Board of Directors

John Gappa, Chair

Former Executive Vice President & CFO, Ability Network, Inc., and former Senior Vice President & CFO, Post Consumer Brands

Paul Fate, Vice Chair

Retired President and CEO, CommonBond Communities

Lee Vue, Secretary

Digital Content and Marketing Manager, Seiche

Robert Scott, Treasurer

Portfolio Manager, NCG

Krisann Kleibacker Lee

Senior Lawyer – Sustainability Counsel, Cargill

Tony Lockhart

Director of Technology, Marshall School

Holly Jenkins

Former Outdoor Expo Coordinator, Midwest Mountaineering

Jason Long

Cafe Imports, CEO

Ari Lukoff

Attorney, Robins Kaplan

Ryan Johnson

Attorney, Fredrikson & Byron

Evan Nelson

Attorney, Maslon LLP

John Penshorn

Retired Senior Vice-President, United Health Group

Jaime Roquebert

Finance Manager – Commercial Solutions, 3M

Emily Vikre

Co-Owner and CEO, Vikre Distillery

Pete Fleming

Honorary Board Member

Richard Flint

Honorary Board Member


Chris Knopf, Executive Director

For more than 25 years Chris has worked to protect, preserve and restore our wild places. Prior to joining the Friends, he was a practicing environmental attorney, served as the Ohio Office Director for The Trust for Public Land and worked as a major gifts officer with the Indian Land Tenure Foundation. He has deep love for the outdoors and enjoys hiking, kayaking, canoeing, biking, backpacking and photography.

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Bree Sikorski, Operations Director

Bree fell in love with the BWCAW leading trips for a Girl Scout camp and still can’t believe how lucky she is to live so close to this wilderness gem. She has worked in non-profit management and operations for over a decade, at YHA St. Briavels Castle in the UK, Glensheen Mansion in Duluth and, most recently, at First Universalist Church of Minneapolis. Bree loves to be outdoors and enjoys running, cross country skiing, reading, cooking and camping.

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Pete Marshall, Communications Director

Pete has canoed more than 8,000 miles through remote regions of Canada and put on plenty of miles in his “backyard” BWCAW. He has written for a number of publications and produced a documentary film for Twin Cites Public Television. Before coming to the Friends he worked at a marketing agency, and in another life flirted with a career in academia.

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Mike Linnemann, Development Director

Mike sees fundraising as the art of helping passionate supporters have the greatest possible impact on programs and ideas they hold dear. As an Eagle Scout from central Minnesota, his foundational experience took place in the Boundary Waters, which he considers to be the state’s greatest natural asset. More recently, he honed his fundraising skills at the University of Minnesota Foundation, and today is most happy doing what he can to help keep Minnesota beautiful.

Contact Mike

Scott Beauchamp, Policy Director

Scott has worked as the Manager of Public Affairs for the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, as Communications Director for the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, and as a freelance Strategic Communications Consultant. As an award-winning public speaker, Scott has written, co-authored, or edited, numerous successful speeches for politicians, business leaders, and other influencers.

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Alison Nyenhuis, Education Manager

Alison heads up our No Boundaries to the Boundary Waters program, where she combines her passion for education with her lifelong love for the BWCA. In addition to teaching middle school, Alison has guided young people on trips with Wilderness Canoe Base, and worked in residential environmental education programs in the Seattle and New York City area. Her love of all things outside keeps her cross country skiing, hiking, paddling, and cooking outdoors whenever possible.

Contact Alison

Lauren Mitchell, Database Manager

Lauren is passionate about protecting wildlife, wild places and advocating for environmental justice. In addition to working with the Friends, she is pursuing her master’s degree through Oregon State University. Lauren loves to travel and camp with her two dogs, play golf and is a proud member of the St. Croix Valley Bird Club.

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Maya Swope, Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

In her work with the Friends, Maya is driven by the importance of protecting clean water and a passion for making the wilderness a place where everyone feels welcome. She grew up canoeing and hiking in small-town New Hampshire, and has loved exploring Minnesota’s beautiful lakes and trails in recent years. Her professional experience lies in outreach, volunteer coordination, and protecting water resources in and around the Twin Cities.

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Hudson Ledeen, Community Coordinator

Passionate about conservation, public lands and natural resources, Hudson has an impressive background when it comes to outdoor experience. He lives in Ely with his wife Katie, along with their 12-year-old dog.

Contact Hudson

David Meier, Digital Communications Manager

David loves to introduce new people to the Boundary Waters, most recently his two elementary aged boys. He has worked in digital communications and technology at InFaith Community Foundation and TV production at Twin Cities Public Television and local sporting events. He enjoys the adventure of traveling internationally, but feels that the most special places are here close to home on the North Shore and BWCAW.

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Karen Johnson, Grants Manager

Joining the Friends team in 2021, Karen combines her love of the outdoors with her almost 20 years of nonprofit experience. She helps support the Friends through corporate and foundation grants and partnerships. While originally from Illinois, she is a Minnesotan at heart and fell in love with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area soon after college. When not writing grants or connecting with foundations, you can find Karen reading in the sunshine, camping, hiking, biking, or skiing with her husband and two kids.

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Emme Knowles, Legislative Intern

Emme is a student at Hamline University in their Business program. The occasional visit to the BWCA, traveling around the world and staying active are her main passions. She finds a lot of joy in becoming more politically active, which is what drew her to the Capitol Pathways program and to work with the Friends during the 2021 Minnesota legislative session and continues to assists with large projects and legislative and policy issues.
Contact Emme