Allegheny Defense Project

All About the Allegheny Defense Project
Tim Reim - Board Member
Jim Kleissler - Board Member
                                                       Megan Rulli - Board Member

Megan Rulli was first introduced to the Allegheny National Forest during her time as a student at Mercyhurst College.  After learning of the extent of industrial extraction in the ANF, especially the severe damage caused by the oil and gas industry, she became involved in the Allegheny Defense Project.  She thoroughly enjoys hiking and camping in the Allegheny and is actively pushing for recreation and preservation to become priorities for those managing the Forest. Megan also grows organic vegetables for Community Supported Agriculture in Pennsylvania.


                                     Cathy Pedler - Board Member


Cathy Pedler was born in Abington, Pennsylvania and grew up in Poughquag, NY; West Chester, Pennsylvania; and Greenbrier County, West Virginia. She received a BA in Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh, a MS in Applied Intelligence at Mercyhurst College, and has studied Permaculture at Slippery Rock University. She has worked as an archaeological researcher, sustainability coordinator, and intelligence analyst at Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA. She has been camping and hiking in the Allegheny National Forest since the mid-1990s and has been active with the Allegheny Defense Project since 2003. Cathy was the Forest Watch Coordinator for the Allegheny Defense Project.  She is currently the Director of Government Relations and Conservation for the Adirondack Mountain Club. ​


Bill Belitskus - Board President

Bill Belitskus was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Southwest Pennsylvania. He holds a degree in Psychology from Duquesne University and a Masters in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Army in Military Intelligence. He ran twice as an independent candidate for United States Representative in the 5th Congressional District. He homesteads with his wife Mary and lives in the passive solar house they constructed on their 25-acre woodlot in Kane, McKean County adjacent to the Allegheny National Forest. He has been hiking, camping and recreating on the Allegheny for over 35 years and has been an active Allegheny Defense Project member since 1996. 

               Ryan Talbott - Executive Director

Ryan Talbott was born and raised in the Allegheny National Forest. Born in Warren, he grew up in Marienville, Pennsylvania on the southern boundary of the Allegheny. Ryan got involved with the Allegheny Defense Project in 2000 when oil and gas development destroyed his favorite camping spot in the Salmon Creek area in Forest County. He has a bachelor's degree in Environmental Biology from Clarion University, a Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School, and is a graduate of Lewis and Clark Law School.

The Allegheny Defense Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the wild forests and rivers of the Allegheny Plateau and the Allegheny National Forest (ANF), Pennsylvania’s only national forest.


 We support a citizen-led, public land ethic that attains biological diversity, and protects water quality, wildlife habitat, natural heritage, wilderness and recreation opportunities.


 ​The Allegheny Defense Project is committed to creating an inclusive environment where the individual differences among us, are understood, respected, appreciated, and recognized as a source of strength for the environmental movement, and valued as qualities that enrich the world in which we live.

Tim Reim serves as the acting Secretary of the Allegheny Defense Project. He has been active with the Allegheny Defense Project since 2002, and has sought to contribute to the goals of the Allegheny Defense Project in numerous ways. Tim is an experienced backpacker who has always enjoyed especially the outdoor activities afforded by the Allegheny Defense Project including their yearly Fall Gatherings, forest watch training sessions, and various weekend hikes and campouts. He is also a member of Heartwood, an alliance of forest-based conservation groups located in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Tim is a former high school social studies teacher and currently is employed as a social worker. He lives in Erie, Pennsylvania with his spouse Katherine and four teenage boys including an international student from China.

Tom Buchele - Board Member
Randy Francisco - Board Member