Our Guides

Backcountry Safaris has an amazing team of knowledgeable wildlife biologists that guide our tours. They possess a deep understanding of the wildlife, ecology, geology, and natural history of Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. When it comes to guiding, however, it takes more than just knowledge to bring the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, part of one of the largest intact mountain ecosystems in the world, alive. Enthusiasm, passion, and the perception to tailor each safari tour to the varying needs and interests of our guests are a few of the many qualities that set our guides apart from the rest. Each guide brings their own unique personality and experience to our safaris to make your trip personal and truly one of a kind. Whether you are touring the vibrant geo-thermal features of Yellowstone National Park, searching for moose along the Gros Ventre River, or enjoying the beautiful landscape of Jackson Hole, our guides will provide you with a travel experience you will never forget!

Lars Nelson

Lars Nelson

I have a background working as a wildlife biologist and field technician on projects throughout the US and hold a degree in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Washington. Observing wildlife, photography, and storytelling are among my favorite pastimes and I am thrilled to be able to share them with my tour guests. I am especially excited to explore and share part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with my guests as it represents some of the most intact temperate landscapes in North America. I like to think about the GYE as a living museum where you have the chance to see a unique assemblage of North American wildlife. I look forward to having you join me on a tour and discussing the ecology and natural history of the region as we seek out some of the GYE’s iconic wildlife!

Natalie Sawley

Natalie was born and raised in Middle Georgia where she grew up exploring nature. She spent 3 years in Rome, Georgia at Berry College where she graduated with a Bachelors in Animal Science. While at Berry she volunteered as an Environmental Educator at a local non-profit where she taught programs to the community about the local natural resources. She also worked as a research assistant where her team had a focus on white-tail deer conservation. After graduating from Berry, Natalie married her high school sweetheart and moved across the country to Montana to pursue their love of the outdoors. When not guiding, Natalie enjoys hiking and camping through the mountains of Montana.

Michael Fatsis

Mike grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia before attending Rhodes College where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science. After graduating, he came out to Jackson, Wyoming where he taught elementary and middle school ecology at Teton Science Schools. After leading adult education hiking trips in the Tetons during the summer he transitioned to guiding. Mike has been a wildlife biologist and guide for Backcountry Safaris for four seasons and looks forward to sharing his knowledge of the area with the many guests that visit the Greater Yellowstone region. During his free time you can find Mike fly fishing the myriad rivers in Jackson for cutthroat trout!

John Cannizzaro

I started guiding over 30 years ago as captain/owner of Bayou Fishing and Scenic Charters in southern Louisiana, after a hurricane, the business was lost. After relocating to Hawaii, I interpreted on charters in Honolulu, HI 11 years, interpreting marine life, the geological history, and other information about the formation of the Hawaiian Islands. Spending summers in national parks, between Crater Lake, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone in conjuction with studies at Tulane University, I have conducted extensive biological and geological research in the wetlands of the gulf coast, forests, and thermal areas of the western US. Through these experiences,I have gained an acute understanding of the environment around us, and how to coexist harmoniously with the other inhabitants of our planet. If I can help to make our planet just a little bit better of a place than I found it, then I have lived a successful life.

Jack Borowiak

Jack spent his early life in Buffalo, NY appreciating Lake Erie and water sports. More recently he’s worked with African elephants in the Kruger National Park in South Africa as well as chimpanzees with The Jane Goodall Institute. Since moving to the Greater Yellowstone Area, Jack has constantly been filled with awe and wonder about the wildlife, the scenery, and how unique this area is. He’s a photojournalist too and loves teaching photography to anyone. Jack also hopes to climb The Grand for the first time this summer with other guides.

Dave Iantuono

Dave is a long-time local in the Jackson Hole area and has extensively explored this region. He enjoys spending time with the local wildlife, hiking in the mountains, and driving the backroads of Wyoming. Dave offers a wide variety of knowledge of the history, geography, geology and bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. He has a passion for the outdoors and enjoys paragliding and visiting volcanoes around the world.

Toni Koontz

Guide at Big Sky, MT location

I grew up in NC and moved out west to work in YNP during the Summer of 2009 and continued to do so for the next 4 years. I lived in Bozeman from 2011 until 2017, attending MSU and earning a degree in environmental horticulture. Later, I moved to Oregon for a research and development position working with Geneva Apples, though, once the team completed our task, I returned to MT, this time to Big Sky. I have always had a profound love for the outdoors and have done my best to thoroughly explore the areas I have been able to call home.

Robert Darlington

Robert grew up in rural Wisconsin, an area that created a love for the outdoors through fishing, biking, photography, and hiking. While there he studied geography and cartography with an environmental focus at the University of Wisconsin. His love of traveling has taken him all over the country with road trips and to Belize for a month of researching coastal debris. He most recently spent time in Florida exploring cold springs and natural areas along the beach with his time there. Robert then moved to the Jackson Hole area to be in the mountains and explore the amazing and diverse wildlife it has to offer. Robert is very excited for this summer of guiding to share the amazing Yellowstone ecosystem with anyone.

Molly Hagan

Molly grew up in Southern California but felt most at home during summers and holidays spent at her grandparents’ ranch in Montana. It was there that she developed a love for wildlife, spending the summer fly fishing with her grandpa, and the fall hunting with her dad. Never content inside, Molly and her cousins logged hours running in the Montana hills, eventually contributing to her success as a D1 athlete at the University of Notre Dame. After graduation, Molly moved to Montana, and, while working for various Outdoor Hospitality companies, explored Glacier National Park, Big Sky, and every mountain range in between. If she is not out hiking or paddleboarding, Molly can be found reading in her favorite coffee houses around town. Ask her about her love for freeze-dried camping food!

© 2015-2022 Copyright - Backcountry Safaris. Backcountry Safaris is an authorized permittee of the National Park Service.
Book Now