New AMC Head Vows Continued Opposition to Northern Pass

Jan 13, 2012

John D. Judge, who will take over as head of the Appalachian Mountain Club next month, says its priorities will include continued opposition to the Northern Pass project and trying to get more children away from computer games and into the outdoors.

The proposed hydro-electric project would clearly have a detrimental impact on recreation and conservation, said Judge.

Consequently he said the organization will continue to fight the issuance of a Presidential Permit by the U.S. Department of Energy. That permit is necessary for the power to come into the United States from Canada.

The A.M.C. is one of several conservation groups to oppose the controversial project which would run power lines about 180 miles through New Hampshire.

Judge said one of the group’s biggest challenges – and goals - is getting more children involved in outdoors recreation.

“The mission of A.M.C. is more relevant now than ever. There is a greater sense of urgency with everything from growing obesity rates not only in New England but around the country to the fact that so many young people seem to be indoors focused now,” he said. “To get them outside couldn’t be more urgently needed.”

He said getting young people outdoors will not just improve their health and enjoyment but help them to understand the importance of conservation “and taking responsibility for the beauty that we have here in New England.”

One of the club’s tactics, Judge said, will be improving its communications programs to contact parents, teachers and youth-related organizations “and make sure they know they have a great resource and collaborative partner in the A.M.C.”

On Feb. 1stJudge will become the club’s president, replacing Andrew Falender who was president for the last 23 years.

The A.M.C. is 136 years-old and describes itself as “the nation’s oldest outdoor recreation and conservation organization.” It has 12 chapters and more than 100,000 “members, advocates and supporters.”

Judge lives in Boston, where the club has its headquarters. He has a master’s of public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. in economics Stonehill College.

Before joining A.M.C. he was the chief development officer for Springfield, Mass. He resigned last spring after working there for two years. In reporting the resignation The (Springfield) Republican quoted a city official as saying Judge “played a key role in several city initiatives, including retention of Titeflex Corporation, the expansion of Smith & Wesson, and creation of the UMass Design Center.”