Press Releases

Adirondack Council Deputy Director Aguirre Chosen as New Executive Director

To Become Next Leader of Park’s Largest Environmental Org

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. – The Adirondack Council’s Board of Directors today announced that it had hired the Council’s current Deputy Executive Director Raul “Rocci” Aguirre to be the new Executive Director of the organization, effective immediately.

Aguirre, 51, of Keene, is the organization’s seventh executive director since it was founded in 1975.  He succeeds William C. Janeway, who stepped down in February after 10 years leading the Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization. 

“The Council’s board of directors undertook a vigorous evaluation process as part of our initial work with our consultants and internal search committee,” said the board chair, Sarah Collum Hatfield.  “As our process unfolded, it became clear through internal discussions and with stakeholders across the region and in Albany, that the right candidate was already serving as our acting executive director. There is a generational shift in leadership occurring across the Adirondacks, as a board we unanimously agreed that Rocci is the most qualified and capable person to lead the organization into this new era.”

“I am pleased to be given this opportunity,” said Aguirre. “The Council has an amazing staff of dedicated conservation professionals and an extremely supportive and engaged board of directors. For the past 10 years I have been able to work on the largest and most complex conservation issues facing the Adirondacks as the Director of Conservation and Deputy Executive Director of the Council. I look forward to building on that experience to re-engage partners, build better relationships, start new dialogues, and strengthen our presence across the entire Adirondack region.

“The Council has been incredibly successful over the past decade under Willie Janeway,” he said. “I am excited to continue that tradition and the hard work necessary to protect the wild places of the Adirondack Park while finding new ways to foster vibrant communities across the North Country.”

Aguirre began his conservation career on the shore of Raquette Lake at the State University of NY Cortland Adirondack Campus. He brings 28 years of large landscape conservation work from across the country and a deep understanding and knowledge of the Adirondacks. His previous roles include a wilderness/interpretive ranger and firefighter with the US Forest Service and National Park Service, field staff with Trout Unlimited, and Director of Land Protection with the Finger Lakes Land Trust.

Rocci serves on multiple boards including the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, the NY Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and is an OPRHP regional commissioner for the Saratoga/Capital Region. For over a decade he has also served as a national voice on diversity issues facing BIPOC professionals in the conservation and land trust sectors and appreciates the significance of a Latino running a major Adirondack environmental organization.

“The Council values new and emerging voices of leadership and empowering people of different backgrounds and world views,” said Chair Hatfield. “The Adirondack Park is a national treasure and we are working hard to ensure that this special place is safe, welcoming, and inclusive for all New Yorkers, locals and visitors alike. Not only is Rocci eminently qualified as a professional but also brings a unique worldview and diverse background to the work that will serve the Council and the Adirondacks in important ways in the years to come.”

Aguirre joined the Council’s staff in 2013 as Conservation Director. He left the Council in January of 2021 to take on the role of Executive Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Science at Scenic Hudson, a conservation group based in Poughkeepsie, NY. After eight months at the Hudson Valley organization, a combination of family and personal circumstances led Aguirre and his family back to the Adirondacks. He has been Deputy Executive Director at the Council since October of 2021. 

Aguirre earned a Bachelor of Science in outdoor recreation and a Bachelor of Arts in American history from SUNY Cortland. He received a Master of Science degree in 2012 in resource management and conservation from Antioch University New England.

Prior executive directors of the Adirondack Council include Gary A. Randorf, George Davis, Charles Clusen, Timothy Burke, Brian Houseal and William “Willie” Janeway.

Established in 1975, the Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. It is the largest environmental organization whose sole focus is the Adirondacks.

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. It envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, farms and working forests, and vibrant, diverse, welcoming, safe communities.  Adirondack Council advocates live in all 50 United States.  

For more information:  John Sheehan, Adirondack Council, 518-441-1340  

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