Park County Environmental Council

Our Mission

PCEC works to safeguard the land, water, wildlife and rural character of Yellowstone’s Northern Gateway through a community-based advocacy network.

Our Values

  • Representing an honest, local perspective on a range of environmental issues.

  • Finding creative solutions to controversial problems.

  • Empowering Park County citizens to engage in conservation issues, including land-use and development decisions.

    Read our full Strategic Plan here.


In 1987 a group of Park County residents came together as an informal group, Crazy Paradise (an amalgam of Crazy Mountains and Paradise Valley). Their efforts focused on advocating for, and celebrating wild places and wilderness in Park County.

Crazy Paradise became Park County Environmental Council (PCEC) in 1989 and was officially recognized and granted nonprofit status in 1990. Through the intervening three decades PCEC has remained true to its original mission, put forth in the articles of incorporation, “to protect the quality of life in Park County; to promote development of a sound land-use plan for Park County; to promote protection of wildlands in the Park County area; to protect our air, water and wildlife; to inform the public of benefits that result from environmental protection.”

In our time PCEC has taken on some of the most pressing issues facing Park County. We were the first to get recycling started, with the Trash for Trees program, as well as initiating electronic waste recycling; we pressed long and hard for the cleanup of the Livingston BNSF railyard state superfund site, and served as the community liaison with Montana DEQ during the cleanup effort; we’ve taken on land use planning several times through the years, advocating for a sound growth policy and thoughtful development; we challenged and succeeded in deferring BLM oil and gas leases next door to Livingston; and most recently helped protect 30,370 acres of public land from industrial scale gold mining with the passage of the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act.


“PCEC is the most effective grassroots conservation organization in the state, hands down. PCEC works closely with community members to craft working solutions to thorny problems with a focus on safeguarding Park County’s clean water, air and unmatched wildlife habitat- all of which underpin Park County’s economy and unique way of life.”

- Tim Stevens, Kendeda Fund


Our People

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Michelle Uberuaga

Executive Director

Michelle moved to Montana to work on a research crew in Yellowstone National Park. She now lives in Livingston and works as a community organizer, mother and an environmental attorney. She grew up in Mount Rainier National Park where she learned that children should be allowed limitless opportunities to wander aimlessly in the woods.

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Erica Lighthiser

Program Director

Erica is a research scientist, mama, wife, adventure cyclist, hiker, skier, lover of local food, tiny houses, large open spaces and most things wild and outdoors. She loves her big life in this windy little town and is inspired to protect Park County’s rugged landscape, wildlife, fresh waters, and the people that enjoy them.

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Max Hjortsberg

Conservation Director

Max grew up in Paradise Valley and has called Park County home for most of his life. He currently lives in Livingston with his family. He is an avid angler and enjoys spending much of his time outdoors in the mountains or on the river. Max is passionate about protecting the environment and carrying out conservation minded projects that benefit everyone who calls Park County home.

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Colleen Ferris

Community & Partnerships Manager

Colleen grew up on the brackish rivers of the Chesapeake Bay outside of Annapolis, Maryland. After earning a degree in Ecology from the University of Montana, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. Interested in social ecology, wild lands, and community-based conservation, Colleen has previously worked as a scientific diver, field biology technician, and naturalist. A firm believer in community service, Colleen serves on both Park and Gallatin Co. Search and Rescue teams.

Being outside in all elements fuels Colleen, but would probably pick alpine lake-jumping as her favorite adventure pass time. Colleen resides in Livingston with her dog, Al.

Board of Directors

Nelson King


Nelson has been a writer and journalist for over twenty-five years, most of that time following the ups and down of science and technology in columns, blogs, articles and books. Meanwhile he developed software for state environmental laboratories. Prior to that, twenty years were more than occupied by professional theater.

Wendy Riley

Vice President

Wendy wishes she had been born in Montana but is grateful she discovered this beautiful place with time to enjoy it and help make a difference to preserve it for generations to come. She most recently co-led the effort to prevent an asphalt plant and gravel pit from being built and operated south of Emigrant, along the gateway to Yellowstone Park. Wendy brings to PCEC 25+ years of experience in human resource management and organizational development and has a M.A. in Organizational Leadership. She has been with a variety of companies and industries, both for- and not-for-profit, and currently works for Microsoft Corporation where she manages global change initiatives and helps improve leadership team effectiveness. Wendy and her husband have resided in Paradise Valley full-time since 2014, after purchasing their property in 2001, and enjoy traveling, camping, fly-fishing, skiing, and hiking.

Lucinda Reinold


Lucinda has long been a supporter of conservation and environmental causes and is passionate about working to help preserve the land, water, wildlife and rural character of Park County. She moved to Paradise Valley after a career with Northern Trust in San Francisco, CA where she most recently managed the Wealth Advisory function. Over the course of 25-plus years, Lucinda has served on numerous not-for-profit boards, including the University of California Press Foundation, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Oxbow School and the Capp Street Project. She currently sits on the Greater Yellowstone Coalition board in addition to the PCEC board.

Seabring Davis


Seabring Davis is a lifestyle journalist who writes about what she loves: food, art, travel and interesting people. Originally from Hawaii, a road trip brought her through Bozeman in 1990 and Montana has been home ever since.
She is the former editor in chief of Big Sky Journal and editor emeritus of Western Art & Architecture magazines. Her articles have been published in Mountain Living; True West Magazine; VIA AAA Mountainwest; Postcards; Montana Quarterly; Montana Living. She is the author of two cookbooks, A Taste of Montana: Favorite Recipes from Big Sky Country and A Montana Table, Recipes from Chico Hot Springs Resort. She has also written and edited three other books on regional travel and architecture. Her first short story was published in Elk River Books Reader (Bangtail Press 2013).

Tom Murphy

Board Member

Tom Murphy uses his photography to illustrate his passion for the remaining wild places on our earth. Yellowstone National Park’s wildlife and landscapes are the special focus of Tom’s work. A talented naturalist and gifted lecturer, Tom has traveled the United States presenting the wonders of nature captured in his photographic slide shows. Tom has been a member of the PCEC board for over two decades, and his photography is featured throughout our website.

Dan Sullivan

Board Member

Dan and his family have been living and working in Park Co for twenty years. They own Mustang Fresh Food on Main St in Livingston. They live here to experience the real natural world, one like no other. Dan is a fierce advocate for wild things and places. He has been a voice for the Grizzly bear since the day they met nearly 40 years ago in the backcountry near Glacier National Park and many times since in Yellowstone. He also counts amount his friends here old folks, children and their pets.

Joseph Dorn

Board Member

Joe Dorn comes to the Board with over 40 years of experience as a lawyer in Washington, DC.  From 1994 until his retirement in early 2016, Joe was a partner with King & Spalding, where he specialized in international trade disputes and other complex litigation.

Joe has been coming to Park County since the 1980s to fish and hike and escape the stress of working in the nation’s capital. He acquired land in Paradise Valley in 2008 and built a house in 2010 that faces Emigrant Peak. In retirement, Joe spends much of the year fishing, hiking, skiing, and enjoying the people and wildlife of Park County. He greatly appreciates and wants to conserve all of the natural beauty that this special place has to offer.

Joe serves on the Boards of the University of North Carolina Arts and Sciences Foundation and the Georgia Tennis Foundation, and he supports several environmental organizations in Montana and elsewhere.