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Appalachian Trail

AMC Berkshire's 'Massachusetts Appalachian Trail Management Committee' is responsible for the maintenance, management, and protection of the almost 90 miles of Appalachian Trail within Massachusetts, coordinating the extensive volunteer effort that keeps the trail open and beautiful. We work in partnership with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and the National Park Service (NPS).

For trail updates, see below.

April to September, we organize regular work parties for maintenance and improvement of the footbed, trail shelters, signs, and so on.

Projects vary in complexity, but all include activities for both first timers and seasoned maintainers, so please check out the season's schedule of trail work days (download from our AT Getting Involved page) and then contact a project leader to join in the fun. No experience is necessary to participate! We also have some open positions for regular trail maintainers. If you're interested, see AT Getting Involved. Our committee meets regularly at the Mt. Greylock Visitors' Center in Lanesboro, MA.

Here is some basic information about hiking on the AT in Mass and a list of Massachusetts AT shelters and campsites. For much much more information about the trail, see some of the many excellent web sites about the AT.

AT News & Announcements

Berkshire Appalachian Trail Newsletter - April 2019

Check out the latest issue of the Appalachian Trail Newsletter!

In this issue:

  • AT Volunteer Gathering
  • Volunteer Recognition
  • Volunteer Spotlight
  • Monitoring Coordinator Position
  • Upcoming Events
  • Hours Report
  • Contact Us

Link: http://amcberkshire.org/files/at_committee/Mass_AT_April_2019_Newsletter.pdf

Appalachian Trail Project Schedule for 2019

The AT Committee has finalized our Project Schedule for the 2019 season.  Projects offer a wide range of experiences from off-trail boundary maintenance to light duty days at Upper Goose Pond Cabin.  This link will be updated as the season develops:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1iDbOZ3hNSzqLfk1bl-LTI1jIrxeMsLcvAKXnVa4A2G4/edit#gid=0

Projects are also listed on Outdoors.org under AMC Volunteer Activities:

 https://activities.outdoors.org/search/?mode=tile&type=3

Search for Volunteer Type: "Trail Work", Group/Chapter: "Berkshire (Mass)"

Contact at@amcberkshire.org for more info.

Appalachian Trail Volunteers Gather for 17th Annual Celebration in Great Barrington

Group photo AMC Berkshire Chapter Volunteer Appreciation Day

More than 75 current, former and prospective Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) Berkshire Chapter volunteers, spouses and friends, Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) staff met recently in Great Barrington at the 17th Annual Appalachian Trail (A.T.) Volunteer Gathering to share information and find out more about volunteering. The meeting was organized by Christine Ward from the Great Barrington Trails and Greenways.

Jim Pelletier, A.T. Management Committee Chair, welcomed the participants and shared some 2018 stats – 4,000 hikers at October Mountain Shelter, 900 overnight stays at Kay Wood Shelter. Additionally, more than 200 organized groups made use of the Trail and its campsites last season. Pelletier introduced some new members of the leadership team – Nancy Weld, group outreach coordinator; Monica Aguilar, public communications coordinator; and Nicole Graham, young members chair and recognized long time volunteers John Shuttleworth and Earl McWhorter. Martin Mahoney, Chairman of the AMC Berkshire Chapter, announced that the Chapter has received a $12K Grinspoon Foundation grant which has been split between the A.T. Management Committee and Noble View Outdoor Center. The grant will be used by the A.T. Committee and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to help mitigate widespread invasive species along the Trail in the Housatonic Valley.

Looking Back at 2018

Putting in a total of 6,712 hours in 2018, volunteers built a new dock at Upper Goose Pond, cleaned up Shays Rebellion Monument and worked on the tent pads for overnight sites at Tom Leonard and Mark Noepel shelters. Repairs were made to Sherman Brook tent platforms and replacement step stones were installed south of Blotz Road. Cheshire was recognized as the newest A.T. Community and residents helped to clean graffiti off of rocks at Cheshire Cobble.

Partner Updates

Becky Barnes, MA DCR Western Region Trails Supervisor, said that a modest increase in the DCR budget may allow the hiring of up to 50 full time people state wide, which could allow for the change from winter and summer seasonal employees to full time. The Recreational Trails Grant Program increased 60 percent in funding to $3,940,000 for 75 trail projects across MA and 60 community projects.

The Great Barrington-based Greenagers have purchased the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) Kellogg Conservation Center for their headquarters and will restore its former name of April Hill. Greenagers will base their community youth conservation and agricultural programs from their newly acquired facility.

Several breakout sessions provided attendees with the opportunity to dig into the details of specific A.T. trail management volunteer opportunities. These included: trail maintenance, trail corridor and boundary monitoring, overnight facility maintenance, natural and cultural heritage monitoring and caretaking at overnight sites and at Upper Goose Pond Cabin.

