Our Staff

We are a group of people committed to the power of the promise of the Wilderness Act and to those within and outside the federal government who strive to keep that promise. There is one National Wilderness Preservation System. There are four agencies that manage it. We believe it makes sense to work across Department and agency boundaries to develop comprehensive, interagency solutions to wilderness stewardship issues that directly meet the needs of the field.

Jimmy Gaudry

jimmy-gaudry.jpgJimmy Gaudry is the Acting Director at the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center. He began his career as volunteer with the Forest Service in 1993 and has worked in a variety of capacities off and on since that time. Before this acting assignment he served as the Wilderness and Wild & Scenic River Program Leader for the Northern Region of the Forest Service. Previous assignments include Southern Region Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Program Leader, Washington Office Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Specialist, Forest and District Recreation Program Manager, Wilderness and Trails Technician, Wildland Firefighter, Wildlife Technician and Timber Stand Analysis Technician. His work has led him to work on projects from Alaska to Puerto Rico and many places in between. He has been selected twice by the Forest Service as the Bob Marshall Wilderness Champion of the Year. In 2021 he received the U.S. Forest Service Chief’s Award for his work in developing the National Wilderness Skill Institute.

Jimmy holds a B.A in Sociology from the University of New Orleans and M.S. in Park and Protected Area Management from Colorado State University. He has been an advocate for the importance of Wilderness related training throughout his career and was instrumental in developing the annual Southern Appalachian and Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institutes. He has assisted with numerous ACNWTC trainings in various parts of the country. He takes pride in knowing that these were all completed through collaboration with multiple agencies and non-government partners.

Contact Jimmy at christopher.gaudry@usda.gov.

James Sippel

James SippelJames Sippel is the Bureau of Land Management Representative at the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center and on the staff of the BLM's National Conservation Lands Division in the Headquarters Office. James began his wilderness career in 1991 in the BLM as a Wilderness Ranger with Wilderness Study Areas. He has held federal natural resource management positions in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. James came to the Carhart Center in 2015 from the New Mexico State Office of the BLM where he was the region's National Conservation Lands Program Lead (including wilderness). James has worked on policy development for the BLM, including contributions to Manual 6340 (Management of Designated Wilderness) and a major role in Manual 6330 (Management of Wilderness Study Areas). Though he recognizes that important work occurs at a desk, he believes that the measure of our work's relevancy is the condition of the land, and with that in mind, is dedicated to assisting field staff. James' first encounter with Wilderness was at age 12 in the John Muir Wilderness near his childhood home of Ridgecrest. That was the start of a life-long interest in desert, forest, and alpine Wilderness. Having spent over 400 nights camped in the Wilderness, a majority of that with his family, James dedicates much of his career and free time to the subject. He believes that John Muir was right, that "going to the mountains is going home." James earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from Prescott College, Arizona, and a Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies in Forest Resources, Rangeland Resources, and Environmental Policy (thesis on wilderness management) from Oregon State University.

Contact James at jsippel@blm.gov, (406) 243-4625.

Michelle Reilly

Michelle ReillyMichelle Reilly is the US Fish and Wildlife Service Representative at the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center and the Wilderness Liaison for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since 2018, Michelle has led in-person wilderness trainings and created wilderness micro-learning videos for the Center, Tribal Trust trainings for the Refuge System, and served as a researcher on the Secretary of the Interior’s Native American Boarding School Initiative. Prior to 2018 Michelle worked at a USFWS Ecological Services Field office where she served as an Endangered Species Biologist and the Strategic Habitat Conservation Coordinator. Michelle worked on cooperative grants and agreements with Oregon State University and the Conservation Biology Institute to investigate landscape-level impacts and connectivity for species of conservation concern. Michelle holds a M.Sc. in Environmental Science and Policy from John's Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from Northern Arizona University. Her graduate work emphasized multi-species conservation research with close agency collaboration. Her dissertation research investigated the effects of non-motorized recreation on mammals in national and state parks, regional wilderness areas, and county and regional open space reserves. From 2016-2017, she served as a visiting professor at New Mexico Highlands University and taught quantitative methods and wildlife ecology courses while conducting research in wildlife behavioral ecology.

Contact Michelle at michelle_reilly@fws.gov.

Dan Abbe

Dan AbbeThe Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center welcomed James ‘Dan’ Abbe as the Forest Service Representative in 2020. Dan has worked as a wilderness and land management steward for more than 25 years, most recently for the White Mountain National Forest. He has worked in wilderness stewardship for the Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management while living all over the US including New Hampshire, Alaska, California, North Carolina, and Arkansas. He holds a BS in Business from the University of Maryland, MS in Natural Resource Planning from the University of Vermont, and an MBA from Plymouth State University.

Contact James at james.abbe@usda.gov, (603) 348-0212.

Rob Burrows

Rob BurrowsThe Wilderness Stewardship Division (WSD) is excited to announce their newest team member, Rob Burrows, WSD wilderness training manager and National Park Service Representative at the interagency Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center. Rob joined the WSD team in January 2024, duty-stationed in Missoula, MT. “Rob is an outstanding wilderness steward who brings an exceptional combination of wilderness planning, compliance and field operations experience, coupled with academic achievement,” said Roger Semler, NPS wilderness stewardship program manager. “Rob’s body of work and commitment to preserving wilderness character will translate into a strong wilderness training program with an emphasis on new and innovative ways to empower wilderness practitioners and managers across the National Wilderness Preservation System.”

Rob has worked in and for wilderness in various capacities for the last 26 years, first conducting research on past glaciers and then monitoring modern ones at North Cascades, Mount Rainier, and Denali National Parks. During those years of mountain adventure and exploration, Rob also worked as a wilderness climbing ranger, ski patroller, and wilderness-focused interpretive ranger.

From 2016 to 2023, Rob worked as an Environmental Protection Specialist at North Cascades National Park, planning, and helping the NPS meet statutory requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, the Wilderness Act (of course!), and other applicable laws, regulations, and policies.

A lifelong student of geography, he championed wilderness character mapping at Denali and North Cascades. He earned a B.S. in Environmental Geology and Technology from the University of North Dakota and a M.Sc. in Geology from Western Washington University. Rob also pursued Ph.D. work in Geography, studying snow and avalanche science at the University of British Columbia.

Holly Metzger

Holly Metzger is the Support Services Staff Specialist at the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center. Holly came on board in 2013 as a Pathways Intern while working towards her Associate in Applied Science degree. Holly brings fresh eyes and energy and a passion for both the outdoors and office efficiency.

Contact Holly at holly.metzger@usda.gov, (406) 243-4682.

Heidi Blair

Heidi BlairHeidi Blair is the Wildlands Communications Coordinator at the Wilderness Institute. She earned a BA in Latin America Studies from Colby College and a MS in Resource Conservation with an option in International Conservation and Development from the University of Montana, where she studied public lands management in Chilean Patagonia and the western US. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Natural Resource Conflict Resolution from UM. She partners with the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Instititute to manage Wilderness Connect, a wilderness education and outreach program for practitioners and the public. She also works on the interagency Wilderness Character Monitoring Database. 

Contact Heidi at heidi.blair@mso.umt.edu.

Vacant Positions

  • Wilderness Interpretation and Outreach Specialist
  • Budget Specialist