Meet our Board of Directors

About Our Board

The Creston Community Forest is governed by a Board of Directors that consists of ten members. There are five shareholder directors, and five community directors. The board’s job is to guide ongoing projects within the community forest, as well as decision making surrounding finance and business related concerns. The goal of the board is to provide a broad enough perspective to accurately represent Creston’s and it’s surrounding communities.

Our current shareholders are as follows:

Town of Creston

Regional District of Central Kootenay

Wildsight

Erickson Community Association

Trails for Creston Valley Society

John Chisamore 

Creston Community Forest Chairperson; Representative of the Regional District of Central Kootenay

John Chisamore moved to the Creston Valley in 1981 and taught at Prince Charles Secondary School from Feb 1981 to Jun 2006. John was president of the Creston Valley Teachers Association from 1995 to 2006.  John also was an Executive Member of the British Columbia Teachers Federation from Jul 1, 2001 to Jun 30, 2006. In his spare time, John has served for many years as Treasurer and an Executive member of the Creston Legion. In 2007 John was appointed a Community Director of the Creston Valley Forest entity.  In 2011 John was appointed Chairman and President of the Creston Valley Forest Corp.

Brian Churchill 

Creston Community Forest Secretary; Representative of Wildsight

Brian grew up in Cranbrook and was thrilled in 2011 to retire to the Kootenays and call Creston home. He has a MSc in Forestry Wildlife and had a career as a Wildlife Biologist for BC Government in Fort St. John followed by 15 years of consulting as an ungulate habitat specialist.  Brian “enjoyed” a prominent role in NE Coal and later led northern Land use plans with the government especially the creation of the special Muskwa-Kechika Management Area including Dune Za Keyih, Northern Rocky Mountains, Redfern Keily, Kakwa and Graham Laurier Provincial Parks. Brian served as Coordinator for the M-K board, Director for Y2Y and expert witness for BC Nature in the Northern Gateway Pipeline hearings. Enjoying the outdoors since a first experience as a child at West Creston fostered his passion for the environment, birds, river travel, fishing and hunting. He has been involved in conservation biology and wildlife research projects including swans, mountain goats, caribou, moose, elk, deer and grizzly bear. Brian is currently the President of Wildsight Creston Valley Branch.

Brad Rae

Representative of the Erickson Community Association

Brad was born in Vancouver and grew up at the foot of the North Shore Mountains.

He first arrived in the Kootenays in the late 1970’s as a forest fire fighter, based out of Kaslo. Brad has been with Fortis (and it’s predecessor companies, Inland Natural Gas and Columbia Natural Gas) for over 40 years, 25 years of which were in “One Man Towns” as an essential, emergency first responder. His career involved a 7 year stint in Northern BC, 2 years in Salmon Arm, 10 years in Fernie and Creston has been his home since 1998.

Brad enjoys skiing (downhill and cross country), hiking, snow shoeing and paddling in his kayaks. He has a total of 5 children and 3 grandkids (so far). Brad is the past Vice Chair of the Erickson Community Association and joined the Creston Valley Forest Corporation board in 2010. He sits on both the finance committee and the wildfire committee.

Ann Deatherage 

Ann is a retired mental health clinician who has lived in a log cabin in the forest on the North side of Goat Mountain since 1976.  She hikes daily with her dog up the mountain following old skid and game trails.  The forest is part of her daily life and she is proud to be a Director for the Creston Community Forest Corporation.  She is active in other community organizations being Chairman of Kootenay Employment Society, Vice Chairman of Footlighters Theatre Society and Secretary of the Kuskanook Harbour Society.  She served a ten year term as a Marriage Commissioner and she and her neighbor were the first female firefighters in the Valley back in the 1980’s.

Rebecca Gidney

Rebecca Gidney was born and raised in Canada’s ocean play ground, Nova Scotia and has called the Creston Valley home for the last 5 years.  Over the last 15 years she has worked and volunteered for non-profit organizations, ranging from environmental work in the oceans and rainforests of the Caribbean & Central America to social service work across Canada. Rebecca has a passion for forests and community, which inspired her to serve as a Community Director for the Creston Community Forest. Rebecca spends her free time hiking and exploring the Kootenay’s, painting and practicing yoga.

