Carrie Besnette Hauser, Chair
Representative: Outdoor Recreation and Utilization of Parks; Glenwood Springs, CO
Term Expires: July 2023
Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser is president and CEO of Colorado Mountain College. CMC has been a leader in outdoor education for decades, offering dozens of degrees and programs in outdoor recreation leadership, sustainability studies, ecosystems science and land stewardship, natural resources, avalanche science, ski area operations and others.
Hauser has also held leadership roles at the Kauffman Foundation, Metropolitan State University of Denver, the Daniels Fund, and the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, earned her master’s and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA, and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Wharton School of Business.
An avid outdoorswoman, Hauser has climbed to the Mount Everest basecamp and has summited Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Rainier, and Colorado’s 58 highest peaks (14ers). She held the proud title of “Swamper” while working many summers for Hatch River Expeditions in Grand Canyon National Park near her beloved hometown of Flagstaff, Arizona. She and her husband enjoy skiing, hiking, boating, biking and exploring the Rocky Mountain West and remote places around the world.
Dallas May, Vice Chair
Representative: Agriculture; Lamar, CO
Email Address: Dallas.May@state.co.us
Term Expires: July 2024
Dallas May was born and raised in Colorado in a ranching and farming family.
When he was young, he started a herd of purebred Limousin cattle from one heifer calf given to him by his grandpa on his thirteenth birthday. That began a lifelong quest to protect native grassland and wildlife habitat.
Today, he sells purebred breeding stock all over the United States and Mexico, and also operates an irrigated farm operation raising alfalfa and corn. His three grown children and their spouses are actively involved in the operation.
As he was growing up, May watched most of the remaining ranches around be converted to farmland. This had a profound effect on him as wildlife habitat disappeared in order for families to find a way to survive economically. This shaped his philosophy in searching for ways in which farming, ranching and the preservation of wildlife and associated habitat could coexist.
Ranchers and farmers were basically on their own in achieving sustainability by being able to support their families and provide a dependable and affordable supply of food for the growing population, while protecting the environment that they loved and worked for. If not for ranching and ranching families, very few if any pristine native grass ranches would be in tact today. This is the reason ranchers are the ultimate conservationists.
Today is a different environment. Even though the economic pressures are still daunting there are an extraordinary number of organizations and people who are seeking to form collaborations to achieve these important goals.
Several years ago, May partnered with Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Western Landowners Alliance and several other groups to place a conservation easement on his ranch.
His desire has always been to conserve wildlife, wildlife habitat, water, property rights, working lands and ranching and farming families. This has to be done from the ground up, literally. May’s ranch strives to maintain maximum diversity from the ground up and believe that an all-natural balance is important from the tiniest lifeforms in soil to the largest species of wildlife.
May serves on several boards and committees associated with water issues to protect water rights and keep local communities viable and give them the opportunity to thrive.
Marie Haskett, Secretary
Representative: Sportspersons and Outfitters; Meeker, CO
Term Expires: July 2025
Marie Haskett is the owner and operator of JML Outfitters and Horse Crazy camp for kids. She is a 3rd generation outfitter, taking over the business from her mother. Marie started Horse Crazy Camp for Kids and has introduced hundreds of children to horses, riding and the great outdoors. JML provides services to hunters, fishermen and recreationalists alike.
Ms. Haskett spends most daylight hours, 365 days a year, outdoors -- riding horses, fishing, hunting and watching wildlife are professional and personal pastimes.
She is a long-time supporter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Colorado Outfitters Association (COA). Over the years, Marie has volunteered through the COA by hosting kids’ camps teaching archery, horseback riding, fishing and general outdoor activities, as well as participating in CPW’s Cast, Blast ‘n Twang days.
Ms. Haskett is an active Board Member of the Colorado Outfitters Association, and the Northwest Colorado Outfitters Association. She is a past board member of the Meeker Chamber of Commerce, White River Neighborhood Group, Platte River Chapter of the COA, and served 8 years on the DORA Outfitter Licensing Board.
Marie holds a Bachelors degree from Metro State University in Accounting. With over 20 years experience in the field, she brings her financial sense to the commission table.
Marie believes that children and wildlife are our collective future. Her time is spent making memories for people and protecting the future of wildlife for everyone.
