Board & Staff

Board & Staff

Board Members

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 also 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, Board Member

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.

Terry Hiatt, Board Member

Terry has family roots in eastern Oregon, was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, and lived most of his adult life in Washington State, mainly in the Seattle area. He last worked as an IT Specialist for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) in Seattle and retired in 2012. He moved to Wallowa County in late 2015 and now resides in Enterprise.

Over the years, Terry has enjoyed hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, skiing, bicycling, motorcycling and aviation. Now that the multi-year process of relocating is winding down, he hopes to return to these activities with renewed enthusiasm. Terry first discovered the joy and satisfaction of trail maintenance work helping to maintain nordic ski trails with the Kongsberger Ski Club in Washington State.

Joel Malstrom, Board Member

Joel is a full time curmudgeon, part time mushroom picker, firewood getter, huckleberry picker, hiker, biker, climber and wilderness steward. He enjoys the  opportunity for public service and community spirit that comes with working on our local wilderness trails.  Also happy to restore your crosscut saw and turn it into a razor-sharp working traditional tool for buckin’ logs in the wilderness.

Angela Mart, Board Member

Angela works as an occupational therapist at Wallowa Memorial Hospital and serves on the WMHCTA board as a cycling representative. A mountain biker at heart and former mountain bike racer, Angela now enjoys all types of outdoor recreation including trail work. She hopes to advance cycling opportunities in Wallowa County.

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.

Zoë Symon, Board Member

By trade, Zoë is a User Experience and Graphic Designer, but her love of hiking and passion for public lands means that she spends as much time as she can on trail. In 2016 she completed a thru-hike of all 2100+ miles of the Appalachian Trail. Originally from North Carolina, she now calls La Grande home.

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).

Pam Frolander, Board Member

Randi Jandt, Board Member

Bob Pace, Board Member

Dick Walker, Board Member

Staff Members

Rick Bombaci, Project Director

Rick has lived in Wallowa County since 1980, where he has made a living in varied guises: high school teacher, computer professional, small business owner, business consultant, non-profit director, and USFS wilderness ranger.

An avid long-distance hiker and mountaineer, Rick has more than 5,000 miles of backpacking under his belt, including long distance hikes in the Colorado Rockies, the Sierra Nevada, the Canadian Rockies, and on the Appalachian Trail (GaMe 2000). As a wilderness ranger, he has hiked extensively in the Hells Canyon and Eagle Cap wilderness areas.

In addition to hiking, Rick’s interests include art, literature, music, and his grandson.