Friends of Gold Butte is governed by a passionate Board of Directors and managed by a small but effective staff.

Board of Directors

Karen Adams is an avid adventurer and naturalist. Karen grew up in Los Angeles and spent her childhood holidays camping with family throughout California. Employed as an international business development manager, Karen spent several decades traveling to, and working in, more than 60 countries. Karen’s husband, Don, was the organizer of one of Los Angeles’ largest hiking clubs. When not working, the two of them hiked and backpacked in Southern California and organized club trips as far afield as Machu Picchu. Currently, Karen is a national park service ranger and also serves as a volunteer at Red Rock, Sloan Canyon, Gold Butte, and Cedar Breaks. When not volunteering, she spend her time camping and hiking in the National Parks. Karen is looking forward to participating in efforts to protect and conserve Gold Butte. Karen serves as the Secretary of the Board.

Jim Boone is an avid outdoorsman. Jim camped and backpacked throughout the western US with family and did month-long summer backpacking trips with friends when 15 and 16 years old. Jim worked a dozen seasons in western National Parks, and with his wife Liz, attended Humboldt State University (B.S. in Wildlife Management, 1987) and the University of Georgia (M.S. in Forest Resources; Ph.D. in Ecology, 1995). Jim’s dissertation involved the morphology and genetics of rapid evolution in field mice, which required months of time hiking and camping in southeastern hardwood swamps. Arriving in Las Vegas in 1995, Jim did ecological research on the Nevada Test Site, spending 11 years with the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Project. In 2002, he began building, a website that helps people to find peace and solitude in wild places and thereby gains public support for protecting these places for future generations. In 2006 Jim started an environmental consulting company primarily engaged in desert tortoise surveys and enforcing environmental laws on construction sites. Now retired, Jim and Liz hike, camp, watch birds, work on the website, and agitate for land conservation issues.

Theo Anne Byrns is a long- time resident of Southern Nevada; her family moved here in 1966.  She is a retired (as of June 30, 2017) professor of the College of Southern Nevada.   She was the founding chair of the World Language Department and is retiring from that department.  She also worked as a Director, Dean, and Academic Vice-President.  She has been active in community service having served on the Board of the Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Chair of the North Las Vegas Salvation Army Advisory Board, and Chair of the Winchester Advisory Board as well as others.  She has traveled to many places, gone scuba diving in some, and explored and hiked in others.  She first learned of Gold Butte several years ago when serving on the Friends of Nevada Wilderness Board and has since gone hiking there.  With her retirement, she looks forward to working on conserving Gold Butte and on being an active participant on the Board.

Steve Dudrow and his wife Gwen selected Mesquite as their final retirement location with the
expectation that Gold Butte would be named a National Monument where they could volunteer. Steve
retired after a thirty-year career from Avaya, Inc. in 2001 as an enterprise software architect. Since
retiring in 2001, he has devoted himself to supporting non-profits, assisting startups, county election
boards, volunteering for our public lands, and enjoying every second of life out west. As a National
Association of Interpretation certified guide, he has been assigned as resident volunteer for the National Park Service at Chiricahua National Monument and United States Fish and Wildlife Service at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Besides volunteering at and enjoying Gold Butte, Steve spends his time now as a site steward for Nevada State Historic Preservation Office and partnering with his wife traveling for their photography business, Desert Adventures Photography. Gwen and Steve have two sons: a photographer in Grand Junction, Colorado, and the youngest, an author living in Nevada. Steve serves as the Treasurer of the Board.

Geoffrey Frasz is a soon to be retired Professor of Philosophy at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. His area of specialty is environmental philosophy reflecting his lifelong interest in the natural world. A long time cave explorer, canoeist, hiker and camper, he first discovered Gold Butte when he arrived in southern Nevada in 1991 from Back East. Since then he has explored the Gold Butte area and is committed to its protection and enjoyment by all people. He enjoys leading trips for new people to discover the wonder of the area and looks forward to finding new special spots in Gold Butte. With his upcoming retirement he looks forward to more trips up from Vegas during the week.

