Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) is announcing that Josh Wilson will step down as executive director this year. BETA’s first year-round executive director, took the helm in 2015 following BETA’s integration with the Adirondack Ski Touring Council in 2014, allowing the two entities to operate as one nonprofit organization. Wilson is relocating to be with his family. He will continue to serve as executive director through the upcoming trail season while the BETA board of directors conducts a search process to find the organization’s next long-term leader.
BETA got its start as the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, which formed in 1986 around the goal of establishing the Jackrabbit Ski Trail. Almost 4 decades later, BETA’s work is now focused around three priorities: trail stewardship and long-term maintenance of over 100 miles of trails on state, municipal and private land; planning and constructing new trails, and building support and funding for trails through advocacy and partnerships at the state and local level. BETA’s efforts in the region are guided by its 2022 strategic plan as well as its volunteer board of directors and local trail committees.
Under Wilson’s leadership, BETA tripled its membership base, established the organization’s first paid, seasonal trail crew, and constructed miles of sustainable trails for mountain biking and other human-powered uses in the region. This includes the expansion of singletrack trails in the Wilmington Wild Forest at Hardy Road and The Flume, at Craig Wood in North Elba, and at Mount Pisgah, Dewey Mountain and Fowler’s Crossing in Saranac Lake, with an emphasis in recent years on improving connectivity between trail systems and hamlet areas, and providing a greater variety of trail experiences for mountain bikers of all ages and abilities.
Throughout his tenure, Wilson worked to preserve the 37-year legacy of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail, coordinating with landowners, land managers and volunteers to maintain public access to the historic 40-mile ski route, and advocating for trail improvements that will benefit future generations. Wilson also led the organization to collaborate with local partners to create new inclusive recreation opportunities that appeal to people beyond the mountain biking and skiing community, such as the East Branch Community Trails in Keene, Cobble Hill Trails in Elizabethtown and Three Sisters Preserve in Wilmington.
Patrick Carey, president of BETA’s board of directors, said, “We appreciate the dedication and professionalism Josh has brought to the organization since he first became involved as a board member and trail volunteer in 2009, and throughout his service as Executive Director. With a stronger-than-ever membership base, dedicated local volunteers and partners, and a positive reputation in the community, BETA is well-positioned for continued success following this leadership change.”
“This is a bittersweet moment for me,” Wilson said, “Leading BETA has been one of the great privileges of my life. I am honored to serve the trail-users and communities in our region, and proud to work, ride and ski alongside co-workers, volunteers and friends whose enthusiasm and passion for our local trails is so inspiring. I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough to the many people who have supported me in this role over the past eight years and who have given so much of their time and energy to fulfilling the BETA mission. I hope this leadership transition is a natural evolution for the organization and I am committed to ensuring everything goes smoothly. I look forward to seeing BETA continue to thrive into the future.”