Representative: Outdoor Recreation and Utilization of Parks Resources; Boulder, CO
Term Expires: July 2023
Taishya Adams is a passionate and dedicated servant leader laser focused on justice and liberation through community building, personal transformation, and systems change. With over 25 years of experience across the country and the world, Taishya serves at the intersections of education, health, workforce, science, and environment. Collaborating with multidisciplinary stakeholders to strengthen access, representation, meaningful participation and quality, Taishya is committed to fighting the good fight for our each other and our planet. Appointed by Governor Jared Polis to serve on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission – the first African American woman in the Commission’s history - Taishya also serves as the Policy Director and Colorado Co-lead for Outdoor Afro. Outdoor Afro is a nationwide network with 90 volunteer leaders in 30 states guiding thousands of outdoor events each year based on a simple mission to celebrate and inspire African American connections to nature. As Policy Director, Taishya engages with our networks on education, health, and environmental policies affecting Black people, Black communities and the planet. She also leads the implementation of Outdoor Afro’s policy priorities at the federal, state, and local levels. Previously, Taishya worked at American Institutes for Research as a Senior Education Equity leveraging policy, research, and practice to strengthen public education. Taishya also worked with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the DC Public Charter Schools Board, Global Classrooms Washington, DC, and the Children Defense Fund Freedom Schools. Taishya is the founding Board President of New Legacy Charter School – a public charter high school and early learning center for teen parents and their children in Aurora, Colorado. In addition to Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, Taishya also sits on the Colorado Nature Areas Council, the NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries, and the Conference on World Affairs at University of Colorado Boulder. Taishya holds a MA in International Education from George Washington University and a BA from Vassar College in Political Science and Film.
Karen Michelle Bailey
Representative: Member at Large; Boulder, CO
Email Address: email@example.com
Term Expires: July 2025
Karen Bailey is an assistant professor in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is an interdisciplinary scientist interested in understanding how human-environment interactions impact human health and well-being and natural resources and conservation. Her work is focused in conservation landscapes and climate-vulnerable communities in rural landscapes across the world, with a particular focus on southern and East Africa. She is interested in sustainable livelihoods, wildlife conservation, global change, and coupled human-natural systems. She also has a commitment to justice, equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion in science and natural resource management and conducts research to amplify the voices of those most impacted by environmental change.
Representative: Sportspersons; Wray, CO
Term Expires: July 2023
Betsy came to Colorado from upstate New York as a seasonal employee at Steamboat Lake State Park in 2003 following a completed thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail the year before. During her time in Colorado, Betsy has worked as a crew leader for Rocky Mountain Youth Corps in Steamboat Springs, taught science at the Cal-Wood Education Center in Jamestown, and developed day-programming opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities for Community Link in Boulder County.
Blecha graduated from the State University of New York at Cortland College with a degree in Recreation and Leisure studies and holds a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University. Upon graduation from Regis, Betsy moved to rural Jackson County where she spent 10 years working on many community development initiatives. In 2014, she was elected County Commissioner of Jackson County and served one term. As commissioner, she was involved with rural broadband development projects, increasing early childhood services and initiated a variety of projects that supported the burgeoning outdoor recreation industry in Jackson County.
Betsy is an outdoor pursuits enthusiast who enjoys camping, fishing, hunting and biking. She has recently moved to Wray where she continues her community development work in addition to helping with the family farm and ranch.
Representative: Representative of sportspersons and a member West of the Continental Divide; Fruita, CO
Term Expires: July 2026
Born and raised in western Colorado, Gabriel is a fourth generation Coloradan, avid sportsman and conservationist.
Otero’s deep connection and appreciation for nature and wildlife was instilled in him at an early age. He grew up living farm to table and because of Otero’s family history stretching back multiple generations he has developed an appreciation for farming and ranching.
Passionate about volunteering his time, Gabriel collaborates with public, nonprofit and private organizations to serve his community. He currently serves as a board member for the Riverside Educational Center. It is a nonprofit that provides Mesa County students with high-quality academic and extracurricular experiences during out of school time to foster individual growth and to create community within a safe, diverse, equitable, inclusive environment. He also volunteers at HomewardBound of the Grand Valley and has coached youth sports, being a father, he has gained a tremendous devotion to children and their future.
