Meet the Board

The Friends of Michaux State Forest is led by a nine-member elected board that includes four elected officers and the District Forester as a non-voting member. Board members serve a term of three years and officers are elected annually. We are always looking for new leadership. Contact the board at

Claire Jantz, Chair – Claire is a professor of geography at Shippensburg University and the director of SU’s Center for Land Use and Sustainability. She has a strong interest professionally and personally in natural resource conservation and planning. As a Shippensburg resident, she spends a lot of time in the central part of Michaux State Forest, hiking, mountain biking, and paddling.

Jon Cox, Vice Chair – Jon grew up in Wellsboro, PA, where he learned to appreciate the outdoors, including hunting, fly-fishing and hiking in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. Jon went to Dickinson College, where he was an Environmental Science and Geology double major, and where he first encountered and grew to love the Michaux as a board member and then president of the Dickinson College Outing Club. After College, Jon worked for the US Geological Survey in Golden, CO, doing primarily GIS work. In 2003, Jon and his wife Karen moved back to Carlisle so that Jon could attend law school. He currently practices law for Eckert Seamans in Harrisburg as a public finance lawyer. Jon has served on the boards of the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation and the Carlisle Family YMCA. Jon is an active mountain biker and supporter of youth cycling, including as a coach of the Carlisle Area Composite Racing team.

John Wah, Secretary – John is a soil scientist specializing in soils in archaeology, with a particular interest in the soils, landscapes, and geology of Michaux and South Mountain and the interaction of people and these natural resources in the past. He is most familiar with the central part of Michaux from Pine Grove Furnace to the town of South Mountain but has recently been spending more time at the south end of the Forest around Maria Furnace. He appreciates the recreational and educational opportunities that Michaux offers, and regularly takes students to the State Forest for practical learning. He also takes his dogs hiking on little used trails whenever he can.

David Trone, Treasurer – David has lived his entire adult life only a short distance from Michaux State Forest (MSF). Years ago, he and his young family started hiking, swimming, and exploring in MSF. This peaked his interest in the Appalachian Trail (AT) and he started volunteering with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) North Chapter, which maintains the AT from the PA-MD line to Pine Grove Furnace State Park. He has been an AT Overseer for over 20 years on the section from Big Flat to Milesburn Cabin, plus the Birch Run Shelter. Since 2001, he has served as the PATC North Chapter Treasurer. David is a recently retired Controller where he was responsible for accounting, computer, telephone, and payroll systems.

Tawnya Finney – Tawnya is an accomplished educator with 20+ years of experience instructing and cultivating lifelong learning with today’s youth. She has focused on experiential education through training from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Trail to Every Classroom, and she is National Geographic Teacher Certified. As a volunteer with the PATC for many years, she is the Tumbling Run Shelter caretaker, a trail maintainer on the Tuscarora Trail, and a hike leader for PATC and the Greater Waynesboro AT Community. She is in the Michaux State Forest almost every day.

Chris Firme – Chris has an impressive record of public service and volunteerism. He has volunteered with the PATC since the mid-1980s and has held a number of leadership roles with that group. He served as a Washington Township Supervisor and currently serves on the Washington Township Planning Commission. He is an inaugural board member for the Antietam Watershed Association. At the state level, Chris serves on the Pennsylvania A.T. Advisory Committee and the Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee. Chris holds a BS in both Wildlife/Fisheries and Biology (Plants) from Frostburg State University, and spent 30+ years with the Maryland Department of Agriculture-Forest Pest Management section.

Jennifer Henry – Jen and her family have lived just a short walk from the Michaux State Forest boundary for over 10 years and they love running, biking, hiking, paddling, and bird watching. Jen is interested in reconnecting folks with the forest, providing them with opportunities to explore and learn about the resources of MSF. She is probably most well known in the MSF community as the organizer for the famous Buck Ridge Burn.

Donald Horn – The Michaux has been a part of Don’s life since childhood. The Gardners tree farm he grew up on adjoined the Michaux State Forest. His father taught him the importance of nature and that it is our responsibility to preserve God’s creation. He graduated from the Cumberland County Conservation School, worked for the Youth Conservation Corp, served on the board of the Scott Eckert Memorial Conservation Scholarship Foundation, and on the Mount Holly Springs Park and Recreation Board. During the past several years, he has donated many hours to DCNR cleaning trails, and recently painting signs. Serving as a Firefighter/EMT for over 20 years, he was trained in wilderness first aid and wildfire suppression.

Donald Lehigh – Don has been interested in outdoor activity since he was 3 or 4 years old. Somewhere in the 1980s he learned that Michaux existed and was a state forest where one could wander around. He proceeded to get lost while wandering, and learned how to use the public use map and a compass to get found. He went hunting a LOT but has taken only a very few deer. He introduced a number of friends to Michaux, who promptly went hunting without him and were singularly successful. He has been involved as a volunteer on the target range, which includes “marketing” to shooters who show up and have lots of stories to tell other shooters.  He is strongly motivated to learn more about forests and forestry in general and Michaux in particular, and pass that knowledge on to others. 

Travis Pugh – Travis has spent most of his life working and recreating in the Michaux State Forest. His family owns a private cabin near Camp Michaux in Cumberland County and he is a member of a State Forest lease hunting cabin in Franklin County. He is a graduate of the Penn State Mont Alto forestry program and entered state employment in 1996 as a Forest Fire Lookout assigned to the Snowy Mountain fire tower outside of South Mountain, PA. He has been an active Forest Fire Warden for 20 years and a law enforcement officer for 22 years, and currently serves as the agency’s Enforcement Division Chief in the Game Commission’s Bureau of Wildlife Protection. He continues to be involved locally in both the Michaux and Buchanan state forests as a DCNR Conservation Volunteer, mostly helping in the areas of fire management, law enforcement and trash clean-up.He is a member of the Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chief’s Association, Conservation Officers of Pennsylvania Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Pennsylvania Forestry Association, and the St. Thomas Sportsman’s Association.

Dee Utz – Dee graduated from Millersville University with a degree in Special Education, however found her true passion to be in the field of EMS.  She has worked and volunteered with several agencies in Lancaster County, leaving her position of paramedic with Wellspan Ephrata Community Hospital after 28 rewarding years of service.  She is an EMS educator, licensed HAM radio operator and a member of Middle Creek Search and Rescue.  Now in semi-retirement she finds more time to focus on her love for the trail.  She serves as President of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, North Chapter, whose overseers maintain the AT and many of the side trails within the Michaux State Forest.  She owns a cabin in Michaux and is vested to see the forest remain strong and healthy for all those who visit.

Charlie Van Auken​ – Charlie has been involved with horses for over 50 years owning one or several throughout those years, and his passion is trail riding – he has hiked and ridden trails throughout this country and state. He has been a member of Bonny Brook Riding Club, and became involved with the Pennsylvania Equine Council, where he is currently in his fourth term as a board member.

Roy Brubaker – Roy is the district forester for the Bureau of Forestry’s District 1, the 85,000 acre Michaux State Forest. As district forester, Roy oversees management and operations of the Michaux State Forest. Prior to moving to the Michaux, Roy worked out of the Bureau of Forestry’s central office in Harrisburg as part of the Planning and Ecological Services Section, focusing on state-wide forest management policy and planning issues.