Justin Kingsland

Mountain Guide

The Outsider, call sign “Oscar Sierra” – British Army – Special Forces veteran – Commercial Helicopter Pilot – Wilderness Emergency Medical Responder – Wilderness Survival Instructor – NC Wilderness Rescue Technician –  Emergency Medical Responder EMR  – EMS/LE Chaplain, Advanced Individual and Group Crises Intervention ICISF.

Justin was born in North Wales. He graduated from Military college in and joined the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards where he trained for Cold Weather Mountain survival in Norway and was then selected for British Army Special Forces.

Justin moved to the USA to work as an FAA commercial helicopter pilot instructor. In 1991, he accepted a leadership position with BMW North America.  Justin helped develop the BMW adventure off-road motorcycle school and their Smoky Mountain motorcycle adventure tours. In 2010, Triumph Motorcycle, a British Company, asked Justin to help develop their off-road motorcycle adventure program in the Appalachian and Smoky Mountains.

In 2015 Justin moved to Highlands NC started Highland Excursion. He has worked closely with the US Forest Service and obtained a USDA special use permit which enables him to operate as an official mountain guide and expedition leader in the Nantahala Temporate Rainforest. Justin’s mountain guide qualifications include:  Wilderness Medical First Responder and Wilderness Survival Instructor.

In 2013 Justin founded and is the President at Warrior Survival School, a 501C3 non-profit organization teaching both Veterans and First Responders Resiliency against stress and PTSD, Justin is a Emergency Services and Law Enforcement  Chaplain with training in individual and group crises Intervention (International Critical Incident Stress Foundation) – Warrior Survival School is for veterans and First Responders.

Jeff Burnette

Mountain Guide

The Home Boy, call sign “Hotel Bravo” – USMC – Special Forces Veteran, Cold Weather Survival School (Bridgeport, CA) – Small boat RIB operator, Okinawa Japan. Paramedic – Firefighter – Individual and Group Crises Intervention ICISF. Community Emergency Response Team Instructor –

Jeff is a native of western North Carolina. He was born in Highlands, NC, at the Peggy Crosby Center, which was the Highlands Hospital at the time. Jeff grew up in the mountains above Lake Grenville.

After High School, Jeff joined the Marine Corps. Jeff spent the next four years traveling around the world with the Special Forces keeping us safe.

After Jeff’s time in the Marine Corps, he returned to the mountains with a longing to serve his community. In 1996 Jeff joined the Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad and started his career in EMS. In 1998 Jeff graduated paramedic school.

In 2005 Jeff married his wife Sarah and started a new journey as a motorcycle race team mechanic. This journey took Jeff’s family on an adventure that ended with them living in Augusta, GA, for ten years. During this time, Jeff and Sarah’s family grew to include four children.

While in Georgia, Jeff became a Nationally Registered Paramedic and Fire Fighter. After seven years at the Fire Department in Georgia, Jeff and Sarah felt the calling to come back to the beautiful mountains, which has always been home.

Jeff’s family moved back in 2018. Jeff is currently a Volunteer Firefighter with the Highlands Fire Department and the newest guide with Highland Excursion.

Orlando Buck

Mountain Guide

Big Bucks, call sign “Bravo Bravo” you will figure it out when you meet him – USMC Sgt. Intelligence group – Veteran – Respiratory Therapist – Pastor/Clergy.

Orlando calls a little of everywhere home. He was born in Kansas, finished middle and high school in Alabama, and has enjoyed calling North Carolina home twice now.

After high school Orlando started college then left to join the United States Marine Corps. In the Marine Corps Orlando served as an intelligence analyst and intelligence instructor, providing support for many overseas operations and training Marines in the “art of intelligence” at the Marine Corps’ Weapons and Tactics Instructors School. Orlando’s ability to see and understand the information in front of him makes him a valuable asset to Highland Excursions.

Orlando is the Middle School math teacher at Summit Charter School in Cashiers, NC, and is also a licensed and ordained minister having served in pastoral and missionary roles.

Orlando and his wife Kelly married in 2005 and have five wonderful children. They decided to call the mountains of North Carolina home in 2019 and enjoy everything our community has to offer.

Adventure is nothing new to Orlando. He enjoys hiking, backcountry camping, trail running, and has even completed a 50 mile ultra-run!

As our newest mountain guide, Orlando is ready to give you a Highland Excursion experience you will not forget!

Kelly Kingsland

Office Manager

Our War Eagle call sign “Whisky Echo” – War Eagle – Graduate at Auburn University.