Board Leadership

Chris Forsyth – GCHBA President

I first saw the Grand Canyon on a family vacation at the age of five. Seventeen years later I moved to Arizona and renewed the acquaintance, but it would be another two decades before the Canyon became a passion. Now, for more than ten years I have been a frequent visitor to the canyon; so far, I have hiked nearly all the named trails below the rim. With the goal of seeing as much of the canyon as possible, I’ve hiked on the south side of the river from the Little Colorado River all the way to Elves Chasm, a stretch that includes the entire Tonto Trail. I’ve hiked even further on the north side, where there usually isn’t a trail, and have covered everything between the Fence Fault and 150-Mile Canyon, as well as additional sections between Whitmore and Kelly Point, and the final stretch of Pearce Canyon through the Grand Wash Cliffs, where the Grand Canyon ends. In addition I’ve been fortunate to complete five river trips with many wonderful hikes up from the river. A good deal of my passion was sparked by the first GCHBA Hikers Symposium. I later became involved with GCHBA as a way to share my love for this unmatched natural wonder with others, and to support the park that protects it for future generations.

Tom Martin

Tom has been getting blisters on his feet and hopelessly lost while hiking in Grand Canyon from river rafting trips since 1969. Martin’s claims to fame include spending a rainy monsoon night sleeping in the sawdust incinerator at Peach Springs, smoking 20,000 year old Shasta Ground Sloth dung, and to have worked for twenty years as a physical therapist at the Grand Canyon Clinic at the South Rim.

Tom at Granite Narrows

Besides helping other hikers get lost in Grand Canyon with his book Day Hikes from the River, Martin has written Big Water Little Boats, and with co-author Duwain Whitis, sent many an unsuspecting river runner into the Ledge Hole at Vulcan Rapid with the Guide To The Colorado River In The Grand Canyon, Lee’s Ferry To South Cove, which won the 2007 National Outdoor Book Award. Like Don Quixote, Martin co-directs River Runners for Wilderness in an uphill struggle to recognize Grand Canyon National Park as the Wilderness it is.

Ned Bryant

I’ve been hiking in the Grand Canyon for the last 22 years. In that time I’ve seen a number of changes in park policy, how we use the park, and how connected we are as a group. Unfortunately, not all of the changes have been as beneficial to hikers and backpackers as I would like. Through the GCHBA we can address these very issues, from simple things such as a service, where you can speak to someone who has been somewhere before you, all the way to shaping the upcoming review of the Backcountry Management Plan. The GCHBA serves as a platform where we can organize our own goals and then cooperatively work with NPS to affect policy, all while maintaining the good relationships necessary to be effective.

Doug Nering

A naturalized-native Arizonan from age 6, with early years in Tucson and Tempe. University of Arizona graduate in psychology, sociology, anthropology and education, but moving on from the helping professions to find my true calling as a software engineer — now my third career, the first having been starving musician.

My first visit to Grand Canyon was the north rim at age 2 — first hike to the bottom at 12, and I have since hiked over 350 days below the rim. I rode the river from Lees Ferry to Temple Bar in 1968, and completed a 22 day river-run as oarsman in 2013. My special interest is re-discovering historic trails and old routes, and for the 2012 History Symposium I researched and presented “Exploring the John Hance Inner-Canyon Toll Road”. My website can be found at Grand Canyon Off-the-Trail

Doug Nering

I have been a board member since Oct 2001 and consistently promoted the role of GCHBA in reviewing backcountry permit, access and use issues. My priorities for GCHBA are:

  • Preserve Grand Canyon for future generations.
  • Maintain non-commercial access to the backcountry secondary to preservation.
  • Address Grand Canyon operational policy as it relates to the hiking community.
  • Facilitate service projects to support and assist Grand Canyon NPS operations.
  • Provide fellowship and exchange of information with other hikers.

Hank Schnieder

I lived in Prescott from 1970 to 2013, but didn’t do very much hiking until around 1990 or so. I signed up for a geology class at the local community college that included a 4 day backpack into the Canyon. I’ve been fascinated by both geology and the Canyon ever since, and this is a wonderful area to study both.

