Our Director Sarah Walker is our first official ‘Friend’ of the Bridger-Teton. Walker is fortunate to be supported as an employee of the Grand Teton Association while she builds an organization committed to protecting public lands and inspiring stewardship across western Wyoming.
Sarah has spent over a decade exploring, researching and advocating for Wyoming’s public lands. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from St. Marys College of Maryland and a Masters in Natural Resources and Science Education from the University of Wyoming. During her time in western Wyoming Walker studied songbird populations with the Conservation Research Center, sage grouse with Craighead Beringia South, native fisheries and big game disease with Wyoming Game and Fish, and taught field education at Teton Science School. She found her passion for community organizing and protecting public lands while working with the Wyoming Wilderness Association, where she served as the Shoshone Wildlands Organizer and later as the Interim Director.
Sarah resides in Dubois, Wyoming with her husband Seth Halman and pup Sadie, where they’re lucky enough to enjoy the Bridger-Teton and Shoshone National Forests just out their backdoor every chance they get.
Star Valley Ranch, WY. Greg retired as the Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation Management for the Northern Region of the Forest Service in 2005. In his 34 year career he served as both a Type 1 and Type 2 Planning Section Chief and Operations Section Chief, Incident Commander and a National Area Commander. Greg also served the Forest Service as a seasonal Trail Crew Leader, District Recreation and Resource Officer, and Prescribed Fire Specialist.
Greg currently resides in Star Valley Ranch, Wyoming with his wife Shirley. From 2011 to the present Greg has served as the Chair of the Town of Star Valley Ranch Natural Resource Board, coordinating programs such as Arbor Day/Tree City USA, Firewise Community, Noxious Weed Program, Dark Sky Initiative and the cooperative Trail Program with the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Greg was instrumental in establishing the volunteer Star Valley Ranch Trail Crew. Since 2015 the crew has constructed the Green Canyon Trailhead and over 10 miles of front-country trail on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The SVRC has over 50 active volunteer members.
Jackson, WY. Susan has worked for the U.S. Forest Service for over thirty years and served as recreation staff officer in the Bridger-Teton National Forest supervisor’s office from 1988-2010.
Since retiring in 2010 she has volunteered for numerous conservation-oriented projects and works as a freelance writer and artist. Among her books are several focused on the BTNF, including visitor guides to the Wyoming Range and the forest’s wildernesses. She co-edited, with Ron Chilcote, The Wild Wyoming Range and co-wrote, with Florence Shepard, Saving Wyoming’s Hoback, winner of the 2016-17 Wallace Stegner Prize in Environmental Humanities. She currently writes a column for the online Mountain Journal.
Susan continues her lifelong dedication to forests and other public wildlands, and spends as much time as she can in special places within the BTNF, including the Tri-Basin country, Hoback Basin, and the Wyoming Range Trail.
Wilson, WY. Ellen spent most of her childhood in Wilson, Wyoming on her grandparents’ ranch. She graduated from college with a BFA after attending St. Lawrence University, Le Facultédes Lettres in France and the University of Wyoming. In 1989 she became passionate about starting a recycling program for Teton County and created, with the help of many others, Jackson Community Recycling (now Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling) where she developed collection programs, operated heavy equipment and served as Executive Director. In 1997 she designed and permitted Teton County’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility and obtained Hazardous Waste Operator/Emergency Responder Certification to serve as its chief operator; The HHW facility was the first of its kind in the U.S. In 2004 Ellen left Jackson Community Recycling to travel with her husband who retired after 27 years at Jackson Elementary School that same year. Since 2008 Ellen has been a non-profit consultant and grant writer. She also teaches Nordic and Alpine skiing. She has served on the National Parks Conservation Association Advisory Council since 2006.
Pinedale, WY. Conor is a Pinedale native and has spent nearly 25 years exploring and appreciating the majesty of the Wind River Mountain Range. He works as a guide in the Wind River Mountains and assists in studies that address the environmental state of the Wind River ecosystem(s). He acquired his Bachelor's degree in Physical Science from the University of Wyoming and has worked with youth in the outdoors for almost a decade, in hopes of rooting environmental and scientific awareness for future generations. Conor also established the Wind River Range Adventurer Scholarship that aims to challenge college bound students in their critical thinking of the values and issues associated with the Wind River Range. Every year Conor marks, packs out and weighs trash he encounters in the Wind River Range and has been compiling an annual Wind River Impact report to document this growing concern. Conor plans to stay in his hometown to continue his pursuit of appreciation, humility and education; all products of the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Pinedale, WY. Laura is a co-owner of the Great Outdoor Shop and Two Rivers Fishing Company in Pinedale, Wyoming. She is the founder and director of the annual Wind River Mountain Festival, the Surly Pika Adventure Race, and The Drift winter marathon. She was recognized as one of the Wyoming Business Council’s 40 Under 40, and with her husband was a recipient of the Wyoming State Chamber Business of the Year award for 2018, as well as the Pinedale Live Local award. Laura is a dedicated backpacker who likes to cover a lot of miles in a small amount of time. When she isn’t hitting the trails, she can be found dangling off a rock on climbing days, stretching it all out on her yoga mat, or heading out for a long bike ride or trail run.
Governor Gordon proclaims Wyoming Public Lands Day, mention of Forest Friends NPLD/WPLD Celebration. Buckrail Photo Sarah Averill
Friends of the Bridger-Teton Director Sarah Walker snapped this image of a photographer getting far too close to a mother griz and cubs on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Bear jams on the Blackrock Ranger District are an increasing concern for bear and visitor safety.
Across the western U.S., towns surrounded by public lands are facing an increasing bind: They're seeing a huge surge in visitors coming to play in the forests and mountains surrounding them, which is leading to an economic boom. But, at the same time, federal funding to manage these lands has been drying up.
"There are these dramatic increases in recreational uses of public lands, and at the same time dramatic declines in recreational budgets," says Megan Lawson, a researcher at the Montana-based think tank Headwaters Economics.
With Friends of the Bridger-Teton’s first project out of the way, Walker said she’s searching for new initiatives to back. She will be traveling to communities along the outskirts of the 3.4 million-acre national forest to identify what those projects will be.