Better, safer access to Lake Mansfield
To the editor:
It was a cold afternoon in December of 2007 when I first came upon Great Barrington while vacationing in the area from my home in Ireland. With a snowstorm blowing in during a lunch detour, I was forced to hunker down at a local motel.
The next morning, a ramble though the snow led me up a hill and into the clearing of Lake Mansfield. With snowflakes falling around me and snow piled high, I followed a pair of tracks around the tree-rimmed lake — neighbors spotted in the distance clearing a pathway for ice skating, a father and son gliding their sled across the quiet road.
Admiring the stillness of the lake, I realized that I had stumbled upon a place I had been yearning for to call home after 12 long years of living abroad. Now, nearly nine years later, it is just that.
I share this story of my introduction to Lake Mansfield in the hope that Great Barrington Selectmen will support the recommendations of the Lake Mansfield Comprehensive Improvement Plan to convert Lake Mansfield Road from two-way to one-way, allowing for a safe path for pedestrians along the lake edge. With my three children and I all being active users of the area for fishing, biking, swimming and walking, the stress of negotiating a crumbling roadway while dodging traffic whizzing by us from both directions makes visiting the area almost too anxiety-ridden to bear. I cannot imagine how the elderly and those with physical challenges feel.
I urge the Select Board and the town to see the bigger picture of how creating a designated pedestrian pathway along the lake's edge would benefit the town for years to come, while protecting the delicate and vital ecosystem it hosts.
Serving as a safe and peaceful respite from the busyness of day-to-day life, the creation of a new path which separates driver from non-driver would also promote fitness, socialization, reflection, and, as in my case, encourage new families to move to the area to enjoy the wonderful natural resource that is Lake Mansfield.
Leigh Davis, Great Barrington