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Dan Nash - Board of Directors Member

Owner and operator of Satori Adventures and Expeditions and Hiking the Ozarks. Dan is an International Mountain Guide, AHGA certified Mountain Leader, certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), certified in Wilderness First-Aid, a Wilderness First Responder and an expert in survival skills.  Dan has lead expeditions on 5 continents and has guided in the largest mountain ranges in the world.  Dan teaches various outdoor educational classes, along with reviewing and testing gear for companies in Europe and North America.  He also tests gear for Backpacker Magazine, Backpackers Review, The Gear Institute and Hiking the Ozarks.  Dan is an instructor for the AHGA and currently resides in Springfield, Missouri. 

Our Mission

The American Hiking Guides Association’s mission is to create a mountain leader industry in the United States by establishing professional standards for Hiking Guides, Backpacking Guides, and Mountain Leaders.


Alan Jolley - Vice President

Owner and operator of the American Climbing Institute. Alan has been guiding for more than 30 years and was instrumental in creating and implementing the national guide training program currently in use by the American Mountain Guides Association. In 1990 he was field examined and certified as a Level II Rock Guide, the highest rock guide certification in the US. He founded the United States Mountain Guides Association (USMGA) in 2001 and served as it’s Vice-President for two years. In 2005 he co-founded the Professional Climbing Instructors Association (PCIA). He was a member of the Technical Committee for the Professional Climbing Guides Institute (PCGI) in 2011.He has trained and certified hundreds of aspiring rock guides and continues to introduce climbers and guides of all experience levels to the tricks of the trade. Many of the techniques popularized in current books and magazines, as well as technical systems taught by guides in the US, were devised by Alan.

Setting the standards for hiking and backpacking guide training.


The American Hiking Guides Association (AHGA), founded in 2010 by Joseph Vulpis, is the governing body for hiking guides, backpacking guides and Mountain Leaders in the United States. Our programming is designed to meet the needs of hiking guides, backpacking guides and Mountain Leaders looking for training and certification in the outdoor guiding and education industry.

The AHGA is working toward cultural, social and legal recognition of the profession of hiking and backpacking guiding. The AHGA extensively covers the competence, knowledge, skills and abilities needed for leading groups on any hiking and/or backpacking trips in Class I to Class IV terrain. 

Administration & Staff

Joseph Vulpis - President

Joseph is the owner and operator of Northeast Mountain Guiding and Expeditions & Travel Abroad. He is a Wilderness EMT-A, Search & Rescue Technician (SAR-TECH II & III), High Angle Rescue Technician, Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote Medicine, International Mountain Guide and a AHGA certified Mountain Leader. He is also the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Professional Climbing Guides Institute. He currently resides in New Jersey.

Jennifer Kozak - Secretary of the Board

Jenn has hiked and backpacked throughout North America, mainly in the Southeastern United States, and in Australia, New Zealand, and several European countries. She has completed over 80% of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park "900" trail miles and has section hiked over 400 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Jenn holds two Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics and in Astronomy and Astrophysics from The Pennsylvania State University. She also has an MBA with emphasis in Technology Management from The University of Phoenix. Jenn is also Lead Backpacking Guide for Northeast Mountain Guiding. She currently resides near Knoxville, Tennessee. 

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