Our Mission and History

Signal Fire provides opportunities for artists and creative agitators to engage with our remaining wildlands.

Our projects foster resilience, creative energy, and interdisciplinary collaboration. We utilize public lands to advocate for equitable access, and protection of, wild and open places.

Signal Fire was started in 2008 by activist Amy Harwood and artist Ryan Pierce. Both wanted to find a way to bring their communities closer to foster more collaboration. As avid backpackers, they imagined small groups traveling together into threatened wildlands, discussing ways to shift the dominant views of land in the American West. They gathered together a group of friends for dinner to ask for input, and Signal Fire was born.

Within the first year several people joined the group who would become instrumental in evolving Signal Fire into a value-driven arts organization while maintaining its integrity. Artist and poet Daniela Naomi Molnar, filmmaker and activist Julie Perini, and environmental attorney Greg Dyson formed the founding Board of Directors. In 2011, Signal Fire held the first “Guide Training” on the north slope of Mt. Hood, bringing together ten past participants who were interested in guiding a trip for Signal Fire. This brought new perspectives on curriculum and started the formal training for leading safe, educational, and ambitious backcountry trips.

Today, Signal Fire leads trips year-round, throughout the American West. Based in Portland, OR, we maintain a regular presence in the thriving arts community through exhibitions and events.