Otero is the Director for Equitable Funding Policy for The Wilderness Society. He has a combined 15 years’ experience working in the oil and gas energy sector and conservation. He’s worked on efforts that provide equitable access to nature, national monument designations, land management plans, resource management plans and oil and gas development.
In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends in nature.
Duke Phillips IV
Representative: Agriculture; Colorado Springs, CO
Term Expires: July 2024
Duke Phillips is a fourth generation rancher who has lived in Southeastern Colorado for the past 30 years. He was raised on and has spent the majority of his adult life living and working on the Chico Basin Ranch. Duke graduated from the University of Denver with a BA in English and afterwards worked on various ranches, including over a year on expansive cattle stations in Australia, exceeding 1.7 million acres and running up to 70,000 head of cattle.
Today, Duke is a principal and COO of Ranchlands. Ranchlands is a conservation-minded family ranching business whose motto is: “Working together to live with the land.” With an extensive education program for young people looking to get into ranching, programs that serve up to 2,000 school kids annually, as well as public outreach programs, Ranchlands is committed to getting people onto their ranches to offer a glimpse into ranching and exchange thoughts and ideas from different perspectives.
In his free time, Duke enjoys being out on the ranch with his daughter Dean and wife Madi. He feels very fortunate to be starting a family in such a beautiful part of the world.
“I am proud to be a representative of Agriculture on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission. There are certainly challenges that await in the future, but I believe through clear, consistent communication and an open-minded approach, we can achieve great success.”
Representative: Public at Large; Denver, CO
Term Expires: July 2026
Richard Reading, Ph.D. is the Vice President of Science and Conservation at Butterfly Pavilion. He serves as an Adjunct Professor within the Department of Biology at the University of Denver; Affiliate Faculty with the Department of Agricultural Biology at Colorado State University; and a Fellow with the University of Nebraska’s Center for Great Plains Studies. Dr. Reading received a Ph.D. and three Master’s degrees from Yale University in Wildlife Ecology and Human Dimensions of Wildlife and an Honorary Doctorate from the National Education University of Mongolia. In 2020, Rich was honored to receive the Order of the Polar Star, the highest honor from the Mongolian National Government for expatriates, for contributions to conservation. He has conducted or overseen projects in dozens of countries, working primarily on grassland and arid ecosystems on six continents, with a focus on the Great Plains of N. America, the steppes and deserts of Mongolia, the savannahs and deserts of Botswana, and the Altiplano of Peru. His work focuses on developing pragmatic, effective, and interdisciplinary approaches to the conservation of wildlife and protected areas through research, capacity development, and working with local people and governments. Dr. Reading serves on the boards of directors or advisors for several non-profit organizations in the U.S. and overseas; serves as an associate editor for 5 scientific journals; has published over 230 scientific papers and book chapters; written dozens of popular articles; and written or edited 9 books.
James Jay Tutchton
Representative: Outdoor Recreation, Parks Utilization, & Nonconsumptive Wildlife; Hasty, CO
Term Expires: July 2024
Jay Tutchton is the Preserve Manager for the Southern Plains Land Trust (SPLT) based in Bent County, Colorado. He spends his days managing SPLT’s reintroduced bison herd and improving its 32,000-acre network of protected lands for the benefit of all native wildlife species. Together with SPLT, Tutchton strives to persuade people to fall in love with the lesser known half of Colorado, the prairie, and join the organization in restoring a small portion of what has been aptly termed a lost “American Serengeti.”
Born in Arapahoe County, at a time when it was a much more rural area, Tutchton grew up playing outside and became captivated by the idea of protecting nature from rapidly expanding urban sprawl. He only willingly left the state to attend college and law school, at the University of Notre Dame and UCLA respectively, graduating with honors from both institutions, and then promptly returning home to protect the wild creatures and places he enjoyed as a child.
As a lawyer Tutchton spent 27 years litigating in the Federal Court system throughout the United States, typically representing environmental organizations and individuals seeking to protect the environment. Tutchton also helped to start the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law and has taught a variety of courses on Wildlife, Animal, and Environmental Law. Among his greatest joys is introducing young lawyers to the possibilities of pursuing careers advocating for wildlife protection and a clean environment.
An avid outdoor recreationist, and one committed to taking the road less traveled, Tutchton hopes to ensure that less-traveled paths remain available to future generations and that Colorado becomes the best state in the country to be a wild animal.
