Commercial Recreation Licensing & Permitting Now And In The Future


Sheena Pate

Sheena Pate

Project Coordinator

Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council

Sheena Pate of Columbia Falls, MT, project coordinator for the Crown of the Continent Geotourim Council, works in and around the international transboundary region (Alberta, British Columbia & Montana) introducing the geotourism concept and how it can be a tool to build a sustainable tourism industry without sacrificing community values or identity, in partnership with National Geographic. It is her belief that geotourism can effectively sustain regional businesses, preserve community character and promote conservation.
This Texas born gal grew up and worked in the outdoor recreation industry before making a run for the captivating mountains of Colorado and Montana. Pate’s passion for bringing people together to work toward sustaining and enhancing the character of geographical places led her to earn a degree in watershed science from Colorado State University and a degree in environmental studies from University of Montana. She was drawn to the Crown of the Continent over 16 years ago because of its distinct communities and access to unspoiled landscapes. The last 18 years she has had the pleasure of working as a Program Coordinator, Outreach Consultant, Watershed Scientist, Environmental Technician and Conservation Educator for Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council, Flathead National Forest, Whitefish Legacy Partners, Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP/Curecanti NRA, City of Fort Collins- Utilities, Watershed Education Network and watershed restoration consultants.
When she’s not volunteering for local and state non-profits you can often find her with a camera in hand exploring the vast region and capturing family adventures with her fly fishing guide/hunting guide/ski patrol husband, outdoor obsessed toddler and trusty dog Bridger Merle. You can often catch her and crew on @crowngeotourism and @findyourwildcollective Instagram feeds enjoying the region’s “hidden gems”.
Steve Gallus

Steve Gallus

Executive Officer

Montana Department of Labor & Industry

Steve is a native of Butte and currently resides in Helena where he serves as the Executive Officer of the Montana Board of Outfitters and other professional licensing boards administratively attached to the Montana Department of Labor & Industry.
His perspective on recreation and resource management is molded by experience in three tiers. Steve is an avid outdoor enthusiast, was previously a fly fishing guide and fly fishing lodge operator and has dealt extensively with public policy related to resource management and competing interests as a 14 year member of the Montana Legislature in both House and Senate where his served on the Fish and Game Committee in each chamber.
He is a former member of the Private Lands Public Wildlife Council and holds a Senior Executive in State and Local Government certificate from Harvard University’s JFK School of Government.
Steve spends much of his free time with his seven year old son exploring the mountains in Flathead County where they have a USFS lease and family cabin.
Rick Jenssen

Rich Janssen Jr., MBA

Department Head, Natural Resources

Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes

Rich Janssen Jr. is an enrolled Qlispe Tribal Member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. He has spent his entire career with the Tribes, the last ten as the Department Head of Natural Resources, which includes over 202 employees within the Divisions of Environmental Protection, Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation, and Engineering and Water Resources. Mr. Janssen has an undergraduate degree from the University of Montana (Missoula) 1993, and a Masters of Business Administration from Gonzaga University (2007). Mr. Janssen is married with two grown children, his Bulldog “Dennis, and is a strong advocate for all people with Autism.” Rich is also an adjunct Professor at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, MT teaching Economics, Tribal and Public Administration, as well as financial literacy to young people.
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Lori Thomason

Lori Thomason

Executive Officer

Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board

Lori is an Idaho Native, who has lived in Idaho her entire life. She grew up camping, fishing, spending most of her time enjoying what the great state of Idaho has to offer. She was raised on a farm and at an early age understood what hard work and commitment was all about. As she got older she oversaw the health needs of the livestock on our farm, and became a Veterinary Technician. With that experience she was hired to work at the Idaho Humane Society clinic. From there was promoted to manage the Idaho Humane Society and animal control. After about 5 years managing the Idaho Humane Society, she had the opportunity to start a microwave cable company. She was there for 14 years until Sprint bought our system and closed them down to utilize their broadband for internet purposes. She was looking for her next career and became an insurance agent for a couple years, until hired by the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board as their office manager 15 years ago. After 10 years as office manager, she applied for the Executive Director position and has held this job for the last five years. To date being the Executive Director position had been her most challenging and rewarding of my careers.
She is married and between her and her husband they have 6 children and16 grandchildren. They still spend most of time outdoors enjoying the Idaho’s natural resources, which reminds her constantly of the fine line overseeing the outfitters and guides profession and the critical balance needed to reduce conflict between the outfitted and general public.

