Meet the GNA Staff

 

Rah Trost

Growing up in Marquette, Michigan, on the shores of Lake Superior has always been the foundation of Rah's love of the outdoors. Inspired by the pristine wilderness of her beloved Upper Peninsula, she started Great Northern Adventures so she could do what she loved best -- show off the U.P.'s unspoiled wilderness.

Before creating GNA in 1996, Rah worked in various recreation positions for 15 years. Her professional career includes her position as Director of the Michigan chapter of the Rails-To-Trails Program. She earned double Master's degrees in Public Admininstration and Recreation Resource administration from North Carolina State University in 1989 and a B.A. in Sociology from Michigan State University in 1983.

Of course, as manager of a successful business she still puts in her "desk time," but usually she can be found paddling, biking, hiking or snowshoeing the woods and water of the U.P.


Randy Buchler

Randy Buchler was born and raised in Michigan. Growing up on a lake, Randy has always had a love for the water and just about any sport associated with it. During his years at Central Michigan University, where he attained a B.A. in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Administration, he spent much of his time in the outdoors. Some of Randy's specialties are canoeing, hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and winter camping.

After graduating from Central, Randy and his wife moved to Colorado in 1996. While in Colorado Randy worked at Mueller State Park in Divide Colorado. Living in the Rocky Mountains Randy participated in numerous outdoor adventures ranging from whitewater rafting on the Arkansas and Colorado rivers to backpacking Pikes Peak. This is where Randy honed his outdoor survival skills and developed his passion for guiding wilderness trips. Randy is an American Canoe Association certified instructor.

After the birth of their daughter in July of 2001 Randy and his family returned to Michigan's Upper Peninsula where he continues to pursue his passion for the outdoors leading trips for Great Northern Adventures.

 


 

Susan Belanger

"Beli," a.k.a. Susan Belanger, has been a guide with Great Northern Adventures since its inception. She has been backpacking since she was 16 and has led many trips with the Girl Scouts since 1982 to places such as the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Isle Royale National Park in Michigan.

She's an adult trainer for the Peninsula Waters Girl Scout Council, specializing in wilderness and leadership training. She has a teaching degree from Northern Michigan University, majoring in physical education and biology, and taught 5th-graders at an Outdoor Ed Center for the Houston schools for 10 years before moving back to her home town of Marquette.

Sea kayaking is a big passion, and Sue has ACA Certification as a Flatwater Kayak Instructor. She's also a certified massage therapist and works with medicinal plants. Sue is a Youth Activity Director for a local public housing youth and family center when she's not guiding.


Stewart Joseph

Born in the "Burks," Stewart attended Michigan Technological University and earned his BS in biology.

Obsessed with kayaking and Lake Superior, Stewart completed a solo circumnavigation of Lake Superior in 1993. His life was forever changed. Thus began a career of guiding kayak tours on the Great Lakes.

Stewart is an ACA and BCU certified kayak instructor and includes an adaptive paddling certification (ACA) in his resume. He lives on the shores of Lake Superior in Marquette, and is most at home when he's out on tour paddling.


Teri and Vince Grout

Teri and Vince Grout have been together for twenty years, and have been biking, backpacking, skiing, canoeing, and winter camping for at least as long. Nine years ago they discovered dog mushing, got completely hooked, and spent a year apprenticed to a professional sled dog racer and wilderness guide. Since then, they've logged thousands of miles with sled dogs, raced their dogs in half a dozen states, and guided tours in Michigan, Minnesota, and Arizona. (Yes, Arizona. Ask them about the snow on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon!)

Teri and Vince's "family" of 37 furry kids is a year-round, total-immersion commitment to care and training, but one that they wouldnĂ­t trade for anything else. They love to share the dog experience with others, embellished with tales of the trail and bits and pieces of woods lore.

 


Cameron Fuess

Cameron's strong interest in Ecology, and earth sciences brought him to Marquette in 1997 to attend Northern Michigan University. Cameron believes the best way to experience the natural world is through multi-day trips into the backcountry. Cameron's passion for adventuring has taken him for the past nine years all across America canoeing, kayaking and backpacking. His specialties are kayaking and canoeing and there is no place he feels more at home than paddling the vast blue waters of the northern Great Lakes.

As busy as he is adventuring, Cameron found time to earn a BS in Geography, with minors in Native American Studies and Outdoor Education. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder and has had years of training in BCU and ACA sea kayaking and Canoeing courses.

 

 


James Leaf

Moving to the Upper Peninsula to attend Northern Michigan University proved fruitful for James' passion - wilderness adventures. The U.P's wild woods and waters embodied a lifestyle he just could not find in downstate Michigan.

Climbing, backpacking, sailing and - most importantly - paddling, are the mainstays of Jame's leisure time activities. As a senior at N.M.U. his studies in outdoor recreation leadership and management give Jim a well rounded background in wilderness trip planning and guiding. Jim is an American Canoe Association certified instuctor. In addition to his training and education, James has spent many summers working at various outdoor adventure camps leading backpacking and paddling programs. He is well versed in adventure travel and guiding and is always willing to show you the best off-the-beaten-track, hidden gems of the U.P.