Contact Us

Questions, comments, or suggestions for us? Please reach out! You can also learn more about each team member's specific areas of expertise and how we can partner with your community by visiting our Services Page.

Elizabeth Sodja

The GNAR Initiative

Phone: (801) 376-3563

Liz Headshot

Elizabeth Sodja is the Coordinator for the GNAR Initiative. She has almost a decade of communications and marketing experience and has worked with both federal and state land management agencies. She has a passion for helping small towns around the west preserve what is special about them while they grow. When she isn't working, you can find her climbing a rock, living out of a tent, driving down a dirt road or covered in dog hair while bike or ski-joring with her snow pups.

Jake Powell

Utah State University

GNAR Initiative Lead,
GNAR Initiative
Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Phone: (435) 797-4293

Jake Powell headshot

Jake Powell is a native of Utah and spent his childhood exploring the backroads of the intermountain west. These experiences formed a deep love for the landscapes, the communities, and people of the west. Jake found landscape architecture as a way to unite people and places, and earned his BLA from Utah State University and MSLA from Penn State University.  In his current position as a Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Extension Specialist, Jake works to bring design and planning solutions to Utah’s communities. As the lead for the Gateway and Natural Amenity Initiative, Jake works with an amazing team to bring attention, resources, and new opportunities to the gateway communities of the Intermountain West. 

Dr. Jordan W. Smith

Utah State University 

Director, Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
Associate Professor, Environment & Society

Phone: 435-797-9174



Jordan W. Smith, Ph.D., is the Director of the Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism at Utah State University. He earned his Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management with minors in both Geospatial Information Systems and Sociology from NC State. Jordan completed both his master’s and undergraduate degrees from Utah State University. Jordan's work uses social media analytics and geospatial technologies to develop an understanding of how outdoor recreation is changing across the American West. His goal is to provide natural resource professionals, elected officials, private industry, and the general public with a scientifically grounded understanding of how to best manage outdoor recreation. Off-campus, Jordan is an active road cyclist and triathlete.

Dr. Danya Rumore

University of Utah

GNAR Initiative
Environmental Dispute Resolution Program
Research Associate Professor, SJ Quinney College Of Law
Research Assistant Professor, City & Metropolitan Planning

Phone: 801-587-1453

Danya Rumore, Ph.D., is the Founder of the GNAR Initiative. She is a facilitator, collaborative process designer, and conflict resolution professional with a particular passion for understanding and addressing the unique challenges and opportunities facing western amenity-rich rural regions like that surrounding her hometown, Sandpoint, Idaho. Danya holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Policy and Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a professor of planning and law at the University of Utah, where she directs the Wallace Stegner Center Environmental Dispute Resolution Program. Danya really likes to shred the gnar on her mountain bike and skis, but she can also be found climbing rocks, floating rivers, and running trails.