Gary Sommerfeld

Vice-Chairperson

Gary was born on April 6, 1949 at the Creston Hospital, right on his mother’s birthday. Gary lived on a farm south of Creston in a district called Lister and grew Alfalfa hay for market in the West Kootenays. His education started at the Lister school where he attended grades 1 to 5. After that the kids were bussed to P.C.S.S. High School for grades 6 to 12. During those teen years he played hockey and baseball and enjoyed hunting and fishing. His education continued at U.B.C. for four years studying Mechanical Engineering, Canadian Economics and Land Surveying. One interesting project that Gary helped on was the “Urban Car Project” to build a safe, low pollution and versatile vehicle for city driving. His team won first prize over hundreds of other competitors. Gary did not complete the Engineer program and studied auto and heavy duty mechanics which he worked at until retirement in 2008. Gary married Sonja Anderson and had two boys, Karl and Felton. Sonja died in 2004 at the hands of a drunk driver. As pass times, Gary coached hockey and baseball, built two houses and has served on the Creston Community Forest board since 1998.

Jim Elford

Representative of the Town of Creston

Jim and his family came to Creston 40 years ago to become a partner in a local Insurance Brokerage. Prior to moving to Creston, Jim was a Chief Underwriter with an international insurance company. After over 30 years with Herchmer Insurance, Jim sold the company and retired in 2010. While in business Jim served on the Board and Advisory Boards for 4 national and multinational companies. 

A volunteer firefighter for 21 years and an Auxiliary RCMP Constable for 10 years, Jim was honoured with the Citizen of the Year award in 1997. Jim also served on the Boards of Minor Hockey, the Creston Golf Club and the Creston Thunder Hockey Club. He enjoyed playing old timers hockey and in 1993 he chaired the Creston Valley Restructure Study.

Jim and his wife Teresa have been married for 47 years and have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. Besides enjoying their family, Jim and Teresa enjoy their time at the lake, golf and boating. They have visited 23 countries and enjoyed those travels.

Jerry Bauer

Jerry was born in 1946 in Ripley, Ohio and grew up on the banks of the Ohio River.  In 1969 he graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in Forest Management.    Jean and Jerry were married in 1968.  In 1970 they immigrated to Canada and Jerry worked for 3 years in The Pas, Manitoba with Churchill Forest Industry.  In 1973, they moved west and he spent 27 years with Canfor in Grande Prairie starting as a Divisional Forester and leaving as a GM in 2000.  After 15 years of consulting work including managing the Mountain Pine Beetle program for the County of Grande Prairie, they made their way to Creston in 2015. 

My early passion for skiing, cycling and travelling led to many adventures in Canada and abroad.  Now when not working on his acreage, you can find Jerry hiking across the Kootenays, trail building for the Creston Community Forest, playing pickle ball, boating on Kootenay Lake and occasionally playing golf.  Jean and Jerry have two sons, one in Calgary and one in New Jersey, and two granddaughters. 

Mark Saunders 

Representative of the Trails for Creston Valley Society

Mark Saunders sits on this board as a representative for the Trails for Creston Valley Society (TCVS). Mark and his wife, Sandee Greatrex, joined the TCVS in 2014 just after they settled in Creston. Mark had been a director of the TCVS for several years before accepting the Creston Valley Community Forest (CVCF) board position.

“I participate in CVCF board activities as a TCVS representative, and I am guided by TCVS core principals of promoting public access to local wilderness areas. I think it is important that there be public witness to the considerations of a community based, not-for-profit operation, which harvests from the forests in our Creston region.”

Linda Wallace

Linda comes to the Community Forest Board with a background in journalism and economic development. Born in Alberta, she and her husband followed one or the other of their careers to north, central and southern Alberta and to northeast BC before moving to Creston in 2015. They love the spirit and heart of small towns and were aiming for retirement in southeast BC when family needs drew them here a bit earlier than planned. Linda is currently involved in the Community Forest and Blossom Valley Singers, and also served on the Investment Committee of the Creston & District Investment Co-op.