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Worried about the proposed Greylock Glen campground? You'll have a chance to ask questions, comment on the $12 million project at a community forum

Construction at the Greylock Glen as seen from the road

Construction on the Outdoor Center at the Greylock Glen in Adams as seen from Gould Road.

ADAMS — The decades-long question of what to do at Greylock Glen at last has a concrete answer, but that isn’t to say the whole town is on board.

In December, town officials OK’d Shared Estates’ preliminary plan to build a 23-acre campground. The proposal the Select Board accepted includes “mirror” cabins with reflective outer walls. Some critics say the plan, projected to cost $12 million to $15 million, is too upscale for a “rustic” campground. They see it as disruptive at the convergence of several hiking trails.

Townspeople will have a chance to share their thoughts at a public forum at 5:30 p.m. March 23, hosted by Shared Estates. The Lenox-based developer announced last week it would put on the forum at 39 Commercial St., formerly Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church. They are seeking questions and comments about the project.

Lauren R. Stevens: Glamping at the Glen? Another proposal that tests a tenuous balance of development goals

Greylock Glen, although formerly farmed and developed for a failed downhill ski area, consists of 1,000 reforesting acres with views of Mount Greylock. The town of Adams is the project developer, and construction is underway for an outdoor recreation center. There is already a trail system for skiing and hiking.

Opponents pan the proposed camping center at Greylock Glen as 'too upscale' and intrusive

Berkshire Environmental Action Team sent out a news release Friday warning people about the forum and criticizing how the project changed in 12 years from “commercial development of an Outdoor Center and simple campground” to “two-story homes and single-story ‘Mirror Houses’ … with full utilities and amenities.”

GreylockGlen (copy)

This meadow at Greylock Glen would be changed by the proposed project to install a camping complex. Town officials note that a small portion of the Glen will be affected by the project, leaving more than 1,000 acres untouched.

BEAT is concerned with the impact on wildlife, established trails and the town’s utilities, the possibility of overdevelopment, and “economic impacts to the Environmental Justice community in which the Glen is located — given the reduction in number of affordable camping sites and overdevelopment of high-end rental properties.” The organization questioned whether Shared Estates has done enough in notifying townspeople about the forum.

Letter: We want community to have closer look at Greylock Glen project details

Thirty locals signed a letter to The Eagle in January, asking, “What happened to the voices from townspeople who were for the original proposal that talked about ‘rustic campsites’?”

“What about no trailers over 15 feet? This idea seems out of character for a campground at the base of Mount Greylock, where people come to hike, ski and enjoy the solitude of the outdoors,” the letter continued. “Instead of starting your hike at the edge of the forest, you will be starting in a colony of 35 cabins, 19 mirrored buildings and nine airstream trailers.”

Men do construction (copy)

Construction on the Outdoor Center at the Greylock Glen in Adams continues as workers build the roof on the structure. Souliere and Zepka Construction of Adams are the main contractor for the project. The multipurpose outdoor center will have a net-zero carbon footprint, powered by solar panels and storage batteries. Most of the materials used in the building will be wood or stone, and it is expected to be completed by later this year.

Officials have countered that the camping area is relatively small and that new trails can be developed. They say members of the public will have time to comment as the project seeks further approvals.

Our Opinion: Greylock Glen project should proceed with caution, openness and good faith

In a response on Facebook to an editorial from The Eagle in January, Shared Estates noted that Adams has installed roads, infrastructure, trail systems, utilities, amenities and an outdoor education center. The approved Site Master Plan includes “cabins, eco-shelters, RV sites and associated infrastructure.”

“In short, exactly what has been proposed by Shared Estates,” the developer wrote on Facebook.

“Our project plans to reduce the number of units from 140 to 72,” Shared Estates writes. “We highly recommend any purported environmental groups review the fully approved Site Master Plan and consider if they prefer it to proceed as is, or if they prefer for the number of units and the associated impact to be reduced by roughly half.”

Sten Spinella can be reached at sspinella@berkshireeagle.com or 860-853-0085.

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