Photo courtesy of the National Park Service
Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks connect people to place in ways that continue Bates Wilson’s values of exploration, collaboration and stewardship of our Southeast Utah National Parks and Monuments.
Consistent with Bates Wilson’s legacy, we will inspire individuals and communities with a passionate appreciation for vibrant and healthy national parks.
Connecting Youth to the Parks
We recognize that natural places are vital for children, their children, and continuing generations. The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow and we will provide young people with opportunities to explore and form their own connections to the landscapes and grow as lifelong stewards of national parks.
Enriching the Visitor Experience
We will work to ensure that park visitors experience a strong personal connection with the land, and that exploration, education, and research opportunities abound.
Working in Collaboration with the Community
We respect the needs, values and traditions of local communities and cultures, and we seek to forge relationships between the parks and the communities based on mutual benefit and trust.
Assisting the National Park Service
Our work will reflect and support the National Park Service’s mission of preservation, enjoyment, education and inspiration.
Supporting Lasting Preservation
Enduring success depends on our extraordinary national park lands being preserved forever. We will support the conservation and preservation of natural and cultural resources for generations to come.
Lynn Wilson Fredregill – Chair
Lynn is the daughter of Bates Wilson and grew up on the Professor Valley Ranch outside of Moab, Utah. She and her sister, Anne, cut their teeth on farming at the Ranch and camping in Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, where campfire stories recounted the adventures of exploring “the land in between.” Following her graduation from Colorado State University with a degree in Political Science, she began a career working in the Information Technology (IT) industry. When she has free time, Lynn enjoys going for walks with her dog, Kate, or returning to the red rocks of her childhood with her family for respite and relaxation.
Kevin Geiger – Vice Chair
Kevin Geiger has been the Telluride Town Attorney since 2006. Previously he was the Assistant County Attorney for San Miguel County (Telluride) from 2001 to 2006 and also Assistant County Attorney for Ouray County from 1999 to 2001. Kevin is a 1995 graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder (BA-Political Science, Summa Cum Laude) and received his Juris Doctorate (with a Graduate Interdisciplinary Certificate in Environmental Policy) from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1999. While at CU Law, Kevin also served as a research assistant for Professor Charles F. Wilkinson. Kevin lives in Telluride with his wife, Keri Yoder, the Assistant District Attorney for the 7th Judicial District, and their two daughters.
Sue Bellagamba – Treasurer
Sue works for The Nature Conservancy as the Canyonlands Regional Director. Prior to working for the Conservancy, Sue worked for the Canyonlands Field Institute where she met the Wilson family and assisted the National Park Service with the creation of the Moab Outdoor Education Program. When not working Sue enjoys backpacking, hiking and river running the canyons, mountains and waters of southeastern Utah. Sue resides in Moab, Utah.
Julie Mack – Secretary
Julie is an environmental programming expert with over 25 years of experience establishing and running environmental non-profit organizations in the State of Utah, her most recent positions were as the Utah Director for The Wilderness Society and the Executive Director for the Redford Center at the Sundance Preserve. During her career she has successfully built grassroots coalitions, collaborated with communities and conservations groups, and worked with local, state and national decision-makers as an advocate for clean air, wild lands protection, land conservation, action on global warming, reintroduction of wildlife and riparian habitat protection. A sixth generation Utahn, Julie resides in Salt Lake City with her husband Jeff Burks and their three children.
Barbara has forty-eight years experience as an architectural, landscape, and interior designer on commercial, institutional, and residential projects. Earlier years included passions for helicopter skiing in Canada, mountain biking, backpacking, and river rafting. She is board member of the Moab Music Festival, Utah PAWS, and Seekhaven, the women’s shelter serving southeastern Utah. The profound and varied appeal of the landscape brought Barbara and her husband, Bruce, to Moab decades ago, and continues to enchant them.
KC is the publisher for the “Story behind the Scenery” books that are sold in the National Parks throughout the United States. KC was a friend of Bates Wilson and did several interviews with Bates when he was the Superintendent of Arches and Canyonlands Parks. KC resides in Wickenburg, AZ.
