Board of Directors
The Coalition of American Canyoneers has a nine-member board. Board members serve two-year terms, and elections are held for 4 or 5 Board positions each July. CAC held its first formal board election in July of 2012.
I started canyoneering when inserted at the top of a canyon by helicopter in the early 1970’s to search for a lost hiker. As a retired psychiatrist, I am able to experience canyons around the globe. I continue to participate in volunteer mountain search and rescue as a member of the Cave and Technical Rescue Team, adding to the technical aspect of the sport via backyard gear and technique testing.
Steve (Ram) Ramras
As a devoted parent of two skilled canyoneers, I am committed to conserving and protecting access to canyon country for future generations. My particular interest is in mainstreaming new “leave-no-trace” tools and techniques. I am very grateful for a life rich with friends and adventures and sees my efforts with CAC as a way to repay this good fortune via community service.
I live in Arizona and found my first technical canyon in 1998 while pushing a Grand Canyon route further than I probably should have. After 500 days below the rim finding slot canyons, an inevitable run in with the NPS convinced me that the Canyoneering community must be more proactive and involved if we’re to keep these places open.
Back in the early nineties, when peak-bagging in the Santa Catalinas of Arizona, a few friends and I began carrying ropes for retreat down rugged drainages. Little did we know this was something called “canyoneering”.
A move to Salt Lake City in 1995 led to my first real sampling of Colorado Plateau slot canyons and visiting them and others across the west has been a growing interest ever since. Although interested in all things canyoneering, I am particularly passionate about two of the CAC’s charter issues – access and conservation.
Childhood camping with my father: Shenandoah Valley, Smoky Mountains…rock and water, snakes and turtles, Ranger Rick magazine. All strengthened my passion for the outdoors and ultimately led to working with PMI. Living in Chattanooga, I squeezed in a B.A. in Mathematics between trips underground to the deep caves and pits in the area.
By 1998 I was working with Petzl America and when the company decided to move to Utah from Georgia, I got on board immediately. I had heard of mysterious desert drainways called slot canyons and by chance discovered Pine Creek Canyon in Zion. Having spotted it from the canyon overlook trail, we scurried down the slot to the first rappel and saw water pooled far below. Ooops, no wetsuits in the car. Four months later I returned to do Pine Creek and became thoroughly hooked on Zion’s twisty topography.
I’m looking forward to working with the CAC board and membership to help develop the organization into a lasting entity that will continue to serve the canyoneering community.
The Coalition of American Canyoneers is organized as
a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in the State of Arizona.
Growing up in Arizona, I fell in love with the outdoors early on and immediately learned the importance of promoting LNT ethics. I took up climbing in 1990. A few years later I discovered slot canyons and was immediately hooked. However, it took me two decades to discover technical canyoneering and that I could combine my rope skills with my love for slot canyons. This opened up a whole new world to explore, which I have done extensively in Arizona, Utah and Colorado.
This past January, I celebrated my 25th anniversary working for General Dynamics in Scottsdale, AZ as an engineering project manager. I have 3 daughters, one of which has also taken up the sport under my watchful eye. With the tremendous growth canyoneering has seen in the last five years, I realize the importance of the CAC and its ability to help protect this fragile environment and at the same time make sure we retain access to these unique and special places.
Growing up on a farm in South Dakota and from a very young age, I was instilled with a great work ethic and a sense of never giving up on things that are important. This lead to a successful business career. Recently elected as President of the CAC board, AI will have the ability to use the organization and communication skills from the corporate world to continue the efforts and successes of the organization. To be able to help the community of canyoneers is a way to thank those who helped me get into this great sport and environment.
Growing up in Northern Virginia I often retreated to the Shenandoah mountains to camp and hike with family and friends. This fueled an eventual move to Colorado in 2005 where my wife Julie and I would further our connection with the outdoors. We started out skiing and hiking, which lead to hiking the high peaks in Colorado. Seeking more seclusion and adventure we made a trip through Southern Utah in 2010. I remember walking through our first canyon – Surprise Canyon in Capital Reef NP – where we were immediately hooked. In 2011 we took a 1-day course so we could start exploring technical slot canyons. I’ve been regularly coming out to canyon country since then, enjoying the canyons and the remarkable people in the community.
Canyoneering has enriched our lives so much that I would like to give back to the community. I am most interested in preservation and conservation, as well as education of future and current participants on the ethics exemplified in canyoneering.
I’ve been wandering in the Utah and Arizona deserts since 1985. First, on Colorado River trips through the Grand Canyon and then exploring the canyonlands southern Utah. Fascinated by “what’s up there?”, I eventually found my way to technical canyoneering.
As the owner of a rafting company, I’ve been involved with land managers and rangers for the NPS, BLM, and USFS. Having seen river regulations imposed in a few areas without any public input, it’s clear that as canyoneering continues to grow access regulations will follow. It has happened in Zion and is in progress in the Grand Canyon, Arches and southern California. Most of my work with CAC is on the tech side – the website, editing, and creating graphics for presentations.