BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Brad Sparks was born and raised in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He began hunting while in college for whitetail deer and Eastern turkeys. This hobby became an addiction and changed his life forever. During some postgraduate work, Brad was able to do a rotation in Alaska at the Alaska Native Medical Center. After going on his first do-it-yourself hunt as a nonresident, he knew this would be his home someday. Once he completed his postgraduate education in 2008, the Alaskan dream became a reality for Dr. Sparks. Brad loves learning about and pursuing Alaskan big game in this amazing state. While not hunting several weeks a year, he enjoys photography, hiking, traveling, fishing, ATVs and snowmachines. As a founding member of RHAK, Brad wants to help restore the resident’s preference to our big game animals!
RHAK Vice President
Bob moved to Alaska in 1977 with his family and started college the same year in the University of Alaska system in Anchorage. He skinned his way through college working part time at a taxidermy shop while spending as many days as he could out enjoying hunting and fishing adventures while going to school. Graduating with a BS in biology from UAF he landed a dream job with ADF&G as a wildlife technician in the Anchorage office putting his biology degree to use in South Central Alaska where the first teeth he pulled were on Kodiak brown bears immobilized from the back of a Bell helicopter with a dart gun, flying numerous big game surveys including doing the age/sex composition surveys for sheep in GMU 14C. During this time the Federal/State split on how subsistence was going to be managed demoralized Bob and he left ADF&G for dental school, completing his postgraduate training at the University of Washington. After returning to Alaska from dental school, Bob and his wife Cynthia settled in the Valley and began to seriously enjoy the great outdoor experiences Alaska has to offer. They purchased the family Piper Cub from Cynthia’s father and still have it today, Bob having recently rebuilt it himself over six winters, giving reliable transportation to remote areas of Alaska that few people see.
Mark and his high-school sweetheart, Lori, married and made the big jump to Alaska from California in 1980. They arrived by canoe, descending the mighty Yukon River from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. They moved to the remote bush of the eastern interior the next summer, lining their laden canoe scores of miles up a Yukon River tributary and building their log cabin from dead-standing spruce with only an axe and bowsaw. The rugged bush life must have agreed with them, for they spent over 30 years in the remote bush more than one hundred miles from the nearest faraway village, living a subsistence lifestyle of hunting, fishing, trapping and gardening, and raising a family of three children and several generations of beloved sled dogs. Mark's time in the bush taught him a profound respect for the fish and wildlife resources he has been dependent upon for so long. He is passionate about giving back to Alaska and protecting hunting opportunities for resident Alaskans and their families. The Richards' now base out of Fairbanks for most of the year. Mark enjoys giving wilderness living presentations to high schools and helping with hunter education classes, along with promoting RHAK's message across the state.
Brian Watkins was raised in a hunting family in Pennsylvania. Hunting was ingrained into his family's heritage and he decided to take it one step further. Chasing the dream of hunting and fishing in North America's greatest state, Brian made the move to Alaska from Pennsylvania with a suitcase, bow, and a rifle. His passion is do-it-yourself hunts throughout the entire state, and his latest was a tough hunt on Raspberry Island for Roosevelt elk. As you can see from his bio picture, he was successful! Brian believes it’s important to give back to the state. He volunteers time and resources helping new hunters get started, advises fellow hunters on proper preparation, and believes wholeheartedly in continuing opportunities for future generations of Alaskans to hunt our vast state.
RHAK Board Member
Born in Montana and growing up in the rural mid west, Tyler Loken learned his carpentry trade and his love for the wild. Tyler came to Alaska at 19 and for almost 20 years has learned, enjoyed and respected Alaska’s wild. He sees high-dollar and look-at-me hunting eroding the true sense and responsibility that comes with hunting in our great state. “There is balance and room for all, but the Alaskans that live here, work here, pay taxes here, fill their freezers here, should not take second string to commercialized hunting.” Tyler enjoys spending time with his daughters and bowhunting. He serves on many building industry boards and committees and is a member of the Anchorage Fish & Game Advisory Committee.