Audrey grew up in Cheyenne and SLC and moved to Moab in 1984 after getting her degree in Environmental Studies. She was a ranger in the Needles District and at Arches in the 1980’s and now works with at-risk infants and toddlers through Utah State University. She served eight years on the Grand County Council and knows the players in numerous community entities, from the school district to the Multicultural Center, to the hospital, to city and county government as well as the girl scouts, library, quilt guild, local churches, Chamber of Commerce, and League of Women Voters. Audrey’s husband, Tim, is retired from USGS, works part-time at the Grand County Library and Weed Department. He is very involved in soccer and serves on the Mosquito Abatement and Youth Garden boards. Audrey and Tim have two grown daughters.
Tim started his career as a SCA volunteer at the Maze District of Canyonlands a long time ago. He worked as a seasonal for several national parks, became a park ranger for the state of Utah, managed Coral Pink Sand Dunes and Antelope Island State Parks and became the Southeast Region Manager 16 years ago. Tim lives in Moab with his wife where they particularly enjoy hiking, river running and skiing.
Martha lives in Salt Lake City and owns the Cat Ranch located the Henry Mountains, which she makes available for educational pursuits Westminster College. Martha believes in caring properly for the land and has been visiting the National Parks in southeastern Utah since moving to Utah in the mid-1960s. She has extensive experience on boards and with nonprofit organizations including the Huntsmen Cancer Center and the Copper Club of the Museum of Natural History. Martha is a registered nurse and mother of four children.
Anne grew up on a 300-acre ranch east of Moab, UT with her parents, Bates and Robin Wilson. Anne and her husband, Peter Lawson, still live and farm at Professor Valley Ranch with their two lively sons: 14-year old Bates and 12-year-old Theo. Anne's interests include reading, writing, the environment, and education.
Bates’ career with the National Park Service began in the early 1930s when he worked as a foreman for a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) construction crew around Santa Fe, New Mexico. After taking the park ranger exam in 1937, Bates accepted an entry-level position at Saguaro National Monument. However, two days before he was to start, the superintendent at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was pulled into the army and Bates was awarded the job of “acting custodian” (what would now be “acting superintendent”) at Organ Pipe.
After service in the Army in the early 1940s, Bates was appointed Custodian of El Morro National Monument from 1946 through 1949 when he was transferred to Arches and Natural Bridges National Monuments. Ironically, Bates started his career as a Superintendent and never worked as a ranger.
Bates Wilson served as superintendent of Arches and Natural Bridges National Monument from 1949 to 1972. He could most often be found outside. Driving between the two parks – drawn to the vast “land in between” – he dedicated countless hours to exploring and mapping its diverse geology. During that time, he advocated for the creation of a National Park in the area that is now Canyonlands. Bates led government officials on jeep tours featuring lengthy talks over campfires and hearty dutch oven dinners. Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall joined one of these tours in 1961, and began lobbying congress for the proposed park.
These efforts came to fruition on September 12, 1964 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Public Law 88-590 establishing Canyonlands National Park. Bates became the first superintendent which, along with his role as chief advocate for the park’s creation, earned him the title “Father of Canyonlands.”
Bates retired from the National Park Service in 1972 but remained close to Canyonlands. He maintained a ranch in Professor Valley, just 20 miles north of Moab, and served as chairman of Canyonlands Natural History Association until his death in 1983.
The Bates Wilson Philosophy
Superintendent Bates Wilson steadfastly championed core values that reflect the National Park Service’s mission of preservation, enjoyment, education, and inspiration:
- That the park visitor experience a strong personal connection with the land, as he did.
- That exploration and education opportunities abound at the Parks. Bates never went anywhere without trying to learn more and explore further.
- That these extraordinary public lands are preserved forever. He recognized that wild places are vital for us, our children, and for their children.
- That the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Bates influenced many young people as they explored the Parks with him, forming their own connections to the land.
The Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks: The Bates Wilson Legacy Fund continues the legacy of Bates Wilson.
Read more about Bates Wilson’s career with the National Park Service on the Canyonlands National Park website.