Guide and avalanche educator Will Mook of Victor has been hired as the executive director of AMPL, Advocates for Multi-Use of Public Lands, a regional organization dedicated to maintaining and protecting motorized and non-motorized recreational access.
Mook is the co-founder of The Mountain Riding Lab, a company that offers motorized avalanche courses in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, and he’s a member of the Teton County Idaho Search & Rescue team. He said he was alerted to the job opening by a contact at the snow safety company BCA, and felt that the position fell in line with his passions.
He’s wrapping up his summer as a fishing guide and plunging into the world of nonprofits later this month.
“I have a lot to learn, I’ve never worked for a nonprofit,” Mook said. “Fortunately I have a lot of really good mentors, including right here in my house—my wife has been a development director for nonprofits for years.”
Mook studied conservation biology at St. Lawrence University in New York and said he holds a deep respect for wildlife and the preservation of open spaces, but feels there is a need for balance so that everyone can recreate on public land.
“I think as Americans, one of our greatest accomplishments is the creation of public land,” he said. “There are so many different ways to recreate here, and I want to promote equal access for all.”
He plans to continue running The Mountain Riding Lab, and feels the two roles will complement each other. While he hasn’t started work at AMPL yet, he has a few projects in mind already.
One idea is to partner with Teton County, Wyoming Search & Rescue to install beacon checkers at trailheads that are seeing an increase in users, such as Mosquito Creek and North Fork Fall Creek. Another is to fundraise to plow the Phillips Ridge parking lot on Teton Pass in the winter. Currently snowmobilers who want to ride out to motorized-accessible areas north of Teton Pass have to park on a narrow pull-out below Phillips Ridge proper.
“Currently the access is pretty dangerous because it’s a hard place to merge onto the road,” Mook said. “I’m surprised there aren’t more accidents there.”
AMPL has long-term goals that have been in the works since its inception in 2017, including advocating for multi-use access in the Palisades range and participating in the Bridger Teton National Forest forest planning process.
“I’m looking forward to working with the public and community to see what their goals are and find creative ways to promote and achieve multi-use access,” Mook said.
AMPL is participating in Old Bill’s, the Jackson version of the Tin Cup Challenge. For more information visit teamampl.org.