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 Trek: The Teams

Team: South
Richard Tyrrell
Richard Tyrell bikes the General Crook Trail through the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

Richard Tyrell bikes the General Crook Trail through the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
Courtesy Antal Maurer

Born and raised in the decidedly flat state of Michigan, Richard always had a yearning for adventure and mountains. He is a jeweler by profession and the staff gemologist for the British firm of Asprey, which has its flagship store in the United States, on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Richard spent his youth climbing and rappelling in local quarries where he suffered his only major climbing accident—a fall resulting in a fractured pelvis and both knees.

Richard recovered from this well enough to serve in the United States Marine Corps, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor, two Purple Hearts and a Cross of Gallantry for his service in Vietnam at the height of the war.

Upon returning to the United States, Richard worked as professional scuba diver and life guard while living on a sail boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. But the lure of the rocks, both gemological and geological brought him back to climbing and the jewelry industry.

Moving to Atlanta in the mid seventies, Richard met his wife Marcia, and raised their son, Flynn. Richard was fortunate to be able to continue his rock and ice climbing all over the United States, and mountaineering all around the world. He has been on expeditions to Alaska on Denali, to South America on Mount Aconcagua, to the Russian Pamirs on Peak Communism, and the notorious East Face of Mount Everest in the Himalayas.

Richard stays in shape through running and riding his three horses. He enjoys playing polo near his home in Bucks County, Pennslyvania.

****2004 UPDATE****

A South Team Trekker and a Manhattan jeweler who resides in Pennsylvania, Richard Tyrrell has had his share of great experiences as a seasoned global traveler and expedition mountain climber. In one respect, the American Frontiers experience has one-upped them all: “I have never been on a trip where I learned anywhere near as much about the environment I was in at the moment than we did with this [American Frontiers] expedition … The true immensity of just how much of this country is truly the public domain was a tremendous surprise to me … it has also made me much more aware of the issues that regulate this vast expanse of land and just who are the true guardians and proprietors of this land.”

Tyrrell, who, as a Vietnam veteran and recipient of two purple hearts, has put in his time serving his country and enjoys the freedoms he defended. He expects the White House to work just as hard for the country. “Do I agree with the current administration’s policies concerning this land? Absolutely not,” he says, adding that the Bush administration’s policy toward gas and mineral extraction and forest practices equates to “nothing more than greed at the hands of a bunch of good ol’ boys who see NOTHING … all this land, some of the most spectacular on the PLANET … and all they see is a short-term opportunity to PROFIT, to line their pockets … at OUR expense!”

“Do you know why they can get away with it?” asks Terrell. In spite of his love for adventure in large, open landscapes, Tyrrell answers by pointing to his backyard, the area of country in which he lives. “No one in the east knows about this land. Not the major population centers, so there is no great cry of protest. We, the population east of the Mississippi, do not think about public lands. We have a few state and national parks – and that’s all we think of when the term public land comes up…part of that problem can be placed on previous labeling; it was always referred to as ‘federal land’ – not available to the general population.”

“It’s public land,” he says, “not federal land. You don’t have to let them chop down the trees; you don’t have to let them drill oil wells on it; you need to see it so you can protect it.”

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