Board Members

Rick Just

Rick Just worked for the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation for 29 years, about half as communications manager for the agency and half as chief of planning. He has served on boards for the Learning Lab of Boise, ANSER Charter School, the National Association of Recreation Resource Planners, the Presto Preservation Association, the Idaho Writers Guild, and the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals.  He has written several books, and served as the editor of the 100 Years: Idaho and its Parks, the centennial history of the state park system in Idaho. 


Christine Gertschen


Christine Certschen has long been involved as a natural resources educator and scholarly writer. She has served on the board of the Ketchum-Sun Valley Ski and Heritage Museum, been the director of the Idaho State University Blaine County Center, was president and executive secretary of the Idaho Environmental Education Association, and was the founding director of the Sawtooth Science Institute. She was a collaborator and steering committee member in the founding of the Master Naturalist program through the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Chris, who lives in Hagerman, has a BA in English from California State College, Long Beach, a secondary teaching certificate from the College of Idaho, and an MS in Natural History from Boise State University.

David Ricks

A native Idahoan, and after a hitch in the Navy, I graduated from Boise State University where I majored in accounting.  I started my career as a staff accountant with the Department of Health and Welfare and worked my way up to being the Budget Director for the Department.  I went on to the Division of Veterans Services as the Controller/Assistant Administrator and eventual became the Administrator at the Veterans Home in Boise.  During that time I also served as Interim Director at State Hospital North in Orofino, and was part of the team that built two additional veterans homes in Pocatello and Lewiston. Along the way I also served as Cub-master for a pack in Meridian where we had over 100 scouts.  Pinewood Derby was quite a production. After 30 years at the Department of Health and Welfare, I joined the team at the Department of Parks and Recreation where among other things was the Interim Director and last served as the Deputy Director for the Department. A big part of those 7 years was working to get funded, appropriated, and implementing the largest construction budget the Department ever had where we upgraded restrooms, water/sewer/electrical systems, along with creating a few new campgrounds and visitor centers like the one at Ponderosa State Park. My wife, Denise, and I have 3 boys - all employed and living their lives in Boise, Palo Alto, and Seattle/Alaska.  We enjoy camping and exploring Idaho by foot, by boat, and on our ATVs. As we do this, I'm often heard saying "it doesn't get any better than this"! My goal is to help make Idaho's State Parks be the best they can be.

Dennis McLane
Vice President

Dennis McLane is retired from the Bureau of Land Management. He has a BS degree in Park and Recreation Management from Sacramento State University. He started his career with Sacramento County Parks and then was hired as a California State Park Ranger with assignments in the redwood parks, the Mendocino coastal parks, Topanga State Park, and Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area. The greater part of Dennis’ career was spent as a ranger with the Bureau of Land Management. He served as Chief Ranger in the California Desert before becoming the BLM’s first national chief ranger in Washington, DC. Dennis received the Department of the Interior’s Meritorious Service Award in 2002. Dennis retired from the BLM as Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement in 2003. In his retirement, Dennis and his wife are avid campers in the Idaho State Parks. They own a pop-up trailer and a canoe and have created many family memories in places like Ponderosa and Bruneau Dunes State Parks. They have visited 19 out of the 30 state parks and plan on seeing them all eventually. Dennis’s quote is, "You can take the ranger out of the parks, but you can’t take the parks out of the ranger!"


Ray Houston

Ray retired in July 2017 after 28 years with Idaho Legislative Services. As a budget analyst, he assisted legislators with motions to set the state budget. Over the years, his budget assignments transitioned from general government, transportation, and taxes to agriculture and natural resources.  He served as the legislative budget analyst for the Department of Parks and Recreation for the last ten years of his career. Ray grew up in Twin Falls and attended the College of Southern Idaho. He has a Bachelor of Science in botany, from Idaho State University, a Bachelor of Science in soil science, from the University of Idaho, and a Masters in Business Administration from Idaho State University. After visiting all 44 counties, he and his wife, Joyce, were accepted into the Idaho Corps of Discovery in 2002. They enjoy camping at Idaho’s state parks in their 19-foot travel trailer.

Bill Drake

Bill is the chairman of Drake Cooper, an marketing and public relations firm in Boise. Bill is an author, a frequent lecturer for BSU, U of I and a myriad of marketing venues, and a contributor to the book, Inside the Minds: Advertising Best Practices. Bill gives back to the community, serving on boards and working with non-profits such as: The Idaho Shakespeare Festival, FUNDSY, Bogus Basin, the Red Cross, the Boise Philharmonic Association, The Boy Scouts of America, Friends of Idaho State Parks, and the Metro Boise Chamber of Commerce.

  Steve Smylie
Steve Smylie is a lifelong Idaho native and holds degrees from NNU, BSU, and the U. of I. He worked as a teacher, coach, and educational leader for 38 years and is currently an adjunct professor at BSU. He served 4 terms in the Idaho Legislature, representing West Boise and Meridian. Parks hold a special place in Steve's heart, his father, Gov. Robert E. Smylie championed the creation of the Idaho Dept. of Parks and Recreation in 1963. Steve participated in an historical preservation project at Harriman Park in 2006 and has researched the history of the parks system, writing a chapter in the book 100 Years: Idaho and It's Parks (2008). He also serves as Idaho President of Phi Delta Kappa International and on the Advisory Board of the Treasure Valley Salvation Army, as well as other community organizations. He and his wife, Marsha, love hiking, cross country skiing, travel, and so many other things that make Idaho special.


Friends of Idaho State Parks • PO Box 7164 • Boise ID 83707 • Email

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