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Our Team

David DiCerbo & Jessica Tackett

Co-Owners

Dave left a successful but unfulfilling corporate career in publishing to pursue his passion for connecting others with the outdoors. In 2011, he founded Destination Backcountry in order to share the restorative power of the wilderness with his fellow nature-deprived New Yorkers.

In February 2014, Jessica attended Dave’s Survival School and her natural aptitude in and passion for the wilderness quickly became obvious and she became a member of the team. By 2016, she and Dave fell in love, and married in the Catskills in the spring of 2018.

They and their team of guides have dedicated their lives to sharing their favorite wildernesses and helping people form a closer relationship with nature. Dave has contributed to articles and been featured in Backpacker Magazine, Men's Health, and the Wall Street Journal, and has taught his signature ADAPT approach to survival in front of wide-ranging audiences. Jessica has co-founded Women of the Wilds with Morgan Skelton, dedicated to bridging the gender gap in the outdoors. They are both members of NYSOGA and Dave serves as a board member at large.

Their daughter Camila was born in June 2021 and joined her first DBA hike less than a month later!

Guides

Brad Winer

Head Guide

With Destination Backcountry since 2015

Brad is a licensed NY State Outdoor Guide for hiking, camping, and boating. He also holds professional qualifications in Wilderness First Aid and Avalanche Safety. Brad is an Adirondack 46er and a member of the Catskill 3500 Club. When he is not in the great outdoors, Brad organizes and facilitates corporate team-building events—then goes back to scheming and dreaming about getting back outdoors. Brad has lived and traveled all over the world pursuing his passion for hiking and climbing. He is now based in Brooklyn, where he constantly evangelizes about the rewards of getting out of the city and experiencing the world-class wilderness opportunities available in New York State.

Morgana Skelton

Senior Guide

With Destination Backcountry since 2015

Migrating from Michigan where she grew up wandering the woods and climbing the dunes of the Great Lake State, Morgan is an outdoor enthusiast and nature lover. Moving to the city was a big change for her until she discovered easy access to the mountains and ocean. An avid bicyclist and outdoor explorer she spends as much time that she can getting out of the city. From surfing to hiking to canoeing she has a wide range of interests. A photographer by necessity, she tries to capture the beauty and serenity of the landscapes around her from city life to natural world. Morgan is a NYDEC licensed guide for backpacking, camping, and boating.

Visit Morgan's photography page.

Henri de la Vega

Senior Guide; Triple Crown Finisher

With Destination Backcountry since 2019

Henri de la Vega is a New York State licensed guide, long distance backpacker, fisherman, and outdoors enthusiast. His love of the outdoors began in Boy Scouts and continued to grow through his teenage years when he became an Eagle Scout. Shortly after moving to New York City, Henri quickly familiarized himself with the hiking and backcountry north of the five boroughs. He has thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia, and over 2,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. In addition to his love of hiking and backpacking, Henri is a full-time Horticulturalist, and when he’s not at work gardening, can be found fly fishing, green woodworking, backcountry cooking, or foraging for plants and wild mushrooms.

Lauren de la Vega

Senior Guide; Triple Crown Finisher

With Destination Backcountry since 2018

Lauren discovered hiking and camping as a way to escape New York City during college. In 2016, she left her 9-to-5 job to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail and, soon after, the Pacific Crest Trail. She is an ultrarunner and visual artist, and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Art Therapy. She believes that nature is a powerful space for our physical, mental and emotional well-being and is passionate about empowering others to escape the city and explore all of the natural beauty that New York has to offer.

Destiny Colon

Senior Guide

With Destination Backcountry since 2013

A hike on the Devil's Path profoundly changed native New Yorker Destiny's life and she is excited to be able to share her love of nature as a senior guide. Her confidence and easy demeanor inspires others to new heights—literally and figuratively! Destiny spends her free time completing obstacle course races, swimming, and cooking. .

Alexandra Witter

Lead Guide

With Destination Backcountry since 2017

Alex spent her childhood in the city, but began spending more time in nature while studying wildlife conservation in college. She lived and worked off the grid on sea turtle conservation projects for a few seasons and found that tent life suited her. A recent thru-hike of the Colorado Trail has solidified her need for both city and wilderness, and she is eager to share this passion with fellow New Yorkers who are also looking for outdoor adventure!

Jacob Wilner

Lead Guide

With Destination Backcountry since 2019

Jacob grew up in California where he was surrounded by beaches, mountains and lakes, but he never truly saw the beauty of the great outdoors until this travels through Patagonia. He’s been a city dweller his whole life and has planted his feet in the concrete jungle of NYC to explore the great outdoors that the Northeast has to offer. He hopes to connect his fellow city folks with nature while working toward getting his Guide License.

