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Our Opinion

Our Opinion: Thoughts on Greylock Glen campground plan? Bring them, along with an open mind, to public forum

When three-dozen community members sent us a letter to the editor concerning the environmental impact of a Greylock Glen campground proposal, we urged a transparent and good-faith process that lets all who want to weigh in on this critical development project an ample chance to do so.

Fortunately, it looks like the greater Adams community will soon get that chance. Shared Estates, a Lenox-based real estate developer that has pitched a campground business plan for a small slice of the Glen, has scheduled a March 23 public forum for discussion of its proposal. That proposal, which gained preliminary approval from the town’s Select Board late last year, also will have to go before the local Conservation Commission and Planning Board for final OKs on the design. The forum slated for later this month, though, is a welcome move from the developer to further seek questions and comments on the project.

We hope community stakeholders take this opportunity to voice their thoughts but also to keep their ears and minds open, too. After all, this proposal, while only targeting 23 of the Glen’s 1,000-plus acres, is an important piece of a development puzzle that local leaders have been putting together for years. Those big dreams and bigger determination have finally attracted necessary investment in an elegant plan that builds out the region’s green tourism potential while actively preserving this green gem of the Berkshire landscape.

Some, however, are skeptical of Shared Estates’ 72-structure campground proposal. They argue plans for “mirror cabins” and airstream trailers are insufficiently “rustic” to be considered camping or responsible development for the Glen, worrying about impacts on wildlife and established trails.

What we do want to see is an open-minded public discussion that dives into the diverse perspectives and critical details of this project — not a bitter, entrenched debate about the definitions of and difference between camping and so-called “glamping.” Such debates have unproductively consumed and divided other towns like Becket in the recent past. We’ve come too long a way to scuttle the investment and momentum that hardworking Adams officials and regional advocates have attracted. Still, everyone should be able to have their say — with the caveat that everyone, campground proposal critics and boosters alike, should go in with an open mind. This proposal is pivotal to establishing the greater Glen development project’s viability but also only concerns about two percent of the Glen’s total acreage. That means compromise should be entirely possible, especially considering that no development project ever moves forward with every single observer, abutter or stakeholder entirely getting their way.

But this critical development-preservation mission for the Glen must move forward. At 5:30 p.m. March 23 at 39 Commercial St., formerly Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, community members can have a say in how it moves forward. We hope everyone takes advantage of that opportunity, and we’ll be eagerly watching and listening for what comes from this crucial community discussion.

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