Terri Rylander is a freelance marketing communication and web consultant with a passion for conservation—protecting our natural and historical resources or future generations. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, she finds everything about the desert, and Gold Butte, fascinating as well as precious. She enjoys getting outdoors, filling all five senses with nature, through hiking and photography. Terri is fortunate to have a career that is flexible and allows her to spend time both in Mesquite, Nevada and Redmond, Washington. She does much of the communication for Friends of Gold Butte, including the website, Facebook, Twitter, and the email newsletter, and looks forward to the day when Gold Butte receives its National Conservation Area with Wilderness designation. Terri serves as the Vice President of the Board.

 Klaus Schmitt was born and raised in Rimbach, Germany, a small town in the Odenwald Hills near Heidelberg. Nature was close to him there and his love for the outdoors was formed in that environment. After graduating from high school he had the opportunity to start his higher education at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he majored in Mathematics and Physics. Subsequently he did graduate work in Mathematics at the University of Nebraska, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1967. He then started his academic career in teaching, research, and administration at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where he retired, as Professor Emeritus, in 2010. His academic career also made it possible for him to extensively travel the world serving as a visiting Professor or Researcher at many Universities across the World. He is an avid outdoors man and he has very much enjoyed skiing, snow shoeing, hiking, and backpacking in the mountains and canyons of the West. His other leisure activities include playing tennis, much reading, and listening to good music. He is married to Claudia, a Southern California girl; three years ago they decided to leave winters behind and resettled in Mesquite, Nevada. They are the proud parents of children who live in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Klaus serves as the President of the Board.


Executive Director
Jaina Moan has over fifteen years of experience working in a broad range of environmental fields and six years of experience in non-profit administration. She joined Friends of Gold Butte as Executive Director in 2015, an excellent fit to her passion for conservation and experience with environmental science and non-profit management. Jaina moved to Las Vegas, Nevada from Flagstaff, Arizona where she had previously worked as an Executive Assistant to the Director and Human Resources Manager for the Museum of Northern Arizona. Before her time at the Museum, Jaina worked for two years as a Program Manager for the Coconino County Sustainable Economic Development Initiative where she coordinated the activities of sustainability-focused programs, from green business and workforce development to renewable energy and regional food systems. Prior to her non-profit career, Jaina worked for six years as a Research Specialist at the Colorado Plateau Analytical Lab, an environmental chemistry laboratory located at Northern Arizona University. Jaina holds a Master’s in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry and Biology from Northern Arizona University. She loves to explore wilderness on foot and is passionate about land conservation.

Outings and Outreach Coordinator
Brenda Slocumb has lived most of her life in southern Nevada, growing up in Boulder City and currently residing in the Moapa Valley. Brenda spent 18 years with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension in both the Animal Science department and the 4-H Youth Development Program. Her focus was on volunteer and club management as well as education in informal settings. She facilitated meetings and assisted volunteers in organization of projects, camps, fairs, leadership events and trainings. Brenda is an avid horsewoman and competes in barrel racing. She also enjoys team roping, training young horses and trail riding.  She enjoys spending time outdoors, whether it be camping, hiking, or gardening and believes Southern Nevada is a valuable resource that should be enjoyed by all and preserved for future generations.

Community Outreach Manager
Justin van Wijk has spent the last four years in environmental conservation right here in Nevada with the Great Basin Institute, Friends of Nevada Wilderness and now Friends of Gold Butte. He has spent hundreds of days camping in the field on stewardship projects across Nevada. From projects near Laughlin to Jarbidge, from Tahoe to Great Basin National Park, he has been to the far reaches of this state and to many, many places in between, and he would be glad to tell you about each and every one of them. Currently, Justin is excited to focus on the protection and conservation of the much deserving Gold Butte National Monument.

Justin has a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication from Arizona State University and enjoys nature videography, especially when his videos can call attention to the crucial need for public lands protection. If you are interested in exploring, hiking or volunteering in Gold Butte, then he is prepared to get you setup and ready in any way possible. Justin now lives close by in Mesquite, NV and is delighted to meet each and everyone of the Friends of Gold Butte.


We are always looking for additional volunteers to help lead hikes, share information about Gold Butte at community events, help with desert restoration projects, and more. If you’d be interested in being on the volunteer list, please drop us an email at: