BHRF Board & Staff

Board of Directors


Sarah Ashworth - Chair

A native Virginian, retired business owner and country girl, Sarah relocated to Wise River in July 2016. The move was inspired by her numerous fly fishing trips to the area over the last several years. As she likes to say..."the peace and pace of the Big Hole Valley are divine. Coming from the East, I cannot emphasize enough the preciousness I feel for Nature's treasures here and I am committed to contribute in some small way to their healthy sustenance and protection."

Wade Fellin - Past Chair

Wade is a fifth generation Montanan deeply rooted in the Big Hole Valley where he and his father own and operate Big Hole Lodge. Wade holds a BS in Business Administration from Bucknell University and a J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law. In addition to guiding on the Big Hole, Wade is program director of Upper Missouri Waterkeeper, a water quality advocacy NGO based in SW Montana. 

John Carreon

John is Chief Advancement Officer for Make-A-Wish Foundation serving its mid-west chapter of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.  John lead The Big Hole River Foundation in a vision based process that assessed and provided an objective overview of BHRF’s current organizational readiness while helping us to define sustainable governance practices, operational practices, and alignment of our mission and vision with effective communication to our Big Hole community, donors and members.

Michael Cooperman

Michael holds a doctorate degree in fisheries science from Oregon State University and a MS degree in aquatic sciences from the University of Montana. He is affiliated faculty with U. Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station and the founder of PlusFish, an endeavor dedicated to research and engagement to protect aquatic biodiversity and human food security in the least developed nations of the tropics. He primarily resides in Vermont, but owns a cabin near Twin Bridges, MT.  

Tom Davis

Tom came to America from Scotland in 1963 and worked in Klamath Falls Oregon as a baker. Settling down in Portland he accepted a position with Reidel Environmental Cleanup Services where his interest in safety allowed him to earn degrees and certification in the safety arena. He and his wife Lynda currently own The Wise River Club in Wise River Montana where he is in constant contact with visitors from both near and far who have come to enjoy the fishing and scenic wonders of The Big Hole Valley.

Ron Fick - Treasurer/Secretary

Ron joined the board in November of 2015. He has fished the Big Hole since he was a teenager and thinks it is one of the most beautiful rivers he has ever fished. He has long believed all should be done to preserve it as a premier fishery and recognizes this takes work and dollars.

Hans Humbert

Hans is a rancher on the Big Hole between Wise River and Wisdom and is interested in agriculture, growth management, and serving as a liaison with people who are less familiar with the land use along the river. 

Sheila Youngblood

Sheila has served on the Board of Directors for over 20 years. Shelia is the editor of our newsletter and is a BHRF past-president. She grew up in Connecticut, taught in the Gifted and Talented program for the Butte School District, and consulted for the Office of Public Instruction in Helena.   

Jeff Raddon

Born and raised on the Wasatch Front just a few hours to the south, Jeff has fished the Big Hole and the surrounding rivers for more than 50 years. An Electrician by trade, Jeff has provided a helping hand to many around the Big Hole River Valley, lending his skills to people and properties alike. “Always leave things better than you find them,” is his motto. He enjoys giving back and helping to keep the Big Hole pristine so that he can bring his children and grandchildren here to enjoy it with him.

Jeff volunteers much of his time to assist the Foundation with collecting water and macroinvertebrate samples from April to September.

JM Peck

JM was born and raised along the Big Hole River on his family’s ranch near Melrose. He received a bachelor's degree in engineering from Montana State University and worked in both the energy and hi-tech industries. When  presented with an opportunity to move home and manage his family’s ranch, he took it. Today he manages the cow calf operations with his family, wife (Amanda) and son (Jude). JM works to continue the legacy of conservation and environmental stewardship built by his father and grandfather. 

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Brian Wheeler - Executive Director

Brian comes to us from the Community Support Center in Dillon, MT, where he has served in the roles of Executive Assistant and Development / Grant Writer.  He holds a BS in Anthropology. 

Brian and his wife Ande live in Dillon with their three dogs.  In addition to his work at the Community Support Center, he has worked as a fishing guide for many years for several area lodges and outfitters.  

Brian has a deep appreciation for freestone rivers and the mission of the Foundation.

He recognizes that the Big Hole River is the economic driver for ranching and recreation in a large swath of Beaverhead, Silver Bow, and Madison Counties in southwest Montana.

As such, water quality is a fundamental concern of every user of the resource and all associated local economies, because we all live downstream.


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We protect, conserve, and enhance the free-flowing Big Hole River and its unique culture, fisheries, and wildlife.

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The Big Hole River Foundation is a 501(C)(3) public charity.
Big Hole River Foundation
PO Box 176
Divide, Montana 59727