About Us

Adirondack Wilderness Advocates is 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded by a trio of outdoor enthusiasts, all of whom have been concerned by the current state of Wilderness management and advocacy. The mission of Adirondack Wilderness Advocates is to promote “the knowledge, enjoyment, expansion, and protection of the Adirondack Park’s wildest places.”

The founding members of Adirondack Wilderness Advocates include several familiar names.

They are no strangers to the Wilderness Areas of the Adirondacks. Indeed, Adirondack Wilderness Advocates was conceived while they were exploring Ragged Mountain together in May 2016. In December 2019, Adirondack Wilderness Advocates formally formed as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Board of Directors

bill ingersoll

Bill Ingersoll

Chair, Co-Founder

Bill is a writer and publisher of the Discover the Adirondacks series of guidebooks.

Ari Epstein

Vice Chair

Ari is a data management specialist with a passion for wilderness preservation cultivated by a lifetime of tramping and paddling around the Adirondack Park. He lives in Schenectady, NY.

pete nelson

Pete Nelson

Secretary, Co-Founder

Pete is a teacher, writer, essayist and activist whose work has appeared in a variety of Adirondack publications, and regularly in the Adirondack Almanack.

Craig McGowan

Craig McGowan


Craig grew up 15 minutes north of the Blue Line and is a lifetime visitor to the Adirondack Park. His favorite outdoor activities include cross-country skiing, hiking, and canoeing.

Kayla White

Board Member

Kayla enjoys hiking wild places, yoga, swimming, fermenting things, and maple sugaring. She is currently the Summit Steward Coordinator for the Adirondack Mountain Club.


brendan wiltse

Brendan Wiltse


Brendan is a landscape and nature photographer, as well as a limnologist who focuses on studying Adirondack lakes and rivers.

Shelly Cihan


Shelly has been a resident of the Adirondack Park for the past 19 years. With a degree in Natural Resources: Environmental Science, she currently sits on the board of Northern New York Audubon and is employed in a field which is heavily focused on tourism in the Adirondacks and New York State.

Jesse Crammer

Jesse Cramer


Jesse grew up in rural Red Creek, NY, and is a lifelong visitor of the exquisite Adirondack outdoors. He enjoys hiking, canoeing, and wildlife viewing.

He currently lives in Rochester, NY.

Janelle Hoh


As a year-round resident, Janelle is passionate about the Adirondack Park. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in conservation biology and works with an organization that promotes protection and stewardship of aquatic resources. When not at work or school, Janelle can be found adventuring and exploring the forever wild Adirondack landscape.

jacqueline keating

Jacqueline Keating


Jacqueline Keating is an environmental sociologist and park ranger for the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. When she’s not sneaking back to the Adirondacks, her research focuses on the human dimensions of wildlife management, specifically brown bears, polar bears, and the impacts of ecotourism in remote communities across the state of Alaska.

Tyler Socash

Tyler Socash


Tyler Socash is the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Wilderness Trip Leader. After receiving his master’s degree at the University of Rochester, Tyler embarked on a 7,000-mile thru-hiking journey across the Pacific Crest Trail, Te Araroa across New Zealand, and the Appalachian Trail. He is a New York State Licensed Guide, a Leave No Trace Master Educator, and trained in Wilderness First Aid.

Andy Testo


Andy Testo is the trails manager for a nature center in the Adirondacks. He passionately maintains a 25 mile trail system to include a multitude of ages, abilities, and multi-use recreational activities. He is an avid hunter and fisherman, a trainer forester, enjoys naturalizing, mountain biking, hiking, paddling, swimming, skiing and snowshoeing. Andy believes there is an appropriate place for everything.

tyra olstad

Tyra Olstad, Ph.D.


Tyra is a geographer, professor, and writer who has also worked as a summit steward, park ranger, and physical science technician.

Samantha Brooks


Samantha Brooks is a SUNY- Environmental Science and Forestry graduate who has worked as a summit steward, and an assistant state park ranger. Exploring the Adirondacks wilderness is her passion.