Board of Directors


Don Hoffheins, Board Chair: After 42 years of land management experience; over 25 years with USDA Forest Service and over 16 years with USDI Bureau of Land Management, Don retired in 2018. He began his career in 1976 for the Forest Service and worked on Forests in New Mexico, Arizona, three in Colorado and one in Oregon. Don started as a soil scientist and gradually moved into natural resource planning focused on recreation, lands and timber management. In 1996 he moved to Oregon as Ski Area Planner, and in 2001, transferred to the Bureau of Land Management as an Environmental Coordinator/Planner. After many years of supervision and management with the BLM in Oregon, his last move brought him to southeast Utah as a Field Manager which included working on the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument. Besides SCCA, Don has served on the Board or completed support projects with the Kremmling Chamber of Commerce, San Juan Mountains Association, Klamath Trails Committee, and Mancos Trails Group.

Tom Ferrell, Board Vice-Chair: Tom worked as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service in national monuments in Arizona that are archaeological sites such as Walnut Canyon, Wupatki and Montezuma Well.  Based in Flagstaff he was active in the Arizona Archaeological Society and served as the president of the Northern Arizona Chapter. After retiring from the NPS he moved to SW Colorado and became the Interpretive Program Director for Chimney Rock National Monument. In these positions he worked closely with volunteers on numerous natural and cultural resource projects and long term monitoring. He believes these volunteer organizations are vital to the land managers of these special places.  Tom currently works part time at Dolores Public Lands as a contractor for the Forest Service and is also a site steward for SCCA. He is married to fellow SCCA board member Caroline Brown.

Dave Rightley, Past Chair: Dave has been on the Board of Southwest Colorado Canyons Alliance since 2018. He is one of the owners of Cross Canyon Engineering located in Cortez.  He has technical understanding of the Empire Electric and Kinder-Morgan systems within and adjacent to CANM. Dave has hiked around Canyons of the Ancients National Monument for over 30 years and desires to maintain the cultural and scenic values of the outstanding National Monument here through public education and outreach.

Marcie Ryan, Board Treasurer/Secretary: Marcie previously served as Treasurer when SCCA was originally formed, and has an in-depth understanding of the mission and Treasurer’s duties. Marcie is recently retired from a variety of occupations. With a formal education in geology, she discovered the “archaeology community” when she moved here in 2005. She worked for over 10 years at Woods Canyon Archaeological Consultants in Cortez as their bookkeeper, office manager, and geologist/paleontologist, doing archaeological survey and field work as well. Most recently, she was the co-owner of Ryans’ Custom Products Engraving and Awards, as successful business for over 28 years. She served as an educator and front desk volunteer at Canyons of the Ancients Museum and Visitors’ Center for seven years, and currently volunteers on the Hisatsinom Survey crew, enthusiastically helping to record new archaeological sites on private land. She looks forward to helping SCCA achieve their goals and increase their membership. Marcie loves to travel, camping, dogs, and making jewelry. She has been married to husband Jerry for almost 30 years.

Caroline Brown, Board Member: Caroline retired in 2010 as a contractor with the Forest Service and National Park Service. She was the founder and director of Friends of Native Cultures, a volunteer non-profit organization that sponsored Native American events at archaeological sites, primarily Chaco Culture National Historic Park and Chimney Rock National Monument. She also worked with Utah State Parks at Edge of Cedars State Park and Anasazi State Park. For several years Caroline was a seasonal Environmental Educator and Volunteer Coordinator at Navajo State Park in Colorado. Additionally, Caroline previously served as the PAAC Coordinator for the Hisatsinom Chapter of Colorado Archaeological Society. In addition to serving on the SCCA Board of Directors, Caroline volunteers as a site steward for SCCA. She is married to fellow SCCA board member Tom Ferrell.

Steve Shimek, Board Member: As a kid, Steve debated his future as a marine biologist or an archeologist. Opting for marine biology, Steve attended the University of California at Santa Cruz and graduated with honors in 1975, with his thesis published in an international science journal. In 1998, Steve founded and served as executive director of The Otter Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recovery of the endangered California sea otter. Steve and sea otters led efforts to create hundreds of square miles of marine parks and reserves, stop the expansion of offshore oil drilling, erase the federal sea otter exclusion zone, create safer shipping lanes along the California coast, and curtail coastal agricultural pollution. Retired after 23 years of nonprofit executive experience, Steve now pursues his childhood passion for archeology as a volunteer site steward for the Southwest Colorado Canyons Alliance.

Dr. Tara Gray, Board Member: Tara has been passionate about recreating in Southwest Colorado since she moved here over 20 years ago and still sometimes refers to the Canyons of the Ancient National Monument as “Sand Canyon.” With over 30 years of service in education and mental health, she now combines her devotion to social justice with that of environmental justice and stewardship. Dr. Gray is currently Clinical Faculty in the Counseling Department at Prescott College and serves clients in her private practice, Dr. Tara Gray Counseling & Wellness, in Telluride, Colorado. She has served over 4,000 clients and students to date, has presented over 50 presentations, earned 7 awards, written 20 grants funded at over half a million dollars, and has served in over 30 different professional service volunteer leadership roles. When she’s not engaged in professional service you can find her hiking, exploring canyons, paddling, skiing, and mountain biking with her Australian Shepherds.