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Stewardship Update

Posted Monday, October 3, 2022

Protecting wildlife, expanding access, engaging volunteers

What does a typical day for BNRC stewardship look like? The answer … there isn’t one! While upkeep of the more than 50 miles of trail is a consistent part of the workload, the list of projects the team undertakes in any given year can vary widely.

Many stewardship projects support the visitor experience. Just this summer, four new kiosks were installed at the far corners of The Boulders in Dalton. Kiosks provide hikers and visitors with important trail details. A 17-foot bridge was replaced, and 120 feet of boardwalk was installed at Steepletop in New Marlborough. And at the Saddle Trail in Alford Springs a 40-foot drainage ditch, culvert, and associated stonework were completed. Both projects provide safe trailways to visitors.

Other stewardship projects focus on preserving land and protecting wildlife and habitats. At Steadman Pond between Monterey and Tyringham, the stewardship crew, with assistance from volunteers, restored the meadow by managing the growth of young trees. Early successional habitats, like this one, provide food and coverage for many declining grassland bird species, along with other species.

Creating new trails to expand recreational opportunities on BNRC reserves is yet another task for the stewardship team. The Whale Rock Trail at Thomas & Palmer Brook in Great Barrington was recently completed with support from Greenagers, the Student Conservation Association (SCA), and BNRC volunteers. This brand-new trail navigates around steep and challenging sections of land and includes a sizeable stone staircase onto Whale Rock itself. A connector trail was also constructed this summer, joining the Hoosac Range Trailhead in North Adams with the Wigwam Western Summit parking lot— giving hikers safer access to the final section of the Mohican-Mohawk Trail.

The work of the BNRC stewardship team is far-reaching—this is just a small glimpse. Be sure to say hello to any members of the team you see while out on a trail!

Learn about BNRC’s Volunteer Program