Here are the folks who are responsible for the big-picture issues facing RMOWP, as well as the folks who take care of the day-to-day details. The term expiration is in parenthesis and occurs at that year’s general membership meeting during the annual conference, when newly elected officers and directors are announced.
President, Virginia Parker Staat, The Woodlands, TX (2019-23)
Virginia is an accomplished freelance writer and lecturer, artist and photographer, with a passion for nature photography and writing. She travels the country with her husband David to take photos and gather fodder for her writing. Virginia joined RMOWP in 2012 and writes a regular column for our newsletter.
Vice-President: Linda Haehnle, Aurora, CO (2019-23)
Linda attended RMOWP’s Photo Workshop in 2012, and has become increasingly active in the organization ever since.
Secretary, Diane McKinley, Bryn Mawr, PA (since 2012)
Originally a Los Angeles, California native, I quickly decided to leave the smog and congestion – which was prompted by the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. Living and traveling from state to state, I landed in the State of Arizona for 33 years. Twelve years ago, I retired from the Parker Unified School District, located in Parker, Arizona and moved to Pennsylvania. My extra -curricular activities, in Arizona, were wrapped around the 4-H organization where I served as a leader for 33 years and ran my own graphic design business. My resume now reads that I have served on many boards as president, vice president, newsletter editor and co-editor, program chairman and secretary.
I work full time as Online Project Director for Expedition Self, a subsidiary of QGroup, Inc. My interests include photography and post-processing software, travel of all types, playing the drums, and spending time with family and friends.
Treasurer, Maryann Gaug, Silverthorne, CO (since 2014)
A native of Denver, Colorado, Maryann didn’t really start hiking in earnest until college. She earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Gonzaga University and a M.S. in Computer Science from University of Colorado Boulder. After joining the Colorado Mountain Club and Rocky Flats Mountaineering Group, Maryann spent more time in her beloved mountains hiking, backpacking, backcountry skiing, and exploring. She worked in computer programming and systems management for 20 years. After joining RMOWP and discovering that a guide book publisher was looking for someone to author a Colorado hiking guide, she jumped on the opportunity. Writing the guidebook included not only hiking the trails, but drawing the maps (later simplified by using a GPS), taking photos, and doing the research for area information and all the details of finding the trailhead, and the left and right turns and vistas along the trails. Her Falcon guides include Hiking Colorado (three editions), Hiking Colorado’s Summit County Area, Best Hikes near Denver and Boulder, Best Easy Day Hikes Vail, and Best Hikes near Breckenridge and Vail. Maryann’s interests include hiking, camping, skiing, writing, photography, and the Colorado Rockies.
Immediate Past-President, Kent Taylor, Richardson, TX (2019-23)
Originally from Southern Illinois, Kent currently lives with his wife Laura in Richardson, Texas, north of Dallas. They have two children, Kelsey (married) and Kyle (junior in high school). For the past 20+ years, Kent has worked as a hospital chaplain. He loves nature photography, road trips, building projects, and watching son Kyle play baseball.
Kit Horton, Boulder, CO (2022)
Kit is an author, photographer, and website designer, with interests in business and technical writing, computers, photography, and e-learning. She has taught e-learning workshops all over the world; co-authored a best-selling book with her husband; illustrated, edited, and produced camera-ready copy for ten books; and presented several craft improvement workshops at RMOWP conferences since joining the group in 2014.
Barb Laine, El Prado, NM (2022)
After growing up in New Jersey and getting a B.A. in music, Barb married her best friend Don and moved to Taos, NM. They love travelling around the West in their motorhome, and have written several travel guides to the four corner states, plus numerous national parks. Additionally, Barb is a draftsman (land surveying) and musician (voice & flute), and loves to cook, read, and watch old movies.
Peter Kummerfeldt, Colorado Springs, CO (2023)
An American authority on outdoor safety and survival, Peter gave an entertaining and informative workshop on the subject at RMOWP’s 2018 conference in Alamosa, Colorado. He also writes a column for our newsletter, relating more helpful nuggets on how to survive in the wilds, and even close to home when the unexpected happens. Peter enjoys traveling with wife Mary, and photographing new and different subjects wherever he finds them. He’s been a member of RMOWP since 2011.
David Staat, The Woodlands, TX (2023)
An active member of RMOWP since joining in 2012, David is tireless in helping wherever needed at conferences – hanging black plastic over large windows with great panache. He co-judges the humorous photo challenge, and has helped raise funds for the organization as our auctioneer – a highlight of the final day of conference for many years. As a budding photographer, David loves to travel with his wife, Virginia, generally heading north from their Texas home in summer to find cooler temperatures. Favored destinations often include traversing rough roads in search of wild horses and wilder scenery.
Ron Belak, Kittredge, CO (2024)
Longtime member (since 1996) Ron Belak is a freelance writer and photographer with interests in fly fishing, backpacking, hiking, and skiing. He’s published numerous articles on outdoor sports in such magazines as Colorado Outdoors, Fly Fisherman, American Angler, and Colorado Expression. Ron’s book Fly Fishing Colorado’s Backcountry took RMOWP’s Best of Show Writing award in 2019, and he recently (2021) brought out a second book: The Fishing Guide to 800 High Lakes in Colorado.
Joanna Gray, West Frankfurt, IL (2024)
A freelance writer and photographer, Joanna joined RMOWP in 2016. Her interests include bird and wildlife photography, and photographing musical performances. Her images have garnered awards in local art and photography competitions; regional magazines have published her articles on health, music, and business. Joanna’s has been a marketing communications writer since 1981.
Executive Director, newsletter editor, conference chair, Don Laine, El Prado, NM
A native of Long Island, NY, Don escaped the East Coast for the mountains of northern New Mexico in 1970, fresh out of college with a degree in psychology. He spent over 20 years in radio and newspaper journalism before turning to travel writing and photography. Don and wife Barb have authored numerous travel guides, including Frommer’s National Parks of the American West, Best Short Hikes in Arizona, New Mexico & Arizona State Parks, and Little-Known Southwest. His interests include hiking, RV camping, photography, wildlife viewing, classic cars, old movies, and real beer.