John Holland, Board President

John was raised in Salt Lake County and took his first backpacking trip down the Escalante River in 1978.  Over the next several years his relationship with the plateau country expanded to include many trips into the remote and lightly traveled areas of southern Utah. In 1986, John married Marsha, and they have two sons. After 13 years outside Utah working as a project manager for wireless network start-ups in nine countries across Europe and Asia, John and his family returned to Utah in 1999 landing in Bryce Valley where they took on a partner and built the KOA in Cannonville.  They sold the KOA in 2014 to focus on their guiding business and other opportunities. In addition to his role as a member of the Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners board, John serves in several different volunteer positions. He is the Bryce Community Foundation treasurer and a founding member of the Bryce Canyon Half-Marathon and 5K. John represented five southern Utah counties on the Utah State Tourism Development Board from June 2008 to June 2019. He enjoys spending his free time outdoors, in the garden, on his bike, and exploring public lands.

Scott Berry, Vice President

Scott is a 5th generation Utahn, a mostly retired trial attorney, and a lifelong resident of the state. He fell in love with the landscapes of Utah as a child, when his lawyer father took him along to his court appearances throughout the rural counties of Utah.  The Escalante Canyons were the focus of his first conservation effort, working to stop the construction of a highway from Escalante to Bullfrog. As a young attorney, he purchased land near Torrey which is the site of his primary residence today, and his home base for exploring Capitol Reef National Park. In the years that followed he helped establish the Boulder Mountain Lodge in Boulder and continues working to advance conservation in this remarkable area. He is a past board member of the Wild Utah Project and serves on the board of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.

Dr. Ed Barbanell, Board Secretary

After slogging away on Wall Street for a decade after college, Ed chucked it all, loaded up his old jalopy, and moved to Park City in 1993. The ski-bum gig didn’t last very long; he soon started graduate school at the University of Utah, where he earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy, and where he also met his wife, Melissa, another transplant from New York. With their two teenage boys together live in a hundred-year-old house in the heart of Salt Lake City, from where they frequently set off on adventures both near and far. Ed is a recently retired Professor (Lecturer) of Philosophy at the University of Utah. He regularly taught classes on environmental ethics and environmental philosophy. His published work includes a book on the water in the American West.  Over the last quarter century, he has sought out the solace, wonder, and adventure of the desert landscapes of the Southwest. With ever-more frequency, it is the area around Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to which he is drawn, and it’s future he hopes to help shape.

Carolyn Shelton

Originally from California, Carolyn spent her career working in natural resources throughout the West, both in the private sector and for BLM & USFWS.   In 2001, Carolyn and her husband Jim moved to Kanab, Utah where she was tasked with the oversight, design, and fabrication of interpretive exhibits of four new Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument visitor centers.  She managed the science and visitor services division for a decade, working fifteen years at the Monument. After 45 years working to protect Western wildlands, Carolyn retired in summer 2017 from “active duty” to “move away from the desk” and get back to the landscapes she loves.  Carolyn was a founding member of Grand Staircase Escalante Partners. Carolyn says, “I’m proud to serve on the board and believe what Margaret Mead said: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. And we shall.”

Tom Hoyt 

Tom and his wife Caroline have been pioneers in green building and sustainable neighborhood design over the 50 years they have been in business. Tom has been heavily involved in non-profit and service organizations centered around sustainable land planning, green building, national hiking trails, alternative transportation, and conservation during the majority of his career. He has served as chair of the Boulder CO Chamber; he spent ten years on the CO Nature Conservancy Board and six years on the Continental Divide Trail board. He is the founder and board member of the High Plains Environmental Center, was the founder and board member of Boulder County HBA, one of the founders and initial board members of the Boulder UT Community Association, and he spent six years as a Colorado Land Board Commissioner.  Caroline and Tom are avid hikers and discovered Southern Utah and the Boulder area early in their hiking based travels. After working with the Grand Canyon Trust on the purchase and conservation of inholdings in the newly formed Grand Staircase National Monument, they found the Deer Creek property adjacent to Boulder where they have a tent camp and have recently built a house on their adjacent Black Mesa property where they currently spend at least half their time.

Davina Smith

Davina Smith is a member of the Diné (Navajo) tribe, originally from Monument Valley, Utah. She belongs to the Ta’chii’ nii (Red Running into the Water) clan and is born to the Ta’ baa ha’ (Edgewater) clan. She recently just accepted a position with the National Parks Conservation Association as the Organizer/Tribal Coordinator. My focus will be on assisting with the Protection of our Cultural Landscape of Southeastern Utah, and my major focus is to support the coalition effort in assisting with the development of a proposals to protect the area between Hovenweep, Canyons of the Ancients, and Bears Ears National Monuments known as the “Lands Between,” and to coordinate protection efforts in the Lands Between in alignment with NPCA’s national 30×30 campaign.

Davina Smith’s personal mission is advocating for Native families, in both her rural and urban communities, in addition to preserving and protecting the cultural and natural resources of ancestral Native American lands to benefit and bring healing to people and the Earth.” Davina has had a plethora of work experience in Salt Lake City such as, the former Director of Operations for Utah Diné Bikeyah (UDB), American Indian Education Coordinator for Salt Lake School District, Fourth Street Clinic, and Program Director for the American Indian Teacher Training Program (AITTP) at the University of Utah and Arizona State University. She is currently holding Board Positions with Grand Staircase Escalante Partners and Love is King (Portland, OR) and is the CEO of Haseya Native Initiatives LLC.

