|Grants to Support Rural Economies and Forest Conservation in the Berkshires|
|10:55AM / Thursday, September 14, 2023|
BOSTON — The Healey-Driscoll Administration awarded $460,000 in grant funding to increase economic development focusing on the conservation and sustainable management of forests within Massachusetts' Woodlands Partnership of Western Massachusetts region.
Through the Woodlands Partnership Grants, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is supporting nine rural communities and three regional conservation and economic development organizations in improving access to outdoor recreation in town and state forests, improving the safety of outdoor recreation, and implementing climate-smart forestry practices.
"We're investing in Massachusetts' rural communities to unlock the full potential of our forests – from tourism, to recreation, to robust economic development," said EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper. "The Woodland Partnership Grants support the conservation of one of our most spectacular regions while also helping local economies in a sustainable way."
In Berkshire County:
Windsor: $24,984 for Climate Smart Road Maintenance (invasives reduction)
Completes an invasive species inventory and report for 15 miles of gravel roads through Windsor State Forest maintained by the Town and purchases a special mowing attachment to implement the plan.
Williamstown: $25,000 for Town Green Plantings for Resilience and Diversity
Completes the planting of the Town Green with a diversity of species to replace ash trees lost to the Emerald Ash Borer.
New Ashford: $22,400 for Creation of a Trailhead Parking and Picnic Area
Funds the purchase of land and the development of a parking and picnic area to give residents and visitors access to the Mt. Greylock Reservation.
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission: $75,000 for the Greylock Glen Forest Center Exhibit
Funds the design and installation of an exhibit in the new Forest Center to highlight the role of forests in stabilizing the impacts of climate change
Lever, Inc: $75,000 for Launching the Woodcraft Collaborative to support local wood businesses
Supports business development and marketing for dozens of small businesses that utilize local wood to produce a variety of products.
Peru: $20,000 for the Pierce Scenic Way -gaining access to forests for tourism
Completes the restoration of this scenic gravel road to give access to a large state-owned parcel. As with many of the grants, the Town will provide significant match when implementing of the project.
Adams: $25,000 for the Greylock Glen Forest Center (local wood, buildings and climate exhibit)
Funds the design and installation of a climate exhibit about the benefits of using local wood in large buildings such as the Forest Center.
The program follows the passage of 2018 law that officially launched the regional partnership to improve rural economic development based through sustainable forest conservation, tourism, and support for the fiscal stability of these communities – the most rural and forested in Massachusetts. The Woodlands Partnership is a grassroots-led program developed after dozens of local meetings. The resulting program is based on conserving forests and supporting their sustainable management to improve the economy along the Vermont and New York border.