RHAK Board Member
Adam Grenda was born and raised in northern Idaho and lived for hunting, fishing, and a life outdoors. At age 17 Adam got his Coast Guard six-pack license, and for the next several summers between college semesters he guided in Alaska as a fishing guide and then returned to Idaho in the fall to hunt and study. In 2009, he first stepped foot in a de Havilland Beaver. Adam then knew what he wanted to do for his career. He completed his private pilot license in less than a month, and moved on to get his instrument, commercial, flight instructor and float plane ratings. He began flying Beavers on floats for various fishing lodges for the next several summers, accumulating thousands of hours of flight time. Adam graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Recreation and met his wife, Tana, in Idaho in 2014, after she had also just returned from Alaska getting her air traffic control degree from UAA. After they got married, Adam and Tana moved to their dream location in King Salmon, Alaska, where he is a pilot for the federal government. They bought their dream airplane, a Piper Super Cub, to venture on all of their own dream hunts and adventures. Adam loves planning, researching and preparing for his hunts and looks forward to the logistical challenges that Alaska offers. At the 2018 Board of Game meeting in Dillingham he met Mark Richards from RHAK and began to see that residents do not have a priority in Alaska. Adam’s life revolves around hunting and he is passionate about resident hunting rights in the state he plans to reside in forever.
RHAK Board Member
In 1974 I was 11 years old when my Dad, sister and myself packed our bags and left California to move to Alaska. Most of our relatives thought Dad was crazy to move two young kids so far away from family and home, but for us, it was an adventure of a lifetime – and still is! As kids, dad drug us up and down every river or creek that crossed the road from Anchor Point to Fairbanks. The places we went, the things we saw and the fish we caught are as vivid in my memory today as they were the day we experienced them! 45 years have passed since those early days and a lot has changed. I’ve had the opportunity to hunt and fish in just about every region of the state. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the extraordinary! Alaska is still an amazing place that has plenty of surprises and opportunities for all residents to experience. The only requirement is the freedom to go and the willingness to see what’s over the next hill. Those hills will always be there but the freedoms and opportunities for residents are something that cannot be taken for granted and complacency must be overcome. Most of us are so busy working and raising families, that it’s easy to overlook or even realize that hunting opportunities for resident Alaskans are being slowly “shaved” away one small opportunity at a time. RHAK has become your voice – the voice of the working Alaskan who just want to take their family hunting and put some meat in the freezer. I’m proud to be part of such a group!
Outside of hunting and fishing, I make my living as a General Contractor. I’ve lived in Eagle River / Chugiak for 45 years and I’m married to my sheep hunting partner, Shelly – “The Toughest Chick I Know!” We’ve raised a “pile” of kids the last 30 years. Some like to hunt more than others, but one thing they all have in common with most kids today; there are a lot more distractions for them today than when we were young. But through all those distractions, I’ve never had a young person say, “no” when I’ve asked them if they wanted a plane ride, or to go hunting or fishing – they just need to be asked. Never quit asking!
RHAK Board Member
Colt Foster was born and raised in Wasilla, AK and has spent his entire life enjoying everything the outdoors has to offer. After finishing dental school in 2008 Colt returned to Alaska because of the amazing hunting and fishing opportunities he had grown up with. Seeing an increase in hunting pressure and in-the-field conflicts, Colt became involved with RHAK as a founding member with the hopes of preserving quality hunting opportunities for future generations of Alaskans. “I want to help give residents a voice going forward. I want my kids and their friends to have some of the same experiences I had growing up. Hunting adventures with my family in this great state shaped who I am today.”
RHAK Board Member
We’re not sure when my grandfather left Scotland, but he landed in Juneau in 1917. Over the generations our family has participated in mining, commercial fishing and construction but the one constant has been hunting and fishing. Growing up we gardened and fished the summer months, canned and hunted in the fall and lived off what we put away throughout the winter. I was taught to respect the ocean, streams and woods and creatures that live in them. To harvest what you need and use all that you harvest.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to hunt and fish most Alaska’s varied geographic regions from the western Brooks to the south tip of Prince of Wales. The range of emotions one can experience are as vast as the land we live in. The satisfaction of witnessing your values and love for the outdoors come to life in your children, and soon, grandchildren. These are the experiences that should be made available to those who choose to live and work here first, rather than sold off to the highest bidder.
Alaska in a national treasure, a beautiful place steeped in opportunity and tradition. The appeal to the traveling sportsman is 100% natural and to be expected. The desires of Outside hunters and anglers, along with the industries that facilities them, should never be allowed to supersede the wishes and needs of those us who have chosen to live here. I hope my unique perspective and experiences can help RHAK restore and protect what we all hold so dear.
Former RHAK Board Members
Founding Member Tom Lamal
Founding Member J.R. Gates
Founding Member Rob Stone
Founding Member Doug Malone