President: Abbie Burke
Abbie is currently the morning anchor for FOX21 Morning News weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. While getting out of bed at 2 a.m. is sometimes difficult she loves helping southern Colorado start the day off with a smile and all the latest news and information. Originally from Pennsylvania, Abbie has lived in Colorado Springs since 2008 and quickly adapted to mountain living. She loves to hike and discovered her love for Colorado’s State Parks during her time with Colorado Parks and Wildlife serving as the Public Information Officer for the southeast region. Abbie joined the Friend’s Board after returning to work in the news and loves being able to continue to play a role in preserving and protecting some of Colorado’s greatest assets like Cheyenne Mountain State Park.
Vice President, Past President: Pat Cooper
Pat retired from Banking after working in the field for 28 years: she was an Agriculture Banker for 12 years and then moved into residential Mortgage lending for 16 years. She was raised on a Ranch in Northern NM and is a graduate of NMSU. After retiring, she finally had the opportunity to pursue her passion for the outdoors and since has been an active Volunteer at CMSP. Her primary activities in the Park are Native Plants, Bird/Raptor Monitoring and the History Committee. Pat is an avid hiker and has been fortunate to explore many of the local trails.
Secretary: Lori O’Hare
Lori is a retired School Psychologist who began volunteering for State Parks in 1998 at Castlewood Canyon State Park. When CMSP was on the drawing board, she and her husband Jerry helped start the Friends of Cheyenne Mountain State Park in 2002. It was exciting to see the park built from the ground up. After serving as the Secretary for many years, she became Vice President in 2011. She enjoys doing special events and trail hosting at the park.
Treasurer: David Barcus
David and his wife moved to Colorado Springs just about 9 years ago. Prior to moving to Colorado, David worked as an Office Manager for a large non-profit organization. He currently works as an Accounting Technician for Harrison School District 2 here in town. He and his wife enjoy hiking and camping in the beautiful state of Colorado with their two dogs – Charlie, a black Labrador retriever and Daisy, a rat terrier.
Past President: Jack Busher
Jack is a retired teacher who spent 41 years in the education profession, the last 33 years in the Cheyenne Mountain School District as an English and Video Production instructor. Jack came to Colorado in 1972 from the Cleveland, Ohio area. He enjoys hiking, biking, backpacking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Realizing that the trails he was enjoying needed someone to take care of them, he volunteered with several organizations including the Volunteer Conservation Corps, The National Forest Service and the National Park Service. Upon retiring from teaching in 2006, Jack took advantage of the newly opened CMSP as a place to continue his passion for trail work. Initially “just another volunteer,” he joined the Friends of Cheyenne Mountain, became a board member, and has been president of the organization since 2011. He coordinates the park’s trail volunteers, and recently began a series of sawyer training classes so he can work with the newly organized Fire Mitigation Program at the park. Jack is also a member of the park’s History Committee. Another project was the writing and editing of the Park’s Trail Guide, which is a source of revenue for the Friends.
Membership: Ralph Cadwallader
Ralph retired from Evans Army Community Hospital, Fort Carson in 1995. After 4 years working at Hospitals in Denver he began his second career as a Director, Material Services Consulting, Carefusion Corporation, San Diego, CA, retiring from that career in 2012. Living “next door to Cheyenne Mountain State Park” Ralph immediately began his volunteering at Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Ralph’s love of the outdoors and his past trail running experiences caused him to begin volunteering as a trail dog maintaining and building trails within the park as well as other parks in Colorado. His interest in fire mitigation caused him volunteer for the park sponsored 2013 sawyer training resulting in becoming a certified sawyer. He now is the crew leader on the very active fuel/fire mitigation crew, actively creating fire breaks with in the park and maintaining past mitigated areas. Ralph has been selected as “Volunteer of the Year” both in 2013 and 2014.
Grant Administrator: Jean Danforth
Jean is a retired basic science research laboratory manager. A Michigan native, she got her degrees from Eastern Michigan University in molecular biology. She spent 9 wonderful years at University of Michigan in medical research and then, when her husband took a job in the South, found a position at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah doing microbiological research. This was a totally different setting but equally fascinating work for another 9 years. On a cross country RV trip across the US in 2009 she stayed at numerous state parks and saw how much help the state parks needed and how valuable volunteers were to the state park systems. Upon moving to Colorado Springs in 2011 she started volunteering at CMSP in 2012 doing ‘regular’ volunteer work; helping with programs, staffing the gate and doing whatever necessary to help the park. Now she continues those activities as well as doing customer support at the Visitor Center and serving on the Board of the Friends where she was Newsletter Editor and currently taken on the Grants Administrator position as well as other communications. “When I enter a state or national park I can feel the calm, the peace of nature revive and renew my spirit.”
Board Member: Warren Pierce
Warren is a retired Air Force officer and pilot. After retiring he flew commercially, both domestic and internationally, for fifteen years. After retiring from flying he worked for REI for ten years. He is a volunteer trail crew and fire mitigation crew member at Cheyenne Mountain State Park. He also volunteers at Garden Of The Gods and does trail work for Blodgett Open Space. Additionally he is a Trail Crew Leader for The National Smokejumper Association.
Board Member: Jennifer Palmes
Jennifer is currently taking a sabbatical from a 20 year career in corporate business working for Hewlett-Packard in various leadership roles, most recently as a Director of Global Programs. Before getting into the high-tech industry she was a High School History/Geography Teacher in the International Baccalaureate Program and she coached sports. A Colorado native, she grew up loving nature and the outdoors and during her time off she enjoys traveling, camping, hiking and leading electric bike tours through Garden of the Gods. Jennifer is a former CMSP volunteer, was a member of the history committee, led interpretative hikes in the park and taught boater safety classes to the public.