Krystyn Tendy-Atkinson

Lead Guide

With Destination Backcountry since 2018

As a native New Yorker Krystyn was lucky enough to grow up with both the Catskills and the Adirondacks as part of her childhood playgrounds. This early exposure to New York’s “Forever Wild” landscape instilled a deep love for nature and the outdoors that she has carried with her throughout the rest of her life. It led her to pursue her BS in Natural Resources and get an MPA with a focus on Environmental Policy, both of which gave her additional insight into just how truly precious our wild spaces are. With encouragement from the DBA team, Krystyn got her NYS Guide license in Hiking, Camping, Fishing and Boats/Canoes in 2018 and is thrilled to now be a part of DBA herself!

Raymond DeWire

Lead Guide

With Destination Backcountry since 2021

Raymond DeWire is a License New York State Wilderness guide that can lead hiking, backpacking, camping, fishing, and hunting trips. He is a former division 1 Swimmer and grew up in rural Pennsylvania. Ray's outdoor life began with scouting and he eventually achieved his Eagle Scout rank. Ray's passion is everything active and outdoors. After achieving his master's degree from St. John's University in Queens, Ray began to explore upstate New York and now calls it home. Ray is a Lifeguarding, Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and Water Safety Instructor through the American Red Cross. Ray enjoys white water kayaking, rock climbing, cycling, mountain biking, open water swimming, and taking in the sights and sounds of New York's best hiking trails.

Apprentice Guides

Monica Romanach

With Destination Backcountry since 2019

Monica traded the sunny beaches of Miami for New York City back in 2015. She discovered DBA while interning in 2014 and has been an active member ever since, summiting Mount Marcy and several Catskill peaks along the way. Fueled by Café Bustelo and a love of the woods, Mo is always excited for a long day outdoors. Back in the city, you’ll find her perusing through Strand Book Store or cheering on the Florida Gators.

Melodie Mendez

With Destination Backcountry since 2019

Mel Mendez graduated with a degree in Environmental Anthropology from Davidson College. She has dedicated the last decade as a communications specialist for outdoor brands like Arc'teryx and REI, and currently works at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Outside of work, Mel is an Outings Leader for Latino Outdoors NYC where she leads hiking, bouldering, biking, and stewardship events for Latinx communities in the metropolitan area. Mel has received her Wilderness First Aid certification and is working towards her guiding license.

Siegrid Tuttle

With Destination Backcountry since 2021

Siegrid grew up in the wilds of Western Pennsylvania backpacking, learning primitive skills, and exploring the woods and Lake Erie. Now a student in New York City, she was super excited to learn there is so much nature so close to the city and is psyched to introduce more people to New York's wild spaces.

Herb Brooks

With Destination Backcountry since 2021

Herb’s love for Outdoor experiences began in Newark, New Jersey with his High School’s 50 mile trek on the Appalachian Trail. He later continued exploration as a staff member of Project U.S.E, a NJ-based experiential education program. After living in NYC and working in film and media over the past 20 years, Herb returned to his roots by volunteering with Outdoor Afro in 2019 focusing on urban-accessible nature connection and healing practices. Herb is Wilderness First Aid certified and a Level 1 Kayak instructor. Herb is currently enjoying assisting the DBA team as he pursues his NYS Guides License. He likes long walks near rivers, streams ,and water. He also relishes any opportunity to meditate, drum and/or dance in nature. 

John Ford

With Destination Backcountry since 2021

John Ford grew up in North Salem, New York, where he spent much of his childhood exploring the woods and gaining some of his early outdoor skills as a camp counselor. After graduating from Fordham University, John decided to pursue his passion for the Great Outdoors, and became a Horticultural Intern at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where he earned a certificate in horticulture. John is currently a Gardener Two at Brooklyn Bridge Park which specializes in Native Plants and Ecological management. Recently he completed New York Botanical Garden’s Urban Naturalist program and looks forward to applying his new skills on outings and camping trips with Destination Backcountry Adventures. John also manages an Instagram account, @newyorknaturalist, where he enjoys sharing the wonders of nature.

Richard Murby 

With Destination Backcountry since 2021

Richard grew up in Wales in the United Kingdom and his love of the outdoors was born when his parents dropped him off at Scouts one Friday. After spending the next 10 years hiking and backpacking all over the UK he took a long break as work took over. A few years ago while living in NYC he felt the call of mountains again and has been backpacking with DBA ever since. Richard’s favorite moment is always the first cup of coffee in a quiet backcountry camp. If you’re an early riser, give him a nod and he’ll hook you up with a cup

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