the back of Backpacker magazine; he loved the idea of giving back and finding new areas to see and discover. Originally from Upstate New York, he has always had a passion for exploring the outdoors, camping, backpacking, and fishing in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. He is an Eagle Scout and has earned his Masters of Arts degree in Organizational Management. He was transplanted to Nevada via the Air Force, now retired after a 22 year career, and has grown to love the West and all that it has to offer. He is currently a government civilian and Deputy Commander for a Logistics Squadron which he absolutely loves but keeps him extremely busy. He started volunteering and giving back with WV trips in 2014 and co-led his first trip in 2017. Gerry leads 2 to 3 trips a year and loves every minute of it. He especially loves the people and adventures that come with the experience. It always humbles him to see how much a small group of like-minded people can accomplish when they work together as a WV team.

Don Meaders, Albuquerque, NM

Don’s family moved to Los Alamos, NM in 1952. As Don grew up with the Santa Fe National Forest for his backyard, he did his own versions of trail maintenance and building. As a teen Don fought wildfires behind his house, began rock climbing and expanded his explorations by backpacking with old army surplus packs that were very heavy (steel frame and canvas bag).

After high school Don went off to get a BS from Michigan State University and did a year as a Vista Volunteer in Arkansas (considered SW region by the US government.) After college he brought his wife back to New Mexico, joined the Sierra Club, and was elected to the local board in Albuquerque. Don served 5 years as the Sierra Club outings chair, and led many backpacks and hikes all over. After being active in the adopt-a-trail program, he did his first national service trip to Alaska, where he became hooked on service projects. Since 1988 he has done at least one every year. Don started doing service trips with WV soon after it was founded, and began co-leading trips soon after.

Don was a commercial carpenter for 40 years where he learned about starting early, using tools, running a crew, showing up, getting dirty, and working in all kinds of weather. He retired as a jobsite superintendent and since retirement now does 4 or 5 WV projects every year. Don truly believes in WV's mission and loves the folks he gets to work with.

Paul Kehrer, Laramie, WY

Paul has been exploring the mountain west since the early 70s. He has volunteered with the WV since 2008 and also supports the Wyoming Wilderness Association, the Glen Canyon Institute and the American Prairie Reserve.

Ross Holloway, Corvallis, OR

Ross is a native Oregonian who currently resides in Corvallis, Oregon. He graduated from Oregon State University and spent a 30-year career with the Oregon Department of Forestry, where he led forest management and recreation management planning projects for Oregon’s state forests, and served in leadership positions on wildland fire teams. From 2012 to 2019, Ross served as Executive Director of the non-profit Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust, supporting outdoor education, interpretation and recreation programs on the Tillamook State Forest. A lifelong hiker, camper and backpacker, Ross learned about Wilderness Volunteers in 2011 when he encountered a WV project team working in Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness. After participating as a volunteer on two projects, he attended WV Leader training in 2012, and has been leading projects every year since. He has led projects in Zion and Saguaro National Parks as well as the Eagle Cap Wilderness in Oregon.

Steve Cole, Twentynine Palms, CA

Max Gordon, Olympia, WA

Max is a Seattle-area native who loves to hike as well as maintain trails. He studied history and later public administration at the University of Washington. He got his start with trails work with AmeriCorps stints with groups like the Student Conservation Association. He has stayed involved as much as possible with various volunteer organizations such as Washington Trails Association and the Pacific Crest Trail Association. He first learned about Wilderness Volunteers while looking up opportunities to participate in environmental restoration in the Elwha River valley in Olympic National Park. His first WV trip was in 2015 and he took the leader training in 2017. This organization has allowed him to see many different parts of this beautiful country and meet the passionate locals who keep them open to the public. He has lived in Olympia since 2014 where he works for a state environmental agency.