AMC names new president devoted to youth outdoor activity

Earlier this month, John D. Judge was named president of the 136-yaer-old Appalachian Mountain Club, the nation’s oldest outdoor recreation and conservation organization, with more than 100,000 members, advocates, and supporters in 12 chapters from Maine to Washington, D.C.

Judge, 44, is a successful nonprofit and government leader, but perhaps more importantly, he is also an avid outdoorsman. He will become the fourth chief executive of the AMC effective Feb. 1, succeeding Andrew J. Falender, who is retiring after 23 years of successful leadership as AMC president.

Judge’s selection follows a nine-month search process by a committee that included current and former AMC Board members and other nonprofit and business leaders from outside the organization.

To get an idea of his new responsibilities, here is a rundown on the AMC: AMC offers 8,000 outdoor trips each year; maintains over 1,500 miles of hiking trails; and hosts over 150,000 overnight guest visits at its huts and lodges.

In Maine, over the past eight years, it has conserved 66,500 acres of land in the state’s 100-Mile Wilderness region used for outdoor recreation, education, and sustainable forestry, where AMC manages over 90 miles of hiking and cross-country ski trails and three year-round lodges.

“We are excited about John’s experience, talent, and passion for AMC’s mission, particularly in getting young people engaged with the outdoors,” said Laurie Gabriel, chair of AMC’s Board of Directors, in a recent press release.

Within the next decade, AMC has committed to a plan to attract 500,000 constituents, help 500,000 children experience the wilderness, lead regional conservation action, and broaden the impact of the Maine Woods Initiative on the 100-Mile Wilderness region. All of these goals are a part of AMC’s long-term strategic plan, Vision 2020.

To learn about Judge’s professional background, read the AMC press release at

Some highlights: Judge lives in Boston and is credited with transforming a financially troubled Greater Boston chapter of Habitat for Humanity to a top-performing urban affiliate. Most recently, he served as Chief Development Officer for the City of Springfield, where he oversaw the construction of the state’s largest solar field. He is also an active community volunteer. He served as State Chair of the Massachusetts Commission on Community Service and Volunteerism from 2001 to 2004. Additionally, he served as a volunteer with scouting and other youth groups.

To learn more about the Appalachian Mountain Club, visit

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at