Michael Bias

Executive Director


Michael A. Bias, Ph.D. is the Executive Director for the Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana based out of Twin Bridges, Montana. Mike brings with him his extensive background in conservation making his advocacy for FOAM with agencies, legislators, and the public especially valuable.
Mike is also a licensed Montana Fishing Outfitter and guide in Idaho. He has been guiding since 1997.
He currently is the entomology instructor for the Western Rivers Guide School out of Victor, Idaho and was director and instructor at the Hyde Outfitter Guide School for nearly 10 years. During summers,
Mike spends some of his time guiding out of Island Park, Idaho. He makes his home in Twin Bridges, MT. Mike serves also serves as the Principal Ecologist for EcoSystems, LLC, his own environmental consulting company. His conservation work centers on stream restoration, enhancement, ecology, and aquatic
entomology. He has several published papers in various scientific journals and has authored over 30 scientific presentations on wetland restoration ecology, wildlife population and habitat ecology, and aquatic entomology.

Jeff Ward

USDA Forest Service

Jeff Ward serves as the Regional Recreation Special Uses Program Manager with the USDA Forest Service, in Missoula, Montana. Since 2013, his position has covered the management and oversight of recreation programs, special use permits, winter sports and tourism across 25 million acres, spanning from North Dakota, Montana, to Northern Idaho. Jeff has spent his entire career supporting theconservation, promotion and economic benefits that responsibly managedpublic lands provide; with the Forest Service, as well as in the private and non-profit sectors. Jeff’s work with the Forest Service has also offered the opportunity to work internationally with ICMBio in the Brazilian Amazon National Parks and the USFS Washington Office with Recreation Special Uses. In his off-time, he spends time introducing his two boys to the wonders of nature and the endless outdoor recreation opportunities living in Montana offers including fishing, hiking, camping, skiing, and all-things paddling and rowing on water.
Donna McDonald

Donna McDonald


Upper Canyon Outfitters

Donna Tate McDonald along with her husband Jake own and operate Upper Canyon Outfitters (UCO) in Southwest Montana. The ranch was homesteaded by Donna’s grandfather in 1910, and UCO remains one of the oldest and most respected outfitters in Montana. Donna has a lifelong passion and deep ties to the outdoors. She remembers tagging along with her father on hunting adventures at a young age carrying her trusty 22 single shot rifle.
Donna has dedicated her personal and professional life to conservation, hunting and fishing. Donna has been involved with the RMEF since 1987 and is currently serving on RMEF Board of Directors and the Gov’t Affairs Committee.
Donna has been a licensed outfitter since 1989. An avid horsewoman and outdoorswoman, she is internationally recognized for her equine knowledge, hunting, fishing and guiding skills and expertise.
Donna has served on numerous councils and associations with the state of Montana and National Boards, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and received many awards and certifications.
She has been on the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association (MOGA) Board of Directors for nineteen years, serving as the first woman President of MOGA in 2008 and 2009. She is currently serving on the Board for America Outdoors Association representing over 500 professional outdoor recreation companies in America. Donna has served six years on the Governor’s-appointed Private Land/Public Wildlife Council and has been involved in several major legislative accomplishments.
Donna has also served on the Western Montana Resource Advisory Council for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from 2001 -2006, providing advice and expertise on public land management to the U.S. Department of the Interior as the council of Montana outfitting.
Dedicated to serving others, Donna helped establish Big Hearts under the Big Sky, a charitable partnership program providing military soldiers, children facing the challenge of a life threatening illness, and women suffering the challenges of breast cancer the opportunity to enjoy Montana outdoors at no cost.
Donna has a strong passion for hunting and preserving it for generations to come. She works hard to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and hunting heritage.
Awards & Recognition:
– “Hero of Conservation,” May 2012 issue of Field& Stream! This award recognizes individuals who are committed to preserving natural resources across the United States.
– Finalist for the 2014 Prois Awards. The Prois Award recognizes the top female hunter based on experience, dedication to conservation and management, promotion of the hunting heritage and community outreach efforts. These hunters are known for having guts, determination and a passion for the hunt.