Photo Gallery | The Boulders in Dalton
DALTON — Crane has donated a 685-acre parcel that the company has held since the 19th century to the Berkshire Natural Resources Council.
The undeveloped land, more commonly known as The Boulders, is located in parts of Dalton, Lanesborough and Pittsfield, and is already covered by a conservation restriction.
It is one of the largest parcels that the BNRC has ever received through donation, said President Tad Ames.
Crane, the sole supplier of currency paper to the U.S. government, had owned the land since the 1800s and maintained a network of bicycle trails and walking paths there.
The BNRC plans to enhance the hiking trails ad improve public access to the spot with clean and attractive parking areas for visitors.
"We're going to keep it open for the public to use for running, and hiking and skiing, which have been the uses so far," Ames said.
The BNRC also will conduct a complete assessment of the trails in the parcel to see which ones may need to be fixed. The BNRC currently owns nearly 10,000 acres in Berkshire County that are open for public passive recreation.
"As we get a plan together, we want to create better access to the property," Ames said.
"It's already a nice place that a lot of people use and enjoy and we want to keep it that way," he said.
The donation also transfers Crane's portion of the conservation restriction the company had with the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to the BNRC. A conservation restriction is a legal designation that prohibits residential or industrial development of undeveloped land in perpetuity.
Crane recently put another undeveloped 41 acre parcel in Dalton known as "Happy Land" on the market. The town voted to purchase that popular hiking spot for $91,445 at a special town meeting to keep it from being developed.
The Boulders is an area located roughly between Cheshire Road east of Pittsfield's Coltsville neighborhood and Ashuelot Cemetery off Route 9 in Dalton. Part of Gulf Road, which runs from Pittsfield through Lanesborough and into Dalton, marks the parcel's northern border.
The land is known as The Boulders because of its unique rock formations, Ames said.
"Crane is proud of its long history of environmental stewardship and protection," said Crane CEO Stephen P. DeFalco in a statement.
"On behalf of over 600 Crane employees who live and work in the Berkshires, I am pleased that we could donate The Boulders' property to the BNRC to ensure that the land will continue to be preserved and enjoyed as a beautiful natural resource."