CHC relies on the subject-matter expertise of Advisory Board members to better understand and respond to the economic, environmental, and health impacts of irresponsible oil and gas development.

Kelly Allen--Kelly grew up in Grand Junction, CO, and now calls the North Fork Valley home.  He has a Bachelor’s of Biological Science degree from Mesa State.  He worked in retail management for 15 years before going into the energy industry.  His 8 years in the industry has gained him valuable knowledge and experience from the front lines. He is devoted to protecting the North Fork Valley from irresponsible resource extraction. He and his wife, Jen, are rehabilitating their land for wildlife and a few goats.

Elaine Brett picElaine Brett–
Elaine’s experience spans clinical chemistry, corporate management and organizational development consulting. She has over thirty years experience in facilitation, strategic planning and management in commercial, non-profit and governmental sectors.  Elaine came to the North Fork Valley in 2004 and has been involved in many different businesses and organizations.  Currently, she is on the boards of The Friends of the Paradise Theatre and the Western Colorado Community Foundation.  She has a passion for local food and enjoys cycling and hiking. She wants to see our local economy thrive and survive and is committed to conserving the beautiful lands of Western Colorado.

Bill Day_rockhouse river nov 15 032Bill Day–Bill has lived on the North Fork, west of Hotchkiss, since 1994. After retiring from a career as a Land Surveyor, he spent 13 seasons working for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and the Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas II. His favorite RMBO projects included searching for and monitoring Western Purple Martins, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Greater Sage-grouse, and Burrowing Owls. Bill is a graduate of Western Kentucky University and is a former board president of Black Canyon Audubon Society and Black Canyon Land Trust. He is currently a member of the Crawford Gunnison Sage-grouse Working Group, Western Colorado Congress Public Lands Committee and the BLM Uncompahgre Field Office RMP planning committee.

Bill Fritsche_webBill Fritsche–Bill is a long-time Colorado nomad having moved around the state on a self-defined career journey and personal quest to experience different places. He has lived in Denver, Basalt, Steamboat Springs, Idaho Springs, and Fort Collins. He and his life-partner Barbara moved to Paonia in 2015 in search of a quieter lifestyle than available on the Front Range, with less snow than Steamboat or Basalt. Bill has been practicing law for over thirty years, specializing in civil and criminal litigation.


Mitch GershtenMitch Gerhsten–Dr. Gershten holds a B.S. Degree in Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology; a Master’s Degree in Pharmacology; and a Medical Degree. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and for 12 years was the owner and a practicing physician for HealthMark Center for Integrated Healing Arts. Mitch currently works as a staff physician/hospitalist, at St. Mary’s Hospital, in Grand Junction, Colorado, where he has been since 2008.



Jen Sanborn–Jen has called the North Fork Valley home for the last 4 years.  She previously lived in Rifle, CO, where she served two terms on Rifle’s City Council.  Her time on council was during the energy boom of 2001 and bust of 2008.  While on council, she experienced the challenges that face communities surrounded by the Oil & Gas industries.  While the North Fork Valley is very different from Rifle, she hopes to use her experiences as a way of protecting this valley.  She’s thrilled to be living in a rural environment where clean water and air are still a priority.

Paige photo_webPaige Smith–Paige has been a Wyoming resident for 35 years and she and her husband plan to retire in Paonia in the near future.  Paige has a B.S. in rangeland management and a M.S. in mine land reclamation. She spent 29 years with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) in the Land Quality, Air Quality, and Solid and Hazardous Waste Divisions dealing with coal mine permitting, effects of oil and gas drilling on air quality and the cleanup of contaminated industrial sites. She also served in a one-year temporary position as a Natural Resources Policy Analyst with Wyoming Governor Freudenthal’s administration where she was heavily involved in large-scale oil and gas developments. Paige retired from the WDEQ in 2013 and recently joined the Board of Wyoming’s only independent environmental organization, the Wyoming Outdoor Council. She is honored to participate in CHC’s efforts to protect and preserve our beautiful and unique North Fork Valley.


Smiling John in blue shirt_cropJohn VanDenBerg–John is a widely published author and has lectured and trained in all 50 states and every province in Canada, and in other countries. He is a recently retired child psychologist and national consultant. Dr. VanDenBerg has spent his career working on de-institutionalization of children with severe emotional problems, and is one of the founders of the Wraparound Process, a method of supporting adults and children with complex needs.

Steve Wolcott_crop_webSteve Wolcott–Steve has been farming and ranching on Stucker Mesa, outside Paonia, since 1972.  He and his wife, Linda Lindsey, have three grown children, and currently raise elk and alpacas and irrigate 70 acres of hay & pasture. Steve has been a partner in several small business ventures including installing solar hot water systems, welding & fabrication of elk handling systems, making umbrellas for river rafts and manufacturing items for model railroads. Steve was a founder and long-time board member of Western Slope Environmental Resource Council and Western Slope Conservation Center where he concentrated on issues with the coal mines.  He also serves on the Upper North Fork Area Planning Committee.

Robert WrightRobert Wright–Robert was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, and lived in Los Angeles, Missoula and Anchorage, before moving to Colorado in 2001. He has had a career in Sales and Marketing, and is founder and principle at, where he is an Internet marketing strategist, SEO Expert/Instructor, and Trusted Advisor. Robert is a Rainforest Action Network trained activist; he provides support and direct action work to Earth First, Hundredth Monkey and Anti-War/Peace movements. Robert’s hobbies include Drums/Guitar/Songwriting, MMA, Disc Golf, Gaming, Magic and Dogs.