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Friends of New River Gorge National River
Board of Directors

Our Mission:
Friends of New River Gorge National River strives to preserve, restore, enhance the natural beauty, features, ecological systems, cultural and historical heritage of New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River, and Gauley River National Recreation Area by enhancing educational, interpretive, and research opportunities, increasing public awareness, enjoyment, and appreciation of the National Park Service,  supporting the National Park Service in the furtherance of these goals and purposes,  providing support and assistance to the National Park Service in constructing and improving park facilities and Camp Brookside. 

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Anna Ziegler:
President

Anna Ziegler was born and raised in Hinton, WV. She graduated from Marietta College in Ohio with a BS in Environmental Science, minor in geology and certification in leadership and business.

During and after college, Anna spent summers on New River and Gauley River as a whitewater rafting guide. Post-college, she worked at various ski resorts in Montana and Utah, primarily Big Mountain in Whitefish, Montana. She also spent three months on the South Pole in Antarctica working for Raytheon Polar Services which had the contract with the National Science Foundation to run the support station for the polar scientists.

In 2005, Anna graduated from the University of Montana School of Law with a J.D. and certification in environmental law. Her area of interest was land use planning. In school, Anna worked with other students, local governments, and tribal governments to finalize a zoning ordinance for a 100 mile road corridor. She also worked with a neighborhood group to draft and present an amendment to the county comprehensive plan which was later adopted by the local government.

Following law school, Anna moved back to southern West Virginia and began practicing law with her father. In January 2006, they became Ziegler and Ziegler, LC. Ziegler and Ziegler’s primary practice areas are real estate, property law, and local government law.  

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Beth Epperson

Bio coming soon.

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Debbie Cooper:
Secretary

Debbie Cooper was born and raised outside of Beckley, WV, in the small town of Crab Orchard and still resides in Beckley. She holds a BS in Business Management from Concord University, and is currently employed as Construction Business Manager for marine contractor and marine towing company, AmherstMadison, on the Kanawha River in Charleston, WV.

She spent her childhood playing outdoors in the woods and small creek below her house, going fishing on weekends with her parents and cousins on various WV creeks and rivers, and from a young age she gained a great love for the outdoor beauty that her home state has to offer. She and her dad went rafting her first time for a Father’s Day gift to him when she was only 13 with the very first rafting company established in the New River Gorge. She currently lives in Beckley, refusing to move closer to her work in Charleston where she has worked for the past 14 years because she needs to be “home” and near the places she loves in the southern part of WV. She still spends as much time as possible outdoors with friends usually hiking beautiful trails in the New River Gorge National River area, and other WV state parks and surrounding areas. She finds leisurely raft trips on the Upper New River are now her favorite after many years of enjoying higher adventure trips on the Lower New and Gauley Rivers. Debbie feels very lucky to have a close-knit group of friends who enjoy the outdoors with her, so she is never lacking for company in her outdoor fun, including the occasional 5K or Tough Mudder, several group camping trips each year, and a big trip to Yosemite National Park planned for this June. Exploring as many of our nation’s parks as possible is one of her life goals.

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Ray Moeller:
Treasurer

 Ray Moeller is a born and raised Michigander who only recently saw the light and followed it to West Virginia. Seriously, Ray went to college at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, then raised four boys while working in the Pharmaceutical industry for 28+ years, ultimately becoming the Pfizer Global Account Manager for worldwide print and graphics services. He was released due to corporate downsizing in 2009 and went through several additional concurrent life changes which caused him to seek alternate life direction. While he had some time, Ray partook of a Habitat for Humanity international build in a remote village of Papua New Guinea (life-changing), went to professional baseball umpire school – then umpired over 150 youth & high school games, rode a train cross country to attend the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and then took a driving tour of Ireland (discovering the life principle of “sine metu” – look it up).

After applying for the Peace Corps and finding himself on the verge of going to Africa for a two year stint, Ray met Connie and quickly realized that he did not truly desire to be on the other side of the world for two years, so he shifted his efforts toward the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) program and sought a position in the second most remote area of the world – south central West Virginia. Ray married Connie after spending a year on his own in West Virginia and they have since appreciated exploring and camping all around the state. They also enjoy Friday evenings boating with friends on Summersville Lake, teaming up to do challenging jigsaw puzzles, singing together in choir, hiking, biking, and generally relishing the beauty that West Virginia has to offer. The accompanying photo is of Connie & Ray, representing WV while attending a Thanksgiving game of his beloved (and oft times pathetic) Detroit Lions.

