Treks Leaders Hall of Fame - a few of the folks who volunteer their time to share their expertise with us all...
John Skinner: In Memoriam
Bear Yuba Land Trust honors our beloved friend.
John was a popular Trek leader who contributed his enthusiasm and love of nature on countless Land Trust Treks. The former Tahoe National Forest Supervisor died Tuesday, July 27, 2009. He is missed.
Kris Wakefield is a professional freelance photographer who is very knowledgeable about flora, fauna and trails. Each year he hikes a different section of the Pacific Crest Trail and continues to find his heart enriched by the local environments and their seasonal changes. A trek with Kris promises wildflowers, streams, lakes and birds.
Carole Miller has been associated with BYLT since 1996. She was born and raised in New York City but is very happy to be part of the rural foothills scene. She is retired from UC Berkeley where she was a Research Lab Manager. Carole is currently very involved with the North Star property and has lent her expertise to enrich the gardens and grounds of that property. She is a wealth of information on its history and tradition.
Bill Slater is an archaeologist with the Tahoe National Forest and brings a wealth of diverse experiences and archaeological interests to our treks program. Bill studied history and anthropology at UC Berkeley and graduated in 1973 with a degree in History. His first job was as an archaeologist on the Alyeska Pipeline, excavating sites in the northern Brooks Range and Arctic steppe.
Archaeology became his life’s work and during the years from 1975 to 1987 he helped excavate the 11,000 year old Clarks Flat paleoindian site in the foothills of Calavaris County. In 1987 he joined the Forest Service and worked in many of our area districts, Tule River, Sequoia National Forest, Milford Ranger District and the Plumas National forest before becoming Assistant Forest Archaeologist on the Big Horn National Forest in Wyoming in 1989. In Wyoming he worked with the Souix, Crow, and other tribes to develop the interpretative information for the Medicine Mountain Medicine Wheel. Back to California and the Cleveland National Forest in San Diego before being assigned to the Yuba River Ranger District in 1990. History and Archaeology melded as he had the pleasure of working with many local groups including Tsi-Akim Maidu, California Indian Basketweavers Association, Oregon-California Trail Association, Friends of Sierra Rock Art. In partnership with the Friends of Sierra Rock Art, Tahoe National Forests Archaeologists have located, recorded and protected numerous rock art sites including the sites you will visit on our Land Trust Treks. And, if all that has not kept him busy enough, Bill plays acoustic music at numerous venues with his band.
Albert Earl is a 35-year Nevada County resident and a retired cabinet maker. When Albert decided to start hiking he began by following the trails of the South Yuba map. Eventually he began exploring along the way and ventured off the trails. Because it was difficult to find a compatible person to hike with he went alone until he found the Land Trust. He walked many a trail with Bill Nickerl and now leads treks himself. Albert says “As soon as I reach the trailhead, shut the truck door and step out at days first light I come to know complete peace and become aware of the beautiful order in nature”. Albert is an extreme hiker and his treks are for only those ready to “reach” for the experience on the trails.
David Lawler is Exective Director of the Farwest Geoscience Foundation and integrates many interdisciplinary geoscience professions into our treks program. David studied paleontology, zoology, and geology at the University of California at Berkeley and graduated with a Master degree in 1979. He has worked as a geologist/paleontologist at the Museum of Northern Arizona and discovered the "missing link" dinosaur (Scutellosaurus lawleri), as part of his research work on the Colorado Plateau.
David also worked as a professional economic geologist internationally for most of his career. In the Sierra Nevada region, he is an expert and author on the ancestral Yuba River and historical mining. One of the BYLT most popular hikes is to the Chalk Bluff region of Nevada County and has been led for many years by David. He has been a long time supporter of the BYLT and believes that "it is doing the right things as land stewards in the Bear-Yuba region".
Hank Meals moved to the San Juan Ridge in 1973 with a degree in anthropology and experience as a photojournalist. In 1975 he went to work with the Forest Service doing archaeological surveys of timber sales, looking for artifacts left behind by Native Americans and early settlers, during which time he became interested in the region's cultural history.
He stayed with the Forest Service for 12 years and got to know the back country through his experiences of firefighting, tree planting and trail construction. Hank is an accomplished author and has written “Yuba Trails I & II” and “The River”. He is an authority on the trails of the Sierra and the Yuba River. Any trek with Hank promises an enlightening and exciting adventure.