Saranac Laker named head of NY Bicycling Coalition

SARANAC LAKE – Josh Wilson is the new executive director for the New York Bicycling Coalition, a statewide advocacy group.

The 32-year-old Saranac Lake resident, who started his new job on April 16, replaces Brian Kehoe of the Poughkeepsie area.

Prior to taking this job, Wilson had been working for the nonprofit North Country Healthy Heart Network, which operates in Essex, Clinton and Hamilton counties, for four years. Wilson’s job with the Healthy Heart Network was to advocate for healthy living initiatives, including many projects that focused on bike and pedestrian projects.

“This was a dream job for me to be able to move up and do the same thing but statewide,” Wilson said.

The bicycling coalition promotes safe biking and walking as modes of transportation, sport, recreation, health, environmental protection, energy conservation, tourism and economic development, according to its website. It does this through advocacy and education efforts. Among Wilson’s many responsibilities will be to advocate a “share the road” campaign.

Wilson is also an active steering committee member of the Barkeater Trails Alliance, a local mountain bike initiative which has successfully advocated for and built miles of multi-use trails in the High Peaks region, and he also serves his community as a member of the village of Saranac Lake’s Healthy Infrastructure Advisory Board.

Wilson said he has been biking for close to 20 years. His interest started as a mountain biker, but now he also enjoys road biking, although he said he has an aversion to Lycra. In addition to biking, Wilson is an avid backcountry snowboarder, climber and paddler.

“Bicycling and walking mean many things to many people, but what unifies all of us is the simple fact that these modes of travel create a myriad of opportunities that can bring tremendous benefits to individuals young and old, communities large and small, and New York State as a whole,” Wilson said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to representing and promoting the interests of bicyclists and pedestrians across the Empire State, and to building meaningful partnerships with advocates, organizations, businesses and government to make New York a more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly state.”

Wilson holds a bachelor’s degree in natural resources management and policy from Paul Smith’s College.

The Enterprise asked Wilson if the Adirondacks would benefit from his having this position.

“I don’t want to necessarily give preference to the North Country but at the same time … they’ve never had an executive director from the North Country,” Wilson said. “They’ve never had a strong presence here as far as their membership and their activities, so I’ll have to change that while obviously maintaining focus on the rest of the state as well.”

Wilson is the only full-time employee of the New York Bicycling Coalition. The organization does have one part-time employee and is run by a board of directors.