Board of Directors
(Treasurer) prefers to be in the company of grizzly bears. Over the years, he has worked as a backcountry ranger in Glacier National Park, a high school English teacher, and now helps tutor and mentor students of all ages. Matt has published essays and short stories, and is the fiction editor at Whitefish Review. The Yaak has always held a special place in his heart because of its solitude, quiet, and wildness. Matt lives with his family in Columbia Falls, Montana.
(Secretary) grew up spending as much time as possible in the woods or on the prairie surrounding her grandparents' farm in Minnesota. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from Luther College, and worked on archaeological digs on a Mississippi River floodplain. She was a long-time volunteer at Minnesota's Wildlife Science Center, helping with animal care for wolves, bears, coyotes, cougars, and raptors. For several years she headed the International Wolf Center’s outreach program dedicated to teaching facts about wolves. Tara is establishing a traveling environmental education business and is the proud mom of three children and a pack of dogs. She spends as much time as possible hiking and camping in the wilds of Montana and Wyoming. She initially visited the Yaak in 1996 and helped Board Chair Rick Bass with the first website dedicated to obtaining protection for the Yaak's roadless areas.
Matthew C. Chappell
(Member) grew up on a farm in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri where he spent most of his free time outside hunting, fishing, and canoeing. During his high school summers he volunteered for the Student Conservation Association in Yellowstone National Park, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and the Flathead National Forest doing trail work and wildland firefighting. He has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Missouri. Matthew has worked as a biological science technician for the Lincoln and Flathead National Forests; a backcountry ranger for Glacier National Park, a trail laborer for Big Bend National Park, a hunting guide and packer for various outfitters in the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wilderness; a packer for Grand Canyon, Olympic, and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks and the Sawtooth and Payette National Forests. Matthew has published a variety of op-eds in various Montana newspapers. He lives in Choteau, Montana and is currently serving active duty in the U.S. Navy.
Ken Vanden Heuvel
(Member) grew up in central Wisconsin and spent most of his childhood weekends in the forests, lakes, and swamps of northern Wisconsin. He has a M.S. in Electrical Engineering and remained in Wisconsin after college. On a visit to the Inland Northwest in 2008, he fell in love with the Cabinet Mountains of NW Montana. He was drawn to the solitude, beauty, and wildlife within. He decided to move to the Spokane area where he currently resides and works as an engineer. He also has a property in NW Montana. He has volunteered with many conservation groups across NE Washington, north Idaho, and NW Montana performing wildlife monitoring, habitat restoration, and leading informative conservation hikes. In his spare time, he is either deep in the wilds of the Inland Northwest or restoring his own forests in WA and MT.
(Member) is a modern homesteader on Old Hwy. 2 in the Curley Creek area. He worked with YVFC on the Headwaters crew for 10 years and currently works in Home Health Care and serves as the Secretary of the Board for the Troy Farmer's Market. Passions include the 4B's: boating, biking, backpacking and skiing the backcountry.