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Conservation News

Big News:  The Great American Outdoors Act  Including Permanent Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Passed in the US Senate - Now let's get it passed in the House

We have our best opportunity ever to secure permanent funding for this critical source of money for preserving natural, cultural, and recreational resources for ourseleves and future generations. See current initiatives tab for more details.

 

Old Growth Forest Protection

Now is our chance to save the remaining old growth Forests in Massachusetts. A bill to protect old growth forest on state lands [ https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S485 ] is on the move in our state legislature. If you believe we should protect our last remaining old growth forests on state lands please contact your state senator and urge her/him to call for a favorable finding on bill S.485 by the Senate Ways and Means Committee and passage by the senate. This would be especially helpful if your senator is on the Ways and Means Committee [ see https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Detail/S30].

Help Wanted

The chapter conservation committee is looking to chapter members to warn us of threats to trail corridors, scenic vistas, and vital ecosystems. Whether it's development, inappropriate resource managemnt, invasive species, etc.  that poses the threat, the chapter cannot help if it desn't know. If you are aware of an issue please contact conservation@amcberkshire.org

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Conservation News

Conservation News

Big News:  The Great American Outdoors Act  Including Permanent Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Passed in the US Senate - Now let's get it passed in the House

We have our best opportunity ever to secure permanent funding for this critical source of money for preserving natural, cultural, and recreational resources for ourseleves and future generations. See current initiatives tab for more details.

 

Old Growth Forest Protection

Now is our chance to save the remaining old growth Forests in Massachusetts. A bill to protect old growth forest on state lands [ https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S485 ] is on the move in our state legislature. If you believe we should protect our last remaining old growth forests on state lands please contact your state senator and urge her/him to call for a favorable finding on bill S.485 by the Senate Ways and Means Committee and passage by the senate. This would be especially helpful if your senator is on the Ways and Means Committee [ see https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Detail/S30].

Help Wanted

The chapter conservation committee is looking to chapter members to warn us of threats to trail corridors, scenic vistas, and vital ecosystems. Whether it's development, inappropriate resource managemnt, invasive species, etc.  that poses the threat, the chapter cannot help if it desn't know. If you are aware of an issue please contact conservation@amcberkshire.org

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Current Conservation Initiatives

 

 

 

The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) including Permanent funding for LWCF Passed  in the Senate! The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is the most important source of funding for conservation land acquisition in the nation. This Federal program, funded with the proceeds from offshore leases, has provided billions of dollars for  wild and recreational lands around the country, including many millions of dollars in Massachusetts. However until now it's funding is always in jeopardy, but now is our chance to secure permanent funding. 

Please write a quick email message to help protect threatened hiking, paddling, and climbing areas.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) played a key role in preserving hundreds of thousands of acres of the land we love. We now have a chance to secure permanent funding for the LWCF so it will be available to help purchase and other important conservation lands. The US Senate passed  and the House will soon be considering the Great American Outdoors Act which will secure permanent funding for the LWCF and fund a huge backlog of projects to improve recreation in our national parks, forests, and monuments. We need you to make your voices heard to help this bill pass! (Learn more at https://www.outdoors.org/conservation-action-network/lwcf-permanent-funding)

It is easy to help. All it takes is a quick email message. Trust us, these messages are read, noticed, and have impact.

 

“My name is [your name], and I live in [city, state]. I am member of the Appalachian Mountain Club. Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act is essential for conserving land, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities in the Northeast. I urge you to request Speaker Pelosi to bring permanent Great American Outdoors Act​ to a vote. Please do all you can to see that this vote takes place, helping to secure more of our natural, cultural, and recreational resources for now and for generations to come.”

If you live in in Congressional District 1:

If you live in Congressional District 2:

 

You are done! Thank you for helping support the LWCF!

Questions? Contact Robert Cherdack, Berkshire Chapter Conservation Chair, via email at conservation@amcberkshire.org

 

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Old Growth Forest Protection

Now is our chance to save the remaining old growth Forests in Massachusetts. A bill to protect old growth forest on state lands [ https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S485 ] is on the move in our state legislature. If you believe we should protect our last remaining old growth forests on state lands please contact your state senator and urge her/him to call for a favorable finding on bill S.485 by the Senate Ways and Means Committee and passage by the senate. This would be especially helpful if your senator is on the Ways and Means Committee [ see https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Detail/S30].

 

More Information

This bill provides much-needed permanent protection for the last stands of ancient trees found on state lands.

