Member Profile: Johnny Garder (Monte Rio, CA)

Winter Wildlands Alliance Board President Emeritus, Senior Director of Budget and Appropriations at National Parks Conservation Association, Member

One of Johnny’s favorite places for winter adventure is Alaska. Anceded Tlingit lands.

Photo by Sean Odom @seanodom.dp

This profile was originally featured in our Fall 2023 Trail Break issue.

Climate change is altering and compromising these places we hold so dear. Winter landscapes are at the crossroads of poorly funded public land managers struggling to adapt and a public that has discovered backcountry winter recreation at unprecedented levels. The intersection of these and other emerging issues shows the immense challenges before us. That’s why we need Winter Wildlands Alliance and its members now more than ever.

Johnny was born and raised in New York City, but after summering in Vermont for many years his family moved to the Green Mountain State full time. As soon as he could afford the wheels to drive up the mountain, his passion for cross country skiing was lit. Johnny learned at an influential age how transformative active winter recreation in quiet landscapes can be. It became, and has long since been, his place to be centered. “I found that inner peace,” he says, “even when skiing through misty rain and dodging mud puddles in the Appalachians.” 

For Johnny it’s not about the conditions. It’s about the landscapes, the ecosystems, and the deep privilege of being able to experience them. The importance and transformative nature of these fragile places and experiences are what makes him whole. This is what inspired him to join WWA as a member and to serve on our Board.