Thom Smith | Naturewatch: Help BNRC celebrate its 50th birthday!

Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) is celebrating its 50th birthday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at Holiday Brook Farm, 100 Holiday Cottage Road, Route 9, Dalton. The celebration will feature events for the young and not-so-young including a "Birds of Prey" program with Tom Ricardi from noon to 1 p.m.; guided walks at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; archery from10 a.m. to noon. Enjoy hayrides, fishing and music all day.

And, if you run into Tad Ames, BNRC president, give him a tip your hat!


"You hold the cure for nature-deficit disorder. Because the cure for nature-deficit disorder doesn't rely simply on the best intentions of do-gooders. The cure relies on nature itself, whether it takes the form of a city park or the windswept heights of the Hoosac Range." — Tad Ames.


Did you know that BNRC owns an island? The island is on the northern half of Ashmere Lake. This 7-acre, forested island is very near the eastern and western shores at a pinch-point of the lake. You can check the island out when the BNRC hosts the Ashmere Island Canoe and Kayak Trip from 10 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Sept. 13.

Bring your own canoe or kayak and a picnic lunch. The BNRC will put in at boat launch ramp at the south end of Lake Ashmere and complete "clean boat" certifications, then paddle under the road to the island at the north end of the lake, where kayakers will picnic and swim. This is a pristine lake partially lined with cottages.

Meet at 10 a.m. LP Adams, 484 Housatonic St, Dalton; the group will depart together from there. For directions and to sign up, call or email trip

leader Ken Kelly, (413) 329-9678 or The event will be canceled if high winds or thunderstorms are forecast.


The BNRC owns over 10,000 acres where you can hike, snowshoe, hunt for geocaches or place one yourself (check with BNRC for simple guidelines), run, hunt, take a nap, bird watch, paint pictures, take photos, get married, picnic or walk your dog responsibly. BNRC is a not-for-profit and relies on your support. Should you choose to donate, your gift will have an impact for generations to come.

To see its locations go to:

Ten of its favorite places are:


Take a hike! Or a walk, a swim, catch a fish, have a picnic, climb a mountain. The BNRC keeps land so you can enjoy it. Its top 10 trails offer a range of activities. For more information on the trails, visit

I, personally, cannot choose a favorite as each has something to endear itself to the visitor. Although, I will say Steven's Glen in Richmond is among them, and with the heavy rains we seem to be getting this summer, I can almost guarantee it will not be lackluster. It is easy to find the fall, just follow the red blazes on the trees to the enclosed platform overlook. For an easier return walk, turn left.

One hundred years ago, people paid 25 cents to visit this site. In keeping with BNRC's philosophy that we enjoy their properties free, keep your change in your pocket. The trail is short and sweet, descends several hundred feet through pine and old hardwood, turns North, then follows a stream before climbing to the falls. A great place to bring kids or have a picnic, this land is sure to enchant hikers for ages to come. And it's next to impossible to get lost on it.

To get there: From the center of Lenox, take Route 183 South 1.5 miles, passing Tanglewood. Where 183 bears left, turn right on Richmond Mountain Rd. Continue, and if you notice the sigh for Olivia's Lookout, pull over and enjoy the view. This is another BNCR property. Back on the road, continue to the top of the hill, turn left onto Lenox Branch Rd. (Lenox-West Stockbridge Road) and go 0.6 miles. Park at a small pull-off on the right with a sign for the Glen. Overflow parking is available 100 yards farther down the road.


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