Our Opinion: Why not turn the Mohawk Trail into a national attraction?

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Hairpin Turn; Western Summit; the Bridge of Flowers; "See the live baby bears!"; souvenir moccasins; Dead Man's Curve; a bridge with busts of Indians at each end — all are features of the Mohawk Trail, a 69-mile stretch of highway in Western Massachusetts familiar to Berkshirites who have risked life and limb on its serpentine slopes. Once a path for Atlantic Coast Native Americans to conduct trade with their brethren in upstate New York, it begins in the Worcester County town of Westminster and terminates in Williamstown.

It's tacky, kitschy, scenically gorgeous and a sleeping tourism giant — another of America's odd ducks that, with the right marketing, could become as popular as the Extraterrestrial Highway in New Mexico or the Pacific Coast Highway in Central California. At a strategy session held for government and business leaders last month by the new owners of the Wigwam Western Summit perched high above North Adams, State Rep. John Barrett III suggested that the success of that enterprise and the businesses along rest of the Trail would be enhanced by making the whole thing an attraction on a national scale (Eagle, Nov. 29).

For this, state promotional funding would be helpful — and the presence of state Sen. Adam Hinds at the gathering along with Rep. Barrett means that the concept just might find support on Beacon Hill. A little pump-priming could yield enormous benefits and add yet another jewel to the Berkshires' crown. It's certainly worth a shot.

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