Andrea Lassor and Margaret Cahill, Co-Chairs for the A.T. Community Committee for Dalton, shared some upcoming plans to mark Dalton’s designation as an A.T. Community. Dalton is planning to collaborate with the public library and the Berkshire Natural Resources Council to host a “Hiking 101 Talk” to encourage local people to get out on the A.T. They plan to educate about “leave no trace” and that “you don’t have to be a thru hiker to enjoy the A.T.” They also hope to do a videotape telling the story of Kay Wood who lived on the trail and hosted hikers and was the first head of the A.T. Management Committee. Her design for Kay Wood Shelter is now used at other shelters along the A.T.

Looking Ahead to 2019

Some A.T. Committee leadership changes will go into effect this March. Pelletier will take over as Natural Resources coordinator from Smith and Catalano will take up the mantle of A.T. Management Committee Chair until March 2021, to be succeeded by Deb Weisenstein in 2021.

A draft list of trail projects for the upcoming season was circulated to volunteers for comments and suggestions. Proposed work includes repairs to trail bridges, addressing muddy areas and improvements and repairs to a number of overnight sites. A final work project list for the 2019 season will be distributed in late March.

Volunteers Recognized

Rob Bristow, Mary Berryhill, Nancy Eaton, Debra Klaber and Joanne Sheron were recognized for 25 years of service. Claudia Longmore, John Longmore, Peg Werns and Kevin Matthei were recognized for 1000 hours and John Purbrick was recognized for 500 hours of cumulative service. Also honored for up to 100 Hours of cumulative service were Margaret Cahill, Cathy Green, Andrea Lassor, Joe Masery, Mike O’Brien, Julianna Vanderweilen, Liz Young and Wayne Young. Bob Fowler, Hank Barton and John Sullivan were recognized with Retiree Awards.

The Appalachian Mountain Club Stewardship Society’s Pychowsaska Awards (for more than 96 hours of service in a single year) were presented to Cathy Green, Barbara King and Joanne Sheron. AMC’s Hart Award for more than 224 hours of service in 2018 went to Catalano, Fairbanks, Pelletier, Pirog, Rentz and Mike Brick.

COME CELEBRATE BERKSHIRE COUNTY'S CONNECTION WITH THE  A.T. THIS SUMMER

Hike and picnic with A.T. volunteers, maintainers and hikers on annual A.T. Community days scheduled for July 20 in Great Barrington and on July 27 in North Adams. Celebrations are also tentatively planned to mark the one-year anniversary of Cheshire’s designation and in Dalton. Anyone may volunteer for the A.T. by contacting Volunteer Coordinator, Cosmo Catalano at at@amcberkshire.org.

By Andrea Minoff

17TH ANNUAL MASS AT VOLUNTEER GATHERING

Current volunteers and anyone interested in volunteering on the AT in Massachusetts welcome. Great opportunity to find out what the AT Volunteers have been up to, meet the people involved and learn about our volunteer opportunities and join in the fun!

LOCATION: Monument Valley Regional Middle School, Great Barrington, MA

REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Click here for information about the event. Click here to register using Eventbrite.

Date: 
Saturday, February 2, 2019 - 9:00am

The World is our Classroom: An Afternoon with Author Cindy Ross

Cindy’s story begins in the Rocky Mountain wilderness on a unique and extraordinary journey: two parents leading their young children 3,100 miles on the backs of llamas. This Canada-Mexico trek illustrated to Cindy and her husband what experiential education can do. Inspired by the experience, they went on to create a new way of supplementing their children’s education, focusing on two arenas for learning: the natural world and travel.

A deep believer in Richard Louv's worldwide advocacy of reconnecting children to the natural world, The World is Our Classroom- (Skyhorse Publishing, NYC) shows us examples of how the rich environment presents a multitude of ways to teach and learn. One of the most concrete results of a childhood spent closely connected to nature is how it feeds creativity. Creative thinking and problem solving are essential to building and maintaining a healthy, sustainable world. In this age of world connection, it is also increasingly important to raise children who are broad-minded, empathetic and knowledgeable about other cultures. This can best be accomplished by transporting our children out of their insulated, narrowly-focused lives and into the big world.

A group of Berkshire youth will open the afternoon’s events with reflections on their experience on the Appalachian Trail and Mt. Greylock as part of the Massachusetts Youth Trail Summit. Cindy’s talk will be followed by Q&A and book signing.

The Stationery Factory
63 Flansburg Ave. Dalton, MA 01226

This event is free, but tickets are required - visit tinyurl.com/worldclassroom

Date: 
Sunday, September 30, 2018 - 2:30pm to 4:30pm

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