Old-growth forests are extremely rare, and serve as "living laboratories" where students, scientists, and the public can learn more about forest development, tree genetics and climate change. Although 3 million of Massachusetts' 5 million acres are forested, only 1,500 acres of this land is original old-growth forest.

These ancient groves are scattered throughout the state in small patches, with most on the steep mountainsides of Western Massachusetts managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The value of these rapidly disappearing old-growth forests to people and wildlife is immeasurable; in forests that have not been disturbed for hundreds of years, canopy layers and fallen trees create rich and diverse habitats for many species of birds, insects and reptiles. These areas also act as carbon sinks– helping to sequester global warming gases.

Currently, old-growth forests in Massachusetts are not lawfully protected from timber cutting, only by policy that could change at any time.

This bill would:

  • Protect old-growth forests from logging and development by establishing a system of permanent old-growth forest reserves on state lands.
  • Require an inventory of the forests on state-owned land to determine the extent and condition of old-growth forest stands and their surrounding landscapes.
  • Include an assessment and selection of future old-growth forest areas that exhibit characteristics which, if left undisturbed, would meet the definition of an old-growth forest.
  • Prohibit new development, new or expanded recreational facilities, and commercial timber cutting in old-growth forest.
  • Establish a research and education program to monitor the status and promote understanding of old-growth forest reserves.

MA Old Growth Forest Bill Fact Sheet 

For another urgent matter see https://www.outdoors.org/conservation-action-network/rollback-climate-regulations 

 

For comments, questions, offers to help, contact: conservation@amcberkshire.org

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Volunteer-led Activities to Resume after June 22nd

Although the COVID 19 pandemic is by no means over, AMC and the Berkshire Chapter are applying careful evidence-based risk management practices to chart a path forward for volunteer-led outdoor activities to resume safely. 

On June 22 we will begin offering volunteer-led activities in small groups employing social distancing measures. Group size will be capped at ten (10) participants including leaders. Activity leaders are receiving training on new trip safety protocols and procedures. 

Advance registration will now be required for all trips, and will use an online registration system. During registration, participants will electronically sign a liability waiver, and provide contact information that allows contact tracing should anyone report a positive test for COVID 19 within 14 days of the event.

The advance registration procedure will require registrants to review and acknowledge these expectations as a condition of participating in the activity:

  1. All participants must follow state and local stay-at-home guidance and cancel their participation if such guidance changes before the date of the event.
  2. All participants must bring and wear face coverings as required, and agree to follow the guidance in place in the state where the event takes place as well as follow the directions of the Leader.  
  3. All participants must maintain appropriate social distancing and follow the guidance of the Activity Leader. 
  4. All participants must bring their own water bottles, meals, eating utensils, and hand sanitizer with 60% or greater alcohol content. 
  5. Participants must contact AMC if they test positive for COVID- 19 within 14 days of the event, to enable contact tracing. 

We feel confident that these new procedures will allow small groups of participants to once again enjoy the unique pleasures of volunteer-led outdoor activities, with the attendant benefits to health and well being, while managing and minimizing the risks of exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Follow this link to explore upcoming chapter trips.

Chapter Activity Leaders can follow this link to access various resources related to leading chapter trips during Phase 2.

CANCELED: 50th Earth Year Kick-off Event with Naturalist and Radio Host Laurie Sanders

Effective 3/12/2020, "A Call to Action and Celebration of Biodiversity" is canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Please stay safe and follow all guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Date: 
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 6:00pm
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Senate Passes Land and Water Conservation Legislation

On February 12th, the United States Senate voted 92 to 8 to pass legislation that included permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund ( LWCF). The LWCF, which is supported by a share of the income the federal government receives from off-shore oil and other leases, is the principal source of federal funds for land acquisition for parks and reserves as well as  for recreational developments. It had been in place for more than fifty years before it was allowed to expire last fall. The Senate vote for authorization was a top priority for the AMC and a host of other conservation and outdoor recreation organizations. The funding can be used at the federal, state, or local levels.

The next step in the process is for the House of Representatives to approve the measure, which appears near certain considering the very broad support the measure has in the House. Indications are that the President will sign the measure when it reaches his desk.

While authorization represents major progress, it takes an appropriation to make the funds available. The LWCF had been authorized at $900 million for years, but the funds actually appropriated each year have averaged less than half of that, so stand by to help in a major push for LWCF dedicated funding legislation, so that we ensure the full amount that goes into the fund is spent on conservation.

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