May 19, 2022
If you’ve been keeping up with BNRC, you are likely aware of the many exciting changes afoot. In addition to new staff, new conservation projects, and even a new office, you may have heard about the new Yokun Ridge trail that opened last summer.
The significance of this trail is not due solely to its natural beauty, unique ecology, and scenic vistas (although I assure you, those exist in abundance). It is also the first completed leg of The High Road, BNRC’s vision to create a more walkable, interconnected Berkshire County.
Which leads me to my originally intended purpose of addressing you, the reader: To introduce myself as BNRC’s new High Road Manager.
My first exposure to this project was back in 2017. My neighbor, who knew I had a deep interest in both land conservation and trail development, excitedly brought me a copy of a BNRC newsletter with the inaugural showcase of The High Road on its front cover. I remember eagerly opening to the booklet’s colorful centerfold and becoming enchanted by the vivid and imaginative description of a sinewy network of woodland trails, which would someday connect the many towns dotting the Berkshire’s hilly landscape.
Back then, I had no clue that my neighbor’s introduction to The High Road would culminate with me taking a managing role on the project five years later. Nor did I know that in the intervening time, I would have the good fortune to be involved in many trail initiatives, both nationwide and here in the Berkshire region. And that in those years, I would develop a deep, crystalized belief in the importance of sustainable and equitable access to nature.
And so, when presented with the opportunity to join BNRC as its High Road Manager early in 2022, I jumped at the chance.
In the initial days, weeks, and months in this role, I look forward to speaking with and getting to know many of you. Learning the significance of this momentous project and how it fits into BNRC’s mission is paramount.
As they say, Rome was not built in a day, (nor were all roads purportedly leading to it), so I suspect that this “road” won’t be, either. And that, in my opinion, is a good thing. It is my hope to honor the original spirit with which The High Road was founded, while keeping an open mind to the inevitable twists and turns any project of this magnitude is certain to take.
I’ll leave you with a favorite quote of mine from the novelist, Louis L’Amour, one that I will carry with me as I begin my work on The High Road.
“The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for.”
-Deanna Oliveri, High Road Manager