Protecting the worlds special places one motorcycle at a time.

A Simple Gesture

In 2013, former U.S. National Park Ranger Robert “Mac” McIntosh was volunteering with the Mongol Ecology Center assisting managers at Lake Hovsgol National Park near the Russian border with Mongolia. As they reviewed planning documents with the parks chief ranger Enkhtaivan a call came in – there was an illegal campsite discovered on park lands nearby. Mac watched helplessly as the chief ranger hopped on his motorcycle only to have it immediately break down. He could not do his job. This happened routinely, and Mac learned rangers across the country could not pursue or keep up with illegal poachers, miners, campers and other spoilers of the parks. He had seen enough. Mac told Wesley Thornberry, co-founder of Rally for Rangers Foundation, and Ono Batkhuu, founder of Mongol Ecology Center, that he would take it upon himself to buy a new motorcycle, ride it across Mongolia, and personally deliver it so Enkhtaivan could successfully and safely perform his job. Upon returning to the States, Wesley related this story to friends and asked “Who’s in?” Rally for Rangers was born.

A Growing Movement

The first rally in 2014 was truly an experiment. The outcome unpredictable. Find 15 riders to buy 15 motorcycles and ride them over 1,000 miles across the roadless northern steppe of Mongolia, all to give them away to park rangers in need. It had never been done. Before the first day off road was done, one rider was out with a broken collar bone. Two days later two more riders out. The sturdy Russian military-grade support truck quickly filling with bikes without a rider. Then came the rain, the mud, the sand. When the last mile was turned, just six of the original 15 riders were still astride their bike. But all 15 bikes were delivered, 15 rangers given a new lease on protecting their vast and sacred landscape. The inspiration of the effort was contagious, we had to keep doing this. And so we did.
By the end of 2018 Rally for Rangers will have delivered 75 new motorcycles to nine parks in three countries – Mongolia, Argentina, and Chile. Adventurous philanthropists from around the world continue to flock to the movement – Mongolia, Russia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A., Canada, Singapore, Germany, Denmark, Lebanon, and more have represented their cultures in this effort.

Wesley Thornberry, Co-Founder

Wesley Thornberry, Co-Founder

Wesley is a founding member of the Rally for Rangers Foundation. Since its inception, as an avid motorcyclist, Wesley spearheaded the Rally for Rangers (part of Blue Waves campaign by the Mongol Ecology Center), raised awareness internationally about the National Parks of Mongolia and rides in all rallies. Wesley works with Tom Medema in organizing the rallies.
Wesley is the founder of Trend Digital, www.trend-digital.com, that specializes in post-production imaging services for e-commerce clothing and fashion retailers. Wesley is also a photographer, adventurer and traveler and has documented the tribes of Omo Valley, Ethiopia to the nomadic shamans of Mongolia. His work can be seen at www.wesleythornberry.com. He currently lives in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Tom Medema, Co-Founder

Tom Medema, Co-Founder

Tom Medema developed a passion for national parks at a young age on family vacations throughout the American west. This passion turned into a career as a park ranger spanning over 25 years. He is equally passionate about national parks and public lands around the world and has worked with parks and monuments in South America and Europe as a subject matter expert in the field of interpretation and education. The opportunity to support the development of relatively new national parks in Mongolia is an opportunity he is excited and humbled to be a part of.
Tom is a sports and outdoor enthusiast, spending much of his free time at his teenage kids volleyball, soccer, and alpine skiing events. Tom also loves two wheeled travel by mountain bike, road bike, and motorbike. Over the past 20 years he has owned Harley-Davidson and BMW bikes and is currently riding a KLX 400 on the back roads of the Sierra Nevada foothills in preparation for this epic and compelling adventure.

