Remembering Wilderness Champions

We honor those wild spirits who loved wild places and now have gone on. Please take a moment to remember with us these special people.

A memorial donation in honor of a loved one will live on in wilderness protected and cared for.

We Remember

Jim Yoakum (1926 — 2012) Jim, having devoted his life to the study and defense of wildlife, was a well-known and respected expert on Nevada's pronghorn antelope. Much of his career was spent in their study. We can only hope that his knowledge, wisdom and pragmatic spirit will guide others in his footsteps.

 Dan Heinz (1937 — 2012) Dan cared passionately about wild country — wherever he found it. He worked tirelessly to protect Nevada wild lands from development, stupidity and off-highway vehicles. Dan was a "force to be reckoned with," and his voice will be missed.

 Charlie Watson (1934 — 2012) One of its most passionate defenders of public lands, Charlie founded the Nevada Outdoor Recreation Association (NORA) to fight for the places he loved. Ever enthusiastic about Nevada's wildlands, he would talk to anyone about beauty and importance of the lands he explored and worked to protect across the state.

 Jeffrey L. Jarvis (1953 — 2011) Jeff dedicated his life to the preservation of America's wild lands and rivers including working in Washington DC for the last 11 years to help shape and implement the BLM's National Landscape Conservation System.

Walkin’ Jim Stoltz (1953 — 2010) As a singer-songwriter, storyteller, photographer, artist and passionate lover of wilderness, Walkin’ Jim lived his life exploring and actively working to protect the wild places of North America. When he spoke (or sang) of wilderness, his words came from the heart of one who had traveled those trails on his own two feet. His voice will be missed.

Billie Jean James (1942 — 2010) Billie Jean was a kindhearted and spirited woman. She cared passionately about many charitable causes, and she proactively worked to make the world a better place. Saving and protecting the wild lands of southern Nevada (especially Red Rock and Gold Butte) was a primary focus for four decades.

Mike McCurry (1940 — 2010) Mike was drawn to the magic of the Nevada desert; the secrets he captured will live on in his fabulous photographs. Mike loved wilderness and produced our Wild Nevada calendar from its beginning.

Ross Smith (1927 — 2009) Ross, a professor emeritus at UNR, was an active member of both Friends of Nevada Wilderness and the Sierra Club. He cared deeply for wilderness in both Nevada and the Sierras.

Catherine Smith (1933 — 2009) As a scholar, musician, and advocate for the "web of life," Catherine Smith was a leader for the environment who remained active all her life making sure that government leaders were doing the right thing for the people and the land. Catherine spent many years backpacking and camping in the West, and she loved the outdoors.

Amy Mazza (1948 — 2009) Activist, artist, explorer, and lover of wilderness, Amy Mazza incorporated in her paintings of mountains, streams, and deserts, her feeling for the beauty of the wild places of Nevada and California. She worked tirelessly to preserve open space and wildlife habitat from the ravages of unbridled development.

Pat Irwin (1953 — 2008) Pat's long career with the US Forest Service culminated with her posting as the district ranger for the Ely district. Pat was a champion of the new wilderness areas that were designated in White Pine and Lincoln counties during her tenure there.

Stan Weidert (1947 — 2008) Stan, a long time champion of high desert wilderness died on Christmas Day. He led many trips into the wildlands of western Nevada and worked tiredlessly to protect the land, water, plants and wildlife he loved.

Thomas Leshendok (1945 — 2008) Tom appreciated the wildlands of the state, especially the Black Rock Desert. He was a well-liked Nevada geologist who retired in 2003, after serving 20 years at BLM's Nevada State Office. Since retiring, Tom was able to spend more time with his other passions: fly fishing and volunteering to help the Black Rock.

Tanner Thomas Jensen (September 4, 2004 — October 14, 2008) While with us, Tanner ran, climbed, swam and explored this wild world with the zeal of someone who was without bounds. He touched the lives of everyone he met, and while the cancer first took his eyes, he said he “wanted to show us all the things we have never seen.”

David C. Holten (1930 — 2008) David was an avid hiker and backpacker who loved the Great Basin, the Sierras and the desert southwest. As a trip leader with Desert Survivors and a long-time Friends' member, he helped communicate the grandeur of Nevada's wild lands to others. David lived his life with a happy heart.

Clara Babb (1922 — 2008) Clara loved the mountains and streams of her adopted state of Nevada and introduced many people to her favorite places. She was a passionate and active voice for Forest Service wilderness in the 1980’s traveling to Washington DC to testify before the Senate Committee on Nevada Wilderness. We shall miss Clara — her sincerity, her sense of values, her love of family and her wild spirit.

Eric Finstick (1949 — 2008) Protecting wilderness and open space was a life-long passion for Eric as was getting out for hiking and back-country skiing those wild places around the country. May his spirit soar in his beloved wilderness peaks and flow through his wild rivers.

Brent Boyer (1950 — 2007) An avid hiker and explorer of Nevada’s wild places and an awesome cook, Brent introduced many people to the beauty of the state leading hikes and doing trail work. Brent inspired us to enjoy life fully without pause.

Gretchen Randolph Burris (1964 — 2006) Gretchen, worked across the west with the Forest Service and BLM taking care of the lands she loved including those in eastern Nevada. We will miss her warm smile, level head, and joy of life.

Mark Saylor (1960 — 2006) A long time supporter of wilderness, Mark helped lead Friends of Nevada Wilderness efforts to protect his southern Nevada wildlands for almost 10 years. He said “Wilderness is fun and inspiring”. Mark was inspiring as well.

Pam White (1971 — 2005) Pam, Friends of Nevada Wilderness staff was instrumental in seeing her beloved White Pine County wild places become wilderness. For Pam – “Such a blue sky person, so willing to give; Let’s really remember how fully she lived.”

Randal Grandstaff (1958 — 2002) Randal climbed in his beloved Red Rock Canyon NCA in southern Nevada most of his live making many first ascents. Founding the Sky’s the Limit climbing school, Randal was passionate about helping protect the Red Rock wilderness areas.

Jean Ford (1929 — 1998) Jean, a volunteer, citizen activist and legislator extraordinaire was also the first director of Friends of Nevada Wilderness and she cared deeply about her southern Nevada desert as well as the Black Rock Desert Region.

Dick Sill (1922 — 1981) Dick strongly supported the effort to protect Nevada’s wild places by his extensive trip leading and exploration and his very generous financial support which enabled Friends of Nevada Wilderness to be formed.


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