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BNRC “Trails-From-Towns” Takes Next Step In Great Barrington

Posted Tuesday, August 3, 2021
The High RoadPropertiesRecreation

MassTrails Grant Helps Connect Town and City Centers to the Outdoors

Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) has received a $28,000 grant from MassTrails, an inter-agency initiative of the Commonwealth led by the Governor’s Office, in collaboration with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The grant will be used to expand trail options at BNRC’s Thomas & Palmer Brook conservation reserve, and to advance plans to connect Great Barrington’s downtown center by footpath to Thomas & Palmer Brook and other conserved lands heading north toward Stockbridge. The work proposed for this next phase will include the construction of a new woodland hiking trail connecting the popular accessible loop at Thomas & Palmer to the upland forest, and natural features within it.

BNRC President Jenny Hansell travelled to Cape Cod in July to participate in the MassTrails award ceremony. At the ceremony, Governor Charlie Baker announced nearly $4 million in grant funding to support 52 trail projects across the Commonwealth.

Also in attendance were Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, Department of Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler, and Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Jim Montgomery.

“This is all about access for everyone to the Berkshire outdoors,” said Jenny Hansell, President of BNRC. “Making it easy for everyone to stay well outside is a top priority for BNRC. This means accessible trail design, and providing opportunities to walk out onto trail systems from downtown centers as part of BNRC’s High Road network. The MassTrails support of this vision is a wonderful gift to all who love the special character and natural beauty of the Berkshires.”

On its website, MassTrails states, “Trails are the intersection of conservation, community, transportation, and recreation. They connect Massachusetts residents and visitors to the places in which we live, learn, work, shop, and play.”

Work made possible by the MassTrails grant to BNRC will begin immediately.

Previous MassTrails grants to BNRC have funded work at the accessible-design Old Mill Trail in Hinsdale and Dalton, construction of the Parsons Marsh boardwalk in Lenox, and the initial accessible-design trail at Thomas & Palmer Brook.