Unudelgerekh Batkhuu

Unudelgerekh Batkhuu

Ono Batkhuu is a partner at UB International, which offers practical solutions and training on interpretation, sustainable tourism and protected areas management to create a long-lasting impact.
Before joining UB International, Ono worked as a founding director of Mongol Ecology Center (MEC) for nine years. Currently, she serves as a Founder & Co-Chair of the Board of Directors. MEC established Rally for Rangers (RfR) in 2014, a nonprofit effort that is committed to protecting the world’s special places by empowering rangers around the world with new motorcycles and equipment. To date, MEC and RfR have worked to strengthen the management of the protected areas and initiated various programs to advance conservation and education skills of the park staff, promote environmental leadership among youth, rehabilitate and expand park facilities, support tourism-related workforce development for local community members and build collaborative bridges between Mongolia, Europe, and America.
Ono is also a co-founder of “Ger” Youth Center, a non-profit organization that serves Mongolian children in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an alumna of the Executive Leadership Program of the National Parks Institute, a collaboration between Yosemite National Park, University of California Merced, and the US National Park Service. She is a Certified Interpretive Guide & Host Trainer by the National Association for Interpretation of the United States. In 2017, Ono served as an advisor to the Minister of Environment and Tourism.

Badral Yondon

Badral Yondon

Badral Yondon is the CEO of Mongolia Quest and oversees the company’s operations. His career in tourism began while he was a university student working as a porter at a hotel in Ulaanbaatar during the democratic revolution in 1990. Since then, Badral has emerged as a leader in the tourism industry of Mongolia and is committed to supporting the culture and heritage of his country while also protecting the bio-diversity of its fragile ecosystems. He graduated from the Foreign Language Institute in Ulaanbaatar and the Klessheim Tourism and Hotel Management School in Saltzburg, Austria. As one of the founding members of Mongolia Quest, Badral has explored much of Mongolia’s vast countryside, sharing his knowledge of Mongolia’s unique culture and biodiversity with many hundred visitor over last 25 years. He serves on the board of the Mongol Ecology Center, Mongolian Tourism Association and the Arts Council of Mongolia. Badral speaks fluent Russian and English.

Robert McIntosh

Robert McIntosh

Robert retired from the National Park Service as an Associate Regional Director, Northeast Region where he directed planning, natural resource, historic preservation, capital construction and community partnership programs for the region. He has served on international projects in China, India and Mongolia. Robert served as the General Superintendent, Gateway National Recreation Area in New York/New Jersey and held various planning, policy and senior management positions throughout the country in the Department of the Interior – Bureau of Outdoor Recreation and later as the northeast regional director for the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service. Robert serves on the Boards of Lowell’s Boat Shop, the Mongol Ecology Center, the New Bedford Whaling History Alliance, and is a member of the Essex National Heritage Area Commission. Bob is a recipient of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Distinguished Service Award.

Gary Cook

Gary Cook

Gary, Director of Earth Island Institute’s Russian programs, has worked to nurture the growth of the Russian environmental movement as a whole, offering particular support to the many activists that are fighting to protect Lake Baikal.  Over the last 20 years, Earth Island and Gary have helped with the establishment and support of several dozen environmental groups located throughout Russia. In addition, Gary has served as advisor and partner for many other organizations working in Siberia, including the World Bank, the Global Environmental Facility, the United States government, numerous western NGOs (including the Tahoe-Baikal Institute, Earth Corps, Pacific Environment, etc.) as well as each of the eight national parks and nature reserves located within the greater Baikal region. Earth Island’s partners in the former Soviet bloc have used this help to lead a number of campaigns that protect the Siberian wilds, while promoting non-industrial development throughout the region.  Earth Island has already conducted some 40 international eco-tours to Russia.  In so doing it has brought profits to the nation’s struggling national parks, as well as to local environmental groups.   Earth Island has also been in the forefront of confronting oil and gas developments in northern Asia, as well as the many uranium and gold mining projects that are spreading to all parts of eastern Russia.  Finally, given the fact that over 40% of the Baikal watershed is located upstream in Mongolia, Gary and Earth Island have promoted greater trans-boundary cooperation between Russians and their Mongolian neighbors to the south. Gary serves on the board of the Mongol Ecology Center.