Chris Knopf

Executive Director

For more than 25 years, Chris has worked to protect, preserve, and restore our wild places. Prior to joining the Friends, Chris was a practicing environmental attorney, served as the Ohio Office Director for The Trust for Public Land, and worked as a major gifts officer with the Indian Land Tenure Foundation. He has deep love for the outdoors and enjoys hiking, kayaking, canoeing, biking, backpacking, and photography. Email Chris.

Tonia Kittelson

Northern Communities Director

Tonia has spent her life protecting waters, woods, wildlife and prairies through education, collaborative projects, and community engagement. She knows the Boundary Waters well from leading month-long wilderness expeditions with Voyageur Outward Bound School and has a background in natural resource management, conflict resolution, environmental education, and outdoor recreation. With over 900 days afield (over half of these in the BWCAW) she brings a broad perspective to effectively managing natural resources and human demands. Email Tonia.

Rachel Wagner

Operations and Outreach Coordinator

Rachel enjoyed her first trip to the BWCAW on her honeymoon and couldn’t believe such a treasure was situated right in her home state! Ecological justice and climate change have been issues dear to her heart since studying Global Studies at Concordia College and traveling abroad in India. At home, Rachel enjoys gardening with her husband, knitting/crocheting, and hiking. Email Rachel.

Kara Josephson

Government Relations Manager

Having worked for seven years at the Minnesota Senate and more recently as the legislative coordinator for the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, Kara is excited to combine her government experience with her love of the outdoors to help advocate for and protect our beautiful BWCAW. In addition to attending law school part time at Mitchell Hamline, she enjoys camping, hiking, spending time on and near water, and listening to live music.

Lauren Mitchell

Program Coordinator/Administrative Assistant

Lauren is passionate about protecting wildlife, wild places, and advocating for environmental justice. In addition to working with the Friends, she is pursuing her Master’s with Oregon State University. In her free time, Lauren loves to travel and camp with her two dogs, play golf, and is a proud member of the St. Croix Valley Bird Club.

David Gonnerman

Communications Consultant

David spent most of his communications career in higher education and is now glad to help promote and protect one of this nation’s most beautiful areas as part of the Friends team. He has fond childhood memories of camping in northern Minnesota, and more recent memories from his family’s cabin at Beaver Bay on the North Shore. Long ago he even spent a summer working at the Lake Superior Trading Post in Grand Marais.  Email David.