Barbara Frank

Barbara moved to Holladay, Utah with her family in 1969.  Her father immediately bought a four-wheel drive Jeep Wagoneer, and they began to travel down to southern Utah for camping trips in the National Parks, Monuments, and public lands.  These four-wheeled adventures were followed by backpacking trips into southern Utah during her teenage years, including many into the area which subsequently became the Grand Staircase National Monument. She received her BA from Mt. Holyoke College and began her career as an archeologist by going to field school with the University of Utah at the base of the Henry Mountains. Since the early 1980s, she has worked as a professional archaeologist with cultural resource contract companies, eventually taking over the running of Intersearch, Inc., a small firm in Cedar City, Utah.  Her work has included 20 years as the Assistant Director and Director of the Southern Utah University Archaeology Field School and serving as the Curator of the SUU Archaeology Repository since 1995. Her fields of interest include Virgin Anasazi, Fremont, and Southern Paiute archaeology.

David Ljung

Dave is the CEO and Managing Shareholder of Gilbert, a 70-person CPA firm in Sacramento, California, where he has served the needs of hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout California for over 30 years.  Today, his firm is one of the largest CPA firms in California specializing in services to nonprofit organizations, including assurance, tax, Board governance, and strategic planning services. The adventurer in Dave, however, has never ceased. About 20 years ago, he discovered southern Utah on one of his motorcycle trips and found yet another passion. Dave fell in love with its colors, grandeur, pure, and unspoiled terrain, and its unique beauty. The areas in and around the Grand Staircase became a precious place in his life, and one he returns to year after year to hike and explore. For Dave, GSEP represents the perfect opportunity to meld his passions for adventure, the outdoors, the mission-focus of nonprofit organizations, and his love of the Monument. 

Garett Rose

Garett Rose is an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Alaska Project and works to protect Alaska’s wild lands.  Before joining NRDC, he practiced at Covington & Burling LLP, an international law firm headquartered in Washington, DC. While at Covington he advised and represented GSEP in its lawsuit challenging the reduction of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. He earned his B.A. (2007) and J.D. with high honors (2013) from the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Frank Easterbrook on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago.  During law school, he worked with the Department of Justice’s Environmental Enforcement Section in Washington, DC and before law school, he spent three years working for Rep. Barney Frank and the U.S. House Financial Services Committee. Southern Utah has been a singular constant throughout these periods. He has continually returned to the unparalleled public lands of Utah and the folks who live there. It is another home to him, and he is deeply committed to advancing the preservation and protection of those public lands. Garett currently lives in Rockville, Maryland with his wife Meredith, their daughter Petra, and their cat Deckard.

Dr. Joe Sertich

Joe Sertich is the curator of dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He received his B.S. from Colorado State University in 2004, his M.S. at the University of Utah in 2006, and his Ph.D. from Stony Brook University in 2011. Dr. Sertich’s research focuses on dinosaurs, crocodiles, flying reptiles, and their ecosystems during the late Cretaceous. His field-based research is split between the Gondwanan continents of the southern hemisphere and western North America. As one of the primary researchers on the Madagascar Paleontology Project, Sertich is exploring the latest Cretaceous of Madagascar and has expanded the search for dinosaurs to older deposits across the island. He is also searching for the most recent Cretaceous dinosaurs of Africa, including work in northern Kenya and Egypt. In North America, Sertich leads the Laramidia Project, currently working to uncover a lost world of dinosaurs in the Cretaceous of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah and northwestern New Mexico.

Stephen Trimble 

Steve Trimble has been a free-lance writer and photographer since the 1970s, publishing 25 books along the way. The breadth of his awards mirrors the full embrace of his work: The Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for photography and conservation; The National Cowboy Museum’s Western Heritage “Wrangler” Award; and a Doctor of Humane Letters from his alma mater, Colorado College, honoring his efforts to increase our understanding of Western landscapes and peoples. Steve speaks and frequently writes as an open space and wilderness advocate, of his work as a park ranger at Arches and Capitol Reef in his 20s. He’s taught writing at the University of Utah, written exhibit text for the Natural History Museum of Utah, and spent a year as a Wallace Stegner Centennial Fellow at the U’s Tanner Humanities Center. Check out his website, Steve has lived in the Four Corners states all his life. Steve and his wife split their time between Salt Lake City and Torrey, Utah.

Emeritus Trustees

Noel Poe

Noel is a retired National Park Service veteran who worked in 8 national park areas including three parks in Southern Utah; Bullfrog Basin, Glen Canyon NRA; Capitol Reef NP; and he served as Superintendent at Arches NP.  Nineteen of his 37.5 years with the NPS were as Superintendent of 4 different parks. After retiring in 2007, he and his wife moved to Kanab. He joined the Partners in 2008, and shortly after, in 2009, he was invited to join the Board of Directors for the Grand Staircase Escalante Partners.  He resigned from the Board in December 2018 after serving as President, Vice-President, and Executive Director. In January the Board appointed him to one of two Emeritus Trustee positions. He remains active in volunteering for Grand Staircase Escalante Partners.

Sage (Craig) Sorenson

Sage was born and raised in Utah.  He lived in a wall tent until he was five, and he learned to identify with and appreciate the outdoors, conservation, and the Intermountain West. Sage graduated from Utah State University Natural Resources Department in Forestry/Recreation, and after finishing a 31-year career with the Bureau of Land Management in Wyoming and Utah as an Outdoor Recreation Planner, he began working part-time for Earth Tours starting in 2005. 

It was a great pleasure for him to lay the foundation for the management of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument since its establishment in 1996.  

He and his family currently reside in Escalante where he continues to work with the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument as a volunteer with Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, science and research studies,  and also with the U.S. Forest Service and Garfield County Search and Rescue. He enjoys an abundance of extracurricular activities such as; traveling, spending time with family, fly fishing, & camping, to name a few.