Peter Borrelli to head Protect the Adirondacks

Protect the Adirondacks has hired Peter Borrelli, a longtime environmental activist, as its first president and chief executive officer.

“I’ve known Peter for almost forty years, going back to when we both served together at the Sierra Club, and I have followed his career closely ever since,” said Chuck Clusen, chairman of the Protect board.  “Peter brings a unique set of skills in communications, advocacy, and management never applied before in the Adirondacks.”

Protect was formed last year by the merger of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks. The Protect board approved Borrelli’s appointment at a meeting in Blue Mountain Lake on Saturday.

Borrelli, who lives in Northville in the southern Adirondacks, has worked as a writer, editor, activist, and administrator for several environmental organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Open Space Institute, and the Adirondack Council. He also once worked for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

From 1996 to 2007, Borrelli served as executive director of the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, where he oversaw research and lobbied for the protection of marine ecosystems. He recently wrote a book titled  Stellwagen: The Making and Unmaking of a National Marine Sanctuary, which was published last year by the University of New England Press.

Borrelli was the founding editor of Amicus Journal (now called OnEarth), a magazine published by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“My hope is that Protect will come to be respected not just as a consolidation of two former organizations with their own history and accomplishments but as a new entity with a new vision of how to move forward,” Borrelli said.

His appointment follows closely the resignation of David Gibson, who served for more than two decades as the executive director of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and as the first executive director of Protect. Earlier this year, Gibson was demoted to adviser. He resigned after the organization furloughed him in May.

Last week, Gibson complained that Clusen did not reply to his resignation letter and that Protect did not allow for an orderly transition.

Gibson and Dan Plumley, who also resigned from Protect, are considering forming a new environmental organization.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions


  1. Paul says

    I found this to be an interesting quote from a review of Peter’s book on the marine sanctuary.

    “This is a sobering and well-considered examination of what happens when well-intentioned legislation meets the reality of trying to protect an extremely delicate and intensely popular ecosystem.”

    This sounds like a perspective that may serve him well as he wades into Adirondack environmental activism.

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