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Commentary :: Environment
Greylock Glen
18 Jan 2004
Greylock Glen is a 1,060-acre stretch of public land located at the base of Mount Greylock Reservation. Mount Greylock is the highest elevation in the state of Massachusetts. At a height of 3,491 feet above sea level, the summit allows for a breathtaking view of five states on a clear day. In recognition of its height and scenic beauty, the state of Massachusetts named Mount Greylock as its first state reservation in 1898. Its numerous trails, breathtaking views, ponds, waterfalls and wildