A series of grants announced this past week will fund a number of local nature-based projects, including a new trail in New Ashford, more money for the Greylock Glen project in Adams, design money for an adventure trail in North Adams, and tree plantings at the town common in Williamstown.
The Baker-Polito administration announced the $313,500 in grant money to 10 municipalities and two regional economic development organizations to support forest stewardship and conservation and nature-based tourism in the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership region, which includes most of Northwestern Massachusetts.
The partnership enables the conservation of forests and sustainable management to aid in economic development in rural areas along the Vermont and New York borders by providing money for planning for forests facing climate change, and improving nature-based tourism.
“The Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership region has amazing natural resources and opportunities for outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism, and our Administration is pleased to work with the rural communities of the region to support economic development that conserves land and enhances resilience to climate change,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in a release.
Though Massachusetts has no national forest, the federal agency plants its flag here Thursday. In an agreement to be signed at the Berkshire East ski area in Charlemont, the chief of the U.S. Forest …
“Enhancing partnerships with local communities and organizations is one of the most effective approaches we have to support the stewardship of our unique natural resources here in the Commonwealth.”
Among the local municipalities receiving grants are Adams, with a $20,000 grant to help in the process of selecting a food vendor, education vendor and outdoor recreation vendor for Greylock Glen.
In New Ashford, another $20,000 will aid in the design and construction of a hiking trail around Beaver Pond on the slopes of Mount Greylock.
North Adams also will receive $20,000, for the completion of design work and property research on a section of the North Adams Adventure Trail.
For Peru, $20,000 will help in the completion of gravel road improvements to allow access to MassWildlife property in town.
A $20,000 grant to Williamstown will help purchase climate-adapted trees for planting in the town common.
A $60,000 grant to North Adams-based Lever will aid in the completion of the Mohawk Entrepreneurial Challenge II to focus on forestry-based and wood-using business startups.
The regional projects will help develop a network of local experts to support budding forest-based businesses that will enhance tourism and use the forest products from the region.
The Mohawk Trail Woodland Partnership is a shared forest stewardship collaboration among the U.S. Forest Service, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, 17 municipalities and a dozen public and non-governmental organizations in Western Massachusetts.
The partnership has provided grants to individual municipalities, and to the partnership as a whole, to implement the goals of forest-based economic development and sustainable forest landscapes in our region. The program, funded through grants from the U.S. Forest Service and the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, is now into its third cycle of project awards. It is through these awards that the partnership seeks to promote use and conservation of regional forests.