I’ve hiked about all the named trails in the Canyon, some sections of abandoned trails, and a few off trail routes. I see new things every time I go there, even just tromping down the Bright Angel Trail again.

I now reside in Northern California, but try to get back to the Canyon whenever I can to get my ‘Canyon fix’…

When I’m not out playing around in the Canyon, I masquerade as an electronics engineer. It’s fun, and it supports my habit.

Frank Feagans

My Grand Canyon addiction started in 1997 while on a family vacation from Chicago. Since then I’ve enjoyed every condition imaginable during 30 trips and 1400 miles below the Rim. And now that I live in Tucson, I have much easier access there.


I love the Canyon, and strive to preserve it’s beauty and uniqueness. Unfortunately, many of the great changes that have been enacted for hikers and backpackers have been diluted due to noise and environmental pollution. We in the GCHBA not only want to donate time and effort to improve the services, in partnership with the NPS, but to also be a vessel for making sure your feelings are heard.

Josh Case

I was first introduced to Grand Canyon during summer trips when my Grandparents would take us around Northern Arizona as kids to explore all of the wonders the Colorado Plateau had to offer. These trips surely made an impression on me, when as a sophomore at Northern Arizona University in 1999 I was invited on my first Backpacking trip, an 8 day jaunt from Hermit Rapids to Cottonwood Camp and back to the South Rim. Since that first trip, I have tried to spend as much time as possible in Grand Canyon. Having completed all of the named Rim to River Trails on the South Rim, and many of the major trails off the North Rim, along with two private River trips, I still don’t feel like I have seen but a fraction.


As a Board Member of GCHBA, I only hope I can do enough to advocate for responsible access to the backcountry while maintaining the resource, in the same or better condition, than when I first saw it up close more than 15 years ago. Grand Canyon has given me so much personally; I just hope I can repay her with hard work and stewardship, to protect her for my Grandkids, their grandkids, and beyond.

Delta James Hayford

I first arrived at the Grand Canyon in 1971 after hitchhiking 3000 miles to see it. This was the first of many US Parks, National Forests, and State Parks that I would hike over the next eight years. During that time, I kept coming back and doing different sections of the Grand Canyon, and I noticed a unique thing here. As perceived from the eyes of a twenty year old, “why do I keep running into these paunchy older dudes with wondrous smiles, struggling with stressed muscles and blown-out joints in the Backcountry?” Forty years later I have learned that when people hike below the rim they can become obsessed with finding the secrets of the Canyon, beautiful visions that last so much longer than the pain it takes to get there. When people ask me what do I experience in the Grand Canyon backcountry I tell them it’s like being in God’s great cathedral which has been meticulously decorated in Mother Nature’s beauty, yet it’s fraught with all the temptation and treachery of the devil.

Madeleine Bryant

I didn’t fall in love with Grand Canyon in the same way that most people did. Many people experienced love at first sight without any prior consideration, but from my infancy I’d been hearing death defying stories of my father’s excursions through Grand Canyon and gathering excitement and momentum from before I’d ever seen it. I grew up revering Grand Canyon as a magical place where terrible and beautiful things could happen, and when I was finally old enough at age 14 to go on my first week long backpacking trip, I was beyond excited. On the last day of our hike, I remember trudging up the South Kaibab trail, cursing the canyon and saying I’d never go back… But there I was the next spring, and the next, and the next, and at age 23, I’ve spent approximately 3 months of my life below the rim.

Madeleine Bryant

I want to share Grand Canyon in the same way it was shared with me. I want to build excitement through existing stories and create a network of information about the park.

The GCBHA does a lot of great things for the park (continued stewardship and maintaining park access to name a few), and in order for it to have a continued impact, it’s going to need to reach a wide membership base. I’d like to reach out and share Grand Canyon with people my age and with other women so that their love of Grand Canyon can support GCHBA and their interactions with GCNP and NPS.

The March 2014 Ballot (with Candidate Statements) can be found here.

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