Wallowa Mountains Hells Canyon Trails Association

Board & Staff

Russ West, Board Chair

Russ West and his wife Mary have been hiking and packing in the Eagle Cap Wilderness and the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana for the past 32 years. They have horses and mules, and enjoy using them to support projects. They believe that both foot soldiers and the cavalry are needed to maintain our trails. They also enjoy the freedom and flexibility of backpacking.

Russ enjoys gravity sports like mountain biking (not in the wilderness, of course) and back country skiing in the Elkhorn and Wallowa Mountains. Mary is a great camp cook and also likes to work on the trails.

Russ was a district attorney for Union County for 18 years, then circuit judge for Union and Wallowa counties for 15 years until he retired in 2018. He is now a senior judge and works 35 days a year. While attending law school Russ worked as a smokejumper for five years. Russ and Mary have a timber stand which they enjoy managing. One of Russ‘s favorite activities is logging.

Jim Akenson, Vice Chair

Jim’s career has been heavily tied to mountains, wilderness, and backcountry travel. As a field station manager/scientist for the University of Idaho, he has been a wilderness skills instructor – stock use – for USFS wilderness rangers and packers, for Idaho Fish & Game conservation officers, and many university students over the past three decades. His specialty is packing mules in remote places, doing heavy work with mules in harness, and mentoring all ages on traditional backcountry skills.

For 21 years (year-round) he lived within the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho 35 miles from a road-end. As a job necessity, he traveled and cleared trails during all seasons, starting in 1982 and ending in 2010. In his early professional years, he was a wilderness planner for the BLM during the Hells Canyon review process for the southern boundary expansion of Hells Canyon Wilderness.

He also has been in leadership positions in several 501C3 organizations, including nationally as: Executive Director of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, President of the Professional Bowhunters Society, and currently as the statewide Conservation Director for the Oregon Hunters Association.

Randi Jandt, Secretary

Randi Jandt has worked as a firefighter, wildlife biologist, and fire ecologist—much of that time in Alaska.

Elnora Cameron, Treasurer

Elnora has been returning to the Wallowas for over 20 years since driving the Nez Perce National Historic Trail in 2001, and starting that trip in Wallowa County. She is now a permanent resident. Before she retired in 2019, she was an executive with a health care system, responsible for strategic planning, marketing, hospital construction, and contracts with health plans. She loves living among Ponderosa pines, close to two of the main trail heads into Eagle Cap, and is thrilled to share land with wild animals. And one domestic one!

Linda Rooper, Board Member

Linda and her husband, Ross, have called Wallowa County “home” since they honeymooned here in August of 1977. Two of their four boys were born in the old Wallowa Memorial Hospital where Wallowa Resources now resides. Linda works summers for the US Forest Service Recreation Department as well as caring for her elderly mother at home. Other US Forest Service assignments have taken her to the edge of the Frank Church wilderness to study osprey, the eastern Oregon high desert to study sage grouse, and the Hells Canyon NRA to study riparian vegetation.

Many of Linda’s positions have provided high adventure, such as five seasons chasing wildfires across the West, pest control in the Yellowstone Basin, and as a wilderness ranger (with her 17-year-old son) in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Linda is an outdoor girl who loves the country. She served as a recreation compliance officer along the Metolius River of Central Oregon, the Payette River of Central Idaho, and most recently developed recreation in the Wallowa Valley and Hells Canyon NRA. She enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, hot springs, church, family, gardening, and being an active board member of WMHCTA.

Lora Tennant, Board Member

Lora grew up on a small farm in rural West Virginia, where she learned to love the forests, hills, and streams. Lora moved to Wallowa County in October 2017 to work as a fisheries biologist with the Nez Perce Tribe.

Prior to moving to NE Oregon, Lora spent the last 12-15 years working throughout the western United States from the desert southwest to southwest Alaska. Wherever she has been over the years, the local trail systems have been an important part of her daily life. She is happy to have settled in an area rich in mountains, canyons, prairies, and a trail network that connects them. She is grateful to have the opportunity to help maintain the extensive network of trails in the Wallowa Mountains and Hells Canyon.

In addition to hiking, backpacking, and trail running, Lora also enjoys backcountry snowboarding, crosscountry skiing, fishing, reading, cooking, gardening, and spending time with her family (including her four-legged fur child).

Bob Pace, Board Member

Bob was born and raised in Enterprise and wouldn’t trade growing up in The County for anything. He fished, hunted, hiked, and backpacked into the High Lakes when time permitted. After college and getting married, he and his wife Mary Kay moved to Nevada to teach, coach, raise their kids, mine some, and learn to love the desert country of the Great Basin. They moved “Home” in 2017 and found WMHCTA. Mary Kay and Bob enjoy being members of WMHCTA for all that it has to offer. The icing on the cake is the friends that they’ve made and the good work that they've accomplished.

Brent Lewis, Board Member

Brent Lewis is a retired CPA and life-long resident of Union County. He has been active in the community, is an avid outdoorsman and appreciative of our environment. He feels maintaining our system of trails provides opportunity for others to experience and enjoy the solitude and beauty of our area.

Morgan Olson, Board Member

Born and raised in Oregon, Morgan grew up in the Gresham area and then moved to LaGrande to attend college at Eastern Oregon University. He graduated from Oregon State University with a degree Range Management and Crop Science.

Morgan is involved in a number of outdoor related groups which support public access for hunting and fishing...

  • President of the Union/Wallowa County Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association

  • Hunter Rep. of ODFW Access and Habitat State Board

  • ODFW Bear and Cougar Agent

  • Board Member of Wallow Mountains Hells Canyon Trails Association

In his spare time you will find Morgan in a drift boat stocking trout and steelhead, leading a pack string, running his hounds, hunting and fishing across the Western US and around the world.

Pam Frolander, Board Member

Bio coming soon.

Lantz Hughes, Board Member

Bio coming soon.

Holly Akenson, Board Member

Bio coming soon.

Dick Walker, Board Member

Bio coming soon.

Staff Members

Mike Hansen, Project Director

Mike Hansen has worked and recreated extensively in the Eagle Cap, and Wenaha-Tucannon Wildernesses, as well as in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area since 1990. He primarily travels the backcountry by backpack, but has used horses and mules on occasion.

Mike also enjoys big game hunting, photography, birdwatching, butterfly watching, and sharpening crosscut saws. His experience with rope rescue in Search and Rescue work got him interested in climbing and trimming trees as a hobby.

Mike retired after spending the past 23 years working in the backcountry of Wallowa County as a wildlife biologist for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. He has also volunteered for Wallowa County Search and Rescue for the past 25 years. Since retiring from ODF&W Mike has spent time traveling, backpacking, and administering a community science project on iNaturalist – the Northeast Oregon Beaver Survey.

Anna Vogel, Outreach Coordinator

Bio coming soon.

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