Representative: Production Agriculture; Aspen, CO
Term Expires: July 2026
Passionate about leaving the world better for future generations, Eden Vardy is committed to supporting and implementing environmental solutions, namely around agriculture. Vardy has had the honor and privilege of living in Colorado for over 30 years, and enjoys the majority of his days outdoors.
Eden Vardy has a BA in Sustainable Food Systems and an MS in Integrated Eco- Social Design. Dedicated to continuing our state's legacy around agriculture, Vardy is the founder and executive director of The Farm Collaborative, a Roaring Fork Valley nonprofit and farm that connects children and the community to nature and their food source, and solves global climate challenges through local food production.
Vardy is also a regenerative agriculture adjunct faculty for Colorado Mountain College, the CEO of The 2 Forks Club (an organization that makes 0% interest loans to burgeoning community farmers and local food entrepreneurs), the VP of the board of Compass for Lifelong Learning (which oversees the Aspen and Carbondale Community Schools), an avid percussionist, and a very proud husband and father.
Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources
As Executive Director, Dan Gibbs leads the development and execution of the Department’s initiatives for the balanced management of the state’s natural resources. Dan works on an array of issues pertaining to all of Colorado’s natural resources, including water, wildlife, state lands, oil and gas and mining.
Dan is a respected collaborator and a strong proponent of building partnerships across agencies, nonprofits and private-sector organizations to improve the productivity and success of government operations and services.
Prior to joining the Department of Natural Resources, Dan served as a Summit County Commissioner from 2010-2018. As County Commissioner, Dan successfully pushed for wildfire preparedness, affordable workforce housing, lower health insurance costs, and protection and improvements to transportation infrastructure.
Prior to his tenure as a Commissioner, Dan served in the Colorado House of Representatives and in the Colorado State Senate where he served on the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. His legislative accomplishments include securing funding for wildfire mitigation and forest health, creating the Colorado Kids Outdoors grant program, supporting watershed health initiatives, and increasing environmental protections for wildlife from oil and gas development.
Dan is a certified wildland firefighter and is affiliated with the ROSS system, through which he is on call to fight wildfires throughout the United States. He chaired the statewide Wildland Fire and Prescribed Fire Matters Advisory Council, and represented county governments on the Forest Health Advisory Committee. Dan has served on a variety of civic boards including: Search and Rescue Advisory, Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus, Tourism Office, Youth Corps Association, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District and the Keystone Science School.
Dan is a graduate of Western State Colorado University and completed the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program. He is also a Marshall Memorial Fellow.
Dan enjoys all that living in the high country has to offer, including skiing, running, mountain biking, hunting and fishing. He is a resident of Breckenridge, Colorado, where he lives with his wife, Johanna; daughter, Grace; and son, Tate.
Commissioner of Agriculture
Kate Greenberg was appointed the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture by Governor Jared Polis in December 2018. As commissioner, Greenberg will lead the department’s daily operations, direct its 300 employees, and oversee the agency’s seven divisions: Animal Health; Brand Inspection; Colorado State Fair; Conservation Services; Inspection and Consumer Services; Markets; and Plant Industry.
“For the last ten years, I have dedicated my work to those who work the land. Throughout that time, I have sat around dozens of kitchen tables, worked with hundreds of farmers and ranchers, and have been a fierce advocate for family agriculture and its essential role in what we value most about Colorado,” said Greenberg. “I have worked the land, and worked on behalf of those that work the land. I have no delusion that the challenges family agriculture faces in this state and nation are deeply complex, or that the responsibility to deliver smart, innovative, and bold ways forward for Colorado agriculture is urgent.”
Heather Disney Dugan
Acting Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Heather Disney Dugan is Acting Director for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. During her 30-year career, she has had the good fortune to serve in several roles, including as a ranger, training officer, park manager, assistant region manager, region manager, and most recently as the Assistant Region Manager for Field Services and Chief of Law Enforcement. Born in Colorado, she grew up as a free-range outdoor kid. Heather earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology in 1992. She has served as a member of the National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Executive Board since 2017 and is currently its president. Heather and her husband have three active children. Heather and her family enjoy the diverse outdoor experiences Colorado has to offer, including hunting, fishing, hiking, paddleboarding, camping, mountain biking and skiing.
Visit our "Leadership Team" page for bios on other members of CPW's leadership.