STOCKBRIDGE — With the recently capsized small weed-whacking harvester still sidelined, the town deployed its “big Green Harvester” on Thursday to remove invasive Eurasian milfoil plants from the Stockbridge Bowl ahead of Sunday’s Josh Billings RunAground Triathlon.
The 45th triathlon, scaled back to comply with local COVID-19 health and safety directives, will not include the traditional after-party “bash” at Tanglewood. Participation has been capped at about 300 teams with 600 to 700 participants, according to race director Patty Spector, including up to 90 ironmen and women taking part in all three portions of the event — bicycling, watercraft and running — on their own.
From 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., a section of Route 183 connecting Lenox to Stockbridge will be closed to motor vehicles, between Hawthorne Road, just south of the Tanglewood main gate, and the Stockbridge boat ramp, said Stockbridge Police Chief Darrell Fennelly. A short section of Hawthorne Road from the Tanglewood Lion’s Gate lot to Route 183 also will be off-limits to motorists during that period.
“People should expect delays and use extra caution at the Red Lion Inn intersection and the Church Street and Main Street intersection due to packs of cyclists,” he stated.
At Friday’s meeting of the Stockbridge Bowl Stewardship Commission, member Roxanne McCaffrey said the town’s smaller harvester made its rounds for the final weed attack of the season, “wherever we’re allowed to harvest.”
GPS tracking is used to map the route, which is restricted by MassWildlife because of a rare snail species that inhabits portions of the shoreline.
The smaller harvester, damaged when it flipped during a run Aug. 26, remains in dry dock, with repairs planned over the winter, before redeployment next spring.
A $20,000 insurance claim has been paid to the town, said McCaffrey, who chairs the Select Board.
An investigation of the blue harvester’s flip-over remains incomplete, she pointed out, pending a conversation with the operator, Chuck Kohrer, who had been away on vacation.
Based on a conversation with the manufacturer, harvester capsizes are not common, but neither are they unheard of, McCaffrey told commission members. Several possible causes have been identified for such mishaps — overloads, uneven loads or strong winds (not the case in the recent accident).
There was no pollution of hydraulic fluid into the state-owned lake maintained by the town. McCaffrey acknowledged that the cause of the incident never might be determined definitively.
“It’s going to be our best guess, based on the whole scenario,” she stated.