Board and Staff


Gavin Ricklefs
Executive Director

Gavin has been with the Bitter Root Land Trust, in various capacities, since 2006 – initially, as a member of the Board, eventually taking the reigns as Executive Director in 2008.  Gavin is a graduate of Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA and earned his J.D. at the University of Montana School of Law.  Prior to beginning his conservation career at BRLT, Gavin practiced transactional law in Hamilton, Mont., focusing on real estate, water law, and estate planning.  A passion for cooperative, landowner-driven approaches to conservation, a fascination with the details of complex land transactions, and above all else a love for the Bitterroot Valley have been the forces driving Gavin’s work at the Bitter Root Land Trust.  Gavin and his wife, Stacy, are happy to be raising three young Montana natives - Andrew, Tatum, and Cate - in the quiet beauty of the Bitterroot.

Kyle Barber
Conservation Director

Kyle joined the Bitter Root Land Trust in May, 2010. He holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and a Master’s degree in Rangeland Conservation from the University of Montana. Kyle has a strong background in private land conservation and conservation easement stewardship, having worked with the Crested Butte Land Trust in Colorado and Gathering Waters Conservancy in Madison, Wisconsin. Prior to finding his way into private land conservation, Kyle worked on agricultural water issues in Nevada as a field organizer for political campaigns and a development officer for Wisconsin Public Television.

Emy Royce

Communications Director

Emy grew up in Southern California on the outskirts of the Mojave Desert. A trip to the Bitterroot Valley as a teenager inspired her move to Montana in 2006. Before she made her way to Montana, Emy earned her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, which compliments her role as Communications Director here at the land trust. Growing the Communications Program with data, compassion, and fun—through authentic community engagement—is one of her favorite parts of working in land conservation. She is always eager to hear how others fell in love with and found their way to the Treasure State.

Emy is a graduate of Leadership Montana and serves on the Montana Association of Land Trust’s Communicators’ Network. In her personal time, Emy loves to run backroads with the family labradoodle, and hike and camp with her husband and two young children. Whether she’s trying out a new recipe in the kitchen, or shuttling her kids across town, you can always find her enjoying her favorite music.



Grant Carlton
Land Protection Specialist

Grant joined the Bitter Root Land Trust in August of 2015.  He is a graduate of Clemson University and earned his J.D. at the University of Montana School of Law where he focused on environmental and natural resources law.  Prior to joining the BRLT team, Grant practiced property, real estate, and natural resources law in Jackson, Wyoming.  Grant’s transition to the conservation non-profit arena was a natural evolution as he possesses a passion for the preservation of Montana’s landscapes and ecosystems, as well as a desire to work towards preserving the state’s storied agricultural heritage.  Grant spends his free time backpacking, fishing, biking, and skiing deep powder in Montana’s endless backcountry. 


Lauren Rennaker 
Development Director

I joined the Bitter Root Land Trust team in late 2017. I graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning a B.A. in both International Studies and Spanish, traveling extensively internationally as much as time would allow. Growing up on a little piece of land, riding horses and fishing, my dream was to experience this on a grander scale. I found the Bitterroot Valley and fell in love with it’s vast natural wonders. I’ve spent the last 10 years devoted to local non-profit organizations developing programs and relationships that further land and wildlife conservation of this stunning place I’m honored to call home. I’m just as passionate about fly fishing, horseback riding, camping and working on a cattle ranch with my husband and my young twins, who are extremely fortunate to be fifth-generation Bitterrooters.


Kyle Anderson 
Stewardship Coordinator

Kyle A. joined BRLT as our Stewardship Coordinator in 2018.  He monitors conservation easements, provides property management resources to landowners, and manages BRLT’s owned properties.  After growing up in North Carolina's sprawling suburbs, Kyle focused his career on conserving America’s remaining open space.  His passion is to keep green spaces green, intact, and functioning.  Kyle graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before doing his master's research at Idaho State University, where he developed new technologies to monitor rangeland vegetation.  His work history includes forest preserve management for the University of Michigan, elk population research for Idaho Fish and Game, and timbering projects with the BLM.  He’s into in self-reliance and enjoying the outdoors, and settled in the Bitterroot for its pristine landscapes and wilderness access.