Ray feels fortunate to have landed in Summersville, Nicholas County, served three years as a VISTA and is currently in his third year as a West Virginia State University extension agent. Throughout his tenure in West Virginia, Ray has been learning and providing community and economic development in Nicholas County and across the New River Gorge Region, in partnership with the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority. Among his varied projects are trail development, dealing with dilapidated structures, enhancing tourism assets, supporting various civic and nonprofit organizations, promoting regional economic opportunities, and more. In addition to being treasurer for the Friends of New River Gorge National River, Ray is Secretary-Treasurer for the Nicholas County Airport Authority, Secretary-Treasurer for the Richwood Building Commission, Chair of the Nicholas County Historic Landmark Commission, and a member of the Nicholas Old Main Foundation.

Camp Brookside is a cool place with a cool story and Ray considers it an honor to have the opportunity to play a small role as part of the Friends group in helping the camp to regain viability.

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Stacy Ford

Stacy grew up in Summers County and graduated from Marshall University with a B.A. in Mass Communications. She returned to Hinton and has been fortunate enough to be able to live and work in the town where she grew up.

Stacy, is the Circuit Clerk of Summers County. Prior to being elected as the Circuit Clerk, she spent most of her career doing Community Development work in Southern WV. She is very active in her community serving on serval boards and committees. She is past president of both the Kiwanis Club of Hinton and the Hinton Area Foundation. She is a volunteer for Read Aloud, Walk for Her Lifetime, John Henry Days, John Henry Historical Society and
assist with various other activities.

Stacy enjoys being outdoors, gardening, spending time with her husband, John and dog, Buford and going “junking” with her mom.

“Although I grew up in Hinton, I had never been to Camp Brookside until I was asked to come and tour the property. Once I drove on the island I knew it was a special place and wanted to be part of helping it grow. I grew up attending summer camps and those are some of my best memories, I can still
remember the words to camp fire songs and chants! Friends of the New River is focusing on things that matter and helping to make memories for families and children. Anything I can do to help promote this beautiful area, our rivers and experiences is time well spent.

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Wendy Perrone

Wendy has been a wild bird rehabilitator since 1988 and a professional environmental educator since 1993.

In 1995, Wendy received the Distinguished Mountaineer Award from Governor Joe Manchin III for her many years of dedication to wild bird care and environmental education programs that offer a rare proactive and positive environmental perspective.

In 2006, New River Gorge National River and the WV Department of Natural Resources began a Peregrine Falcon Restoration Project in the New River Gorge. Three Rivers Avian Center was asked to help and in 2008 Wendy was appointed as the New River Gorge National River’s Peregrine Falcon Restoration Project Coordinator. Young peregrines from nests with a history of nestling mortality due
to being in dangerous areas. In the course of the 6 year project 120 young peregrines were released, resulting in a slow but steady growth in the number of nesting peregrines in the Gorge and surrounding regions.

In 2010, the first nesting pair of Bald Eagles in Southern West Virginia was documented by Three Rivers Avian Center, and Wendy was asked by both the WV Department of Natural Resources and the New River Gorge National River to lead an ongoing volunteer effort
documenting the nesting pair’s success and other relevant actions.

Besides serving on the Friends of New River Gorge National River, she also serves on the Board of Directors for Visit Southern WV, a 9 county Convention and Visitor’s Bureau that
promotes tourism within those counties & the State.

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Beth Rose Fish

Beth is an American National & Farm Family insurance agency owner in Smithers, WV where she is also heavily involved in service to her community. Born and raised in Gauley Bridge, Beth has lived in Virginia and in Europe over the years but came back to the mountain state in 2009.

Having spent all of her summer vacations at Camp Brookside in Summers County as a child, Beth was overjoyed when the opportunity to join the FNRGNR Board of Directors arose and she was able to assist in the revitalization and reopening of her favorite childhood destination. After that project was completed, it was rewarding for her to get to work on many others with the group.

Beth also enjoys teaching Sunday School and Awana and serves on the board of directors of the Strategic Initiatives Council in Smithers/Montgomery. The SIC is dedicated to revitalizing the Upper Kanawha Valley in the wake of WVU’s departure and the impending closure of the local high school. She is also a member of the Gauley Bridge Elementary school PTO & serves on the board of directors of the Tech Golden Bears Alumni Association.

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Brian Campbell

Bio coming soon.

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Danielle Stewart

Bio coming soon.

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Wendy Bayes.

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Robin Hildebrand

Robin is the creator and Founder of Blue Smoke Salsa, a West Virginia product. Robin sold her Gourmet Company to a larger Food Company in 2012. Recognized in 2000 as WV's Entrepreneur of the Year and in 2004 as WV's Small Business Person of the Year, Robin is now Director of Sales for Adventures on the Gorge located on the rim of the Gorge at Lansing, West Virginia.

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