Our History

The Friends of Enchanted Rock began in the late 1990’s when several of FOER’s existing board members, who enjoyed climbing at the newly designated Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, wanted to give something back. With conservation in mind, they began to secure grants and funds from various sources, including the American Alpine Club, the Access Fund, Central Texas Climbing Committee, Alamo City Climbing Club, Central Texas Mountaineers, and Texas Parks & Wildlife. Every month for over 20 years, the Enchanted Rock Trail Project built and maintained trails with the help of volunteers from all over the state. Trail work continues today, under the direction of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area Natural Resource staff.

Today, we continue to support the state natural area in many different ways. The Friends of Enchanted Rock is the first and only official support group dedicated to the conservation and protection of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.

Our Work

Through the sustained effort of our dedicated board members, and the generous help from many talented FOER volunteers, and our friends at Whole Earth Provision Company,  Enchanted Rock State Natural has benefited from:

  • 20+ years of improved hiking trails 
  • park-wide recycling program
  • park-wide water conserving plumbing fixtures
  • “Firewater” rainwater collection system at Group Pavilion for area firefighting
  • enhanced interpretive exhibits and facilities
  • educational programs for visitors of all ages
  • rescue equipment for park staff
  • dozens of new trees in campgrounds and other high traffic areas
  • Received Dark Sky Designation

We depend on input from folks who care deeply about the park and support us by donating, volunteering, or purchasing our concessions. Please consider becoming a FOER supporter today. All donations to FOER stay in Enchanted Rock State Natural Area!

Our Board

Ken CookePresident, Ken Cooke

Ken Esten Cooke is a fourth-generation newspaper publisher and editor of the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. Cooke studied journalism at the University of Texas-El Paso and has a bachelor’s of business administration from Concordia University in Austin. He is a third-generation Rotarian, serves on the board of directors of the Texas Press Association and is a graduate of Leadership Gillespie County’s Class of 2016. His focus is on raising awareness about conservation issues at ERSNA.

Missy MialCo-Vice President, Melissa Mial

Melissa is a fifth-generation Texan whose love for Enchanted Rock began with her first visit as a teenager in 1969. She is grateful for the historical preservation efforts started by Lady Bird Johnson and the original landowners who secured Enchanted Rock’s future as a State Natural Area, and for the current TPWD administrators who continue to work towards these preservation goals. After moving to Fredericksburg in 1992, Melissa worked in the field of education; directing two volunteer programs for the Fredericksburg Independent School District designed to improve children’s lives through positive relationships and literacy —  the Mentor and OTTER programs. She has served on FOER’s executive board since 2009, focusing on conservation, education, and dark sky preservation programs. She is proud to be a part of FOER’s legacy of protecting Enchanted Rock State Natural Area for present and future generations through its invaluable support.

Robert DemingCo-Vice President, Robert Deming

Robert Deming is a Fredericksburg resident who has been active in community affairs since he moved there in 1992. He became interested in helping the Friends after several years of walking in ERSNA on an almost daily basis. Initially, he managed the social media account and blog. He was invited to serve on the board in 2013 and has continued his outreach capacity, but in the last two years has also coordinated educational presentations in the group pavilion and at campfire programs. Robert is a long time backpacker and mountain climber and regularly floats Texas rivers in his kayak. He holds a History degree from Texas Tech University and served as a pilot in the US Air Force.

David CainTreasurer, David Cain

David T. Cain was born and raised in West Virginia but moved to San Antonio in 1979. He started out mountaineering in the 1970’s but grew to love rock climbing after moving to Texas. He started climbing at Enchanted Rock in the mid-80’s and continues to do so to this day. He has served on the Central Texas Climbing Committee periodically over 25 years; including one term as Chairman. He has been on the Friends of Enchanted Rock board since 2000 and has served as president for two terms. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts from West Virginia University and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Saint Mary’s University. He holds a law license in both Texas and Washington states and currently practices law at his firm in San Antonio, where he currently lives with his wife and daughter.

Mike.LewisDr. Mike Lewis, Secretary

Mike was one of the founding members of FOER and has served on the board for many years in different capacities. He has seen the organization grow from a handful of involved rock-climbing advocates who took early actions to conserve and preserve resources at the park, to the current organization with a broader mission including education and outreach. He continues to dedicate his efforts to provide assistance to park management and in stewardship of the park. Mike has over 30 years of professional experience, primarily in environmental engineering, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Mike is both a Texas-registered professional engineer and professional geoscientist.

Petersen,Jim-1a(72)Dr. Jim Peterson

Jim Petersen is a Geography Professor at Texas State University. His main interest is in the development of landforms and landscapes. A believer in experiential learning, he has conducted student field trips to Enchanted Rock, Big Bend, and locations throughout the Southwest for over 35 years. In the 1980s he wrote a landform guidebook to Enchanted Rock and more recently, along with students, produced a trail map and summit trail guide for Friends of Enchanted Rock. Jim holds a Ph.D from University of Utah, is a former president of the National Council for Geographic Education, and the author of several physical geography textbooks.

Beth KellsBeth Kells

Beth’s love for Enchanted Rock began 20 years ago as a rock climber, and she has volunteered at many climbing events over the years. She worked as a volunteer on the Trail Crew from 2000 to 2014; learning to respect the delicate ecosystem of the natural area while maintaining hiking trails. Beth brings over 20 years experience to the board with a background in administration, and currently works at the University of Texas School of Law.

Beth KellsRev. Jeff Hammond

Jeff is an Episcopal priest who serves St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Fredericksburg and often visits the Rock for nourishment and renewal. The preservation and stewardship of wild places figures prominently in his understanding of spirituality. Jeff is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara and the Sewanee School of Theology.


Bill Horton is a retired engineer with BS and MS degrees in chemical engineering. He spent his career working on electric power plant environmental control systems. Having lived in Travis County since 1975, he currently spends as much time as possible climbing and hiking at Enchanted Rock SNA. Besides working with FOER, he is an elected member of the Central Texas Climbing Committee, which advises the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on rock climbing issues.

Daniel O’Niell

Daniel O’Neill is a Fredericksburg resident who has spent many of his days enjoying the beauty of Enchanted Rock. He is a graduate of the University of Houston with a degree in Economics. ERSNA has been an integral part of his life beginning with camping there as a boy scout and then with family, to getting married across from the park. His interest with FOER stems from his desire to preserve the beauty of ERSNA so many generations to come can enjoy it as he has.

Not pictured: Barry Wilson of Austin, TX