In a March 13 press release, the Patrick-Murray Administration announced the awarding of two grants under a new Landscape Partnership Program. The grant in our area is called the Long Mountain Conservation Project.
That program will allow the Department of Fish and Game to permanently protect a 906-acre parcel from Lyme Northern Timber Fund as a Wildlife Management Area. The property was highly threatened by development but it will now remain a productive forest. In addition, an abutting private landowner is donating a conservation easement on a 597-acre parcel to the Berkshire Natural Resources Council. Collectively, approximately 1,500 acres will be protected, which has important significance for landscape conservation, wildlife habitat, public access and climate change protection.
Then in his April report to the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen, DFW Western District Manager Andrew Madden reported that the Division recently completed projects in Berkshire, Hampshire, and Hampden Counties as follows: Windsor -- 190 acres connecting the Moran WMA and the Savoy WMA. This property includes wetlands, forests, and shrubland with extensive road frontage. Chesterfield -- 369 acres along the East Branch of the Westfield River.
This property protects one of the larger remaining parcels along the river and connects two previously protected areas in the lower Pork Barrel area. Access can be gained from Wilkin Road. He also reported a 26-acre acquisition in Chester, which contains wetlands and access abutting the Hiram Fox WMA.
Lastly, in a recent town meeting, Lenox residents voted to grant a conservation easement giving an additional layer of protection on approximately 948 acres of land on Lenox Mountain that comprises the Town watershed area surrounding its reservoirs. The CR will be held jointly by the Lenox Conservation Committee and the BNRC.
The purpose of the CR is to preserve the scenic and natural resources of the land while allowing for any future expansion of the town waterworks. That means the entire Yokun Ridge will now be protected from possible development.
Other lands on that mountain are owned by the BNRC, Mass Audubon and Lenox Kennedy Park. With the exception of the BNRC owned lands, no hunting or fishing will be allowed on that ridge but that's ok, it never has been allowed. At least future generations are assured of having Yokun Ridge for its scenic and natural resources value.
The Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club will hold its annual Spring Fishing Derby next Saturday from dawn until 3 p.m. at the Stockbridge Bowl boat ramp. There will be $100 prizes for the heaviest trout or salmon, pickerel, bass and bullhead. Free lures for all kids 12 and under. Pre-registration fee is $10 and post-registration fee is $15. Tickets are available at the Minkler Insurance Agency in Stockbridge, (413) 298-3741, or from any club member.
The Onota Fishing Club will hold its annual trout derby next Sunday from 6 a.m.-noon on Onota Lake. Sign up will be at the Controy Pavillion. Cash prizes will be awarded for heaviest trout and salmon and trophies will be awarded for children's prizes. There will be food and raffles. There will also be a $10 all-you-can eat fish fry after the derby. The fish fry is free with paid entry. $10 for adults, $5 for children.
This year, the Onota Fishing Club will also hold a tag sale at its derby event. Anyone interested in donating any old fishing/camping/hunting equipment (no guns or ammo) can contact Chris Porter at 496-0105. All proceeds from this raffle and derby benefit Pittsfield Little League. A separate table will be set up for those that would like to sell their own items, with a small donation made to the events.
Also next Sunday, the SSC will hold a firearms safety course at 8:30 a.m. in its main hall. The 5 hour classroom course meets requirements for FID/LTC. The fee is $75 and is due at the course. To register, call 232-7700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide your legal name, middle initial and date of birth.
Also next Saturday, the Lee IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Assocation) will hold matches at the LSA. New shooter orientation is at 11:30 a.m., sign-in and stage review at 11:45 and start time is noon. The cost is $15. Cold Range rules apply; 50 rounds, three magazines, holster, eyes & ears protection, concealment vest. For scheduling information, log onto http://www.berkshireidpa.us.
The Lee Sportsmen's Association is starting up a new youth shotgun team formed through the SCTP (scholastic clay target program) for youth development through the shooting sports. Currently it has five athletes and four coaches. The LSA Buckshots are training in trap, skeet, and soon, sporting clays. Their first competition is Trap on June 8 in Burlington. If you know an athlete that would like to join, check out their website at http://www leesportsmen.com.
The following waters were scheduled to be stocked with trout last week: Hoosic River in Clarksburg, Cheshire and Adams, Green River in Alford, Egremont and Great Barrington; Green River in Williamstown, Deerfield River in Buckland, Charlemont and Florida; Williams River in West Stockbridge and Great Barrington, Housatonic River in Pittsfield (S/W), Lee and Stockbridge; Hop Brook in Lee and Tyringham, Hudson Brook in Clarksburg and North Adams, Buck and Clam Rivers in Sandisfield, Potash Brook in Blandford, Town Brook in Lanesborough, Westfield River in Russell, Greenwater Pond, Littleville Lake, Norwich Lake, Laurel Lake, York Lake, Windsor Lake, Windsor Pond, Onota Lake, Richmond Pond and Stockbridge Bowl. The Deerfield, Littleville Lake and Laurel Lake stockings also included tiger trout.
To reach Gene Chague: