Board of Directors

ImageFrank Simms (Chair): Frank Simms is the president/treasurer and general manager of Running Elk Corporation, a section 17 federal corporation wholly owned by the Jicarilla Apache Nation. Running Elk Corporation operates the 36,000-acre, multiple use, multi resource land management enterprise known as "The Lodge and Ranch at Chama Land & Cattle Company". Frank co-wrote the "statutory authority" for the landowner elk permit system currently in use in New Mexico today. He was also appointed by Governor Bill Richardson to sit on the state of NM's "Environmental Improvement Board". He grew up on family farms and ranches in NM and CO and is managing general partner of a family owned ranch adjoining Chama Land & Cattle Company. He is a life long commercial rancher and outfitter.
ImageTim Haarmann, Banded Peak Ranch (Vice Chair): Tim Haarmann is the ranch manager at the Banded Peak Ranch near Chromo, Colorado. Tim has over 20 years experience in natural resources management. He has a PhD from the University of New Mexico in Biology with an emphasis in Ecosystem Ecology. Before coming to the Banded Peak Ranch, Tim worked as Ranch Manager on the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico. He also worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory and surrounding property as a resource manager responsible for projects in natural resources management and planning, wildlife management, and forest/fire management.
ImageDavid Harris, Pinorealoso (Treasurer): David Harris is part owner of Pinorealosa Ranch in northern New Mexico. As a native New Mexican, he has a life-long appreciation of the outdoors and is committed to preserving the natural beauty and resources of the CPLA region. A second generation Designer/Builder residing in Corrales, NM, he incorporates green and solar materials in his design/build projects; combining his appreciation for the outdoors with natural building materials. David is currently serving as Vice President for Pinorealosa Corporation.
ImageAaron Jones, Rancho del Oso Pardo (Secretary): Aaron manages approximately 28,000 acres in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado for Rancho del Oso Pardo and Rancho Lobo. Aaron has an extensive background in wildlife ecology and management. He graduated from New Mexico State University and double majored in Wildlife Sciences and Fisheries Management. He has a passion for the outdoors, responsible land stewardship, and conservation. He also serves as an advisory council member for the Western Landowners Alliance.
Image Joel Bernstein: Joel Bernstein has been a tenured college professor where he taught Native American art, a writer, bareback rider, cowboy and rancher for more than fifty years in Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, and New Mexico. He has been involved with rodeos as a contestant, college coach, producer and writer. In addition he has been the president of three major western associations and twice judged the Miss Rodeo Montana pageant. He has written non fiction books on the contemporary West and ranching and recently had a novel about the contemporary West published. He has served two elected terms on the New Mexico Veterinary Grievance Committee and was national director of "Indian Pride on the Move." He and his wife Gail own the 262 Ranch in the historic San Rafael Valley in southern Arizona and the 262 Ranch overlooking the Brazos Cliffs in northern New Mexico. They live on a smaller place just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.
ImageJeb Binkley, Chamita Valley Ranch: Jeb is a fourth generation rancher in the Chama Valley. His family’s goals are to build on current natural resource and livestock management practices and make them economically and environmentally sustainable. The family believes building partnerships with organizations like CPLA and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will help the family build a legacy for future generations.
ImageLavinia Currier, Catspaw Ranch and Navajo Headwaters: Lavinia Currier is a film director as well as a conservationist and rancher in Colorado, Hawaii and Virginia. She has a keen interest in the interplay of the arts and ecology. She has been involved in philanthropic work in the environment for many years, focusing on land and water conservation. She has served on the Board of World Wildlife Foundation and Bull Run Mountain Conservancy and is President of Sacharuna Foundation, which supports conservation initiatives in diverse ecosystems around the world.
ImageMonique DiGiorgio Monique began her career as a field ornithologist and then moved into the non-profit world and found she had a proclivity for building small organizations from the ground up. Bringing individuals of differing perspectives together to find common ground has been at the heart of many of the conservation projects she has catalyzed across the West. Monique has worked in both the Southern and Northern Rockies on wildlife and private lands conservation. Monique was instrumental in founding the Chama Peak Land Alliance to develop and finalize a charter, mission statement, board of directors, and program and budget. Monique holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of Notre Dame. She is currently the Managing Director of Local First in Durango, Colorado.
ImagePeter Harris: Peter Harris has been a general contractor in New Mexico for thirty years and is an avid outdoorsman. He has served on the board of the Chama Peak Land Alliance since its inception, Peter is also an active member and serves on the board of the Pecos chapter of The Back Country Horsemen. Peter has had an association with the Brazos Box Ranch for the last twenty-five years and more recently the Pinorealosa both in the Chama area. As a lifetime resident of New Mexico Peter has great interest in preserving the land and wildlife of New Mexico and the surrounding states as well as seeing sustainable economic growth that benefit’s local populations in areas such as the Alliance region.
ImageBetty Shahan, Betty Shahan Family Ranch: Betty was born and raised in Archuleta County. She has been involved in ranching all of her life. Betty has lived and worked on her ranch since 1956 and uses Holistic Ranch Management. Betty loves the land and her cows, as well as all wildlife. She feels a responsibility for the well-being of the land and wildlife and manages her ranch for their use as well as the cows. Betty’s ultimate goal is to leave her ranch better than when she got it and she works towards that goal as long as she can. Betty was the first person to put a conservation easement on her ranch in the Navajo River Valley and she volunteers whenever she can. Read Betty's Stewardship Profile here.
ImageHoward O. Ness: Howard has over 45 years working in resources fieldwork, research, management, and policy including 22 years of International Conservation experience. He has worked for two western state fish and game departments (Nevada and California) and four United States government departments including the Department of Interior (US National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey), US Department of Agriculture (Forest Service), US Department of Commerce (National Marine Fisheries Service) and the Department of State (Foreign Service -Fisheries Attaché). He was an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska 1974-1978 and New Mexico State University from 1991 to 2007. He is knowledgeable and experienced in matters relating to the conservation and management of fish, wildlife and water resources. He has a balance of expertise in ocean, coastal and terrestrial resource conservation. In the private sector he has owned a family operated farm and vegetable packing enterprise in Southern Arizona for over three decades. Howard has a BS in Biology from Western New Mexico University and a MS in Economics and Wildlife Management New Mexico State University.
ImageManuel Trujillo: Manuel is a Chama native, who grew up during the 1950s and remembers when the Chama River was a series of twists and turns that harbored great fishing pools, natural habitat, and swimming holes for summertime fun; and where the mountains were the peoples’: a place to gather wood, berries, healing plants, and hunt for food. He grew up with the Land Ethos: ‘La tierra es tu madre, y el agua es su sangre. El agua es vida.’ A man of varied experiences and talents, he has served his community and state as a roughneck on a drilling rig, surveyor and materials lab tech for NMDOT, a high school history teacher, an installer/repairman-to cable splicer-to manager and lobbyist for a major telecommunications company in northern NM, a NM State Representative for District 41, member of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Water, one of initial board members of the NMAA, analyst for the chairman of the NM Senate Finance Committee, advisory Board member for Acequias Norteñas, Rio Arriba Planning and Zoning, among several others. Manuel considers himself a water activist, and he continues to work for cultural and traditional water uses, the protection and preservation of the watershed, and the acequia system, being that he is a parciante and former Mayordomo on the Acequia PorVenir. Today he’s a part time rancher and as an avid vegetable gardener, he is a preservationist of heirloom seeds. A favorite quote given to him by his friend Trudy: ‘Only when the last plant has died, the last river poisoned, and the last fish caught; will we realize we can’t eat money.’
ImageTom Watts: Tom is 57 years old and resides in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and works part-time as a private lands consultant for several elk breeding operations. Tom spent 30 years as the Wildlife Biologist for the Jicarilla Apache Nation, managing their trophy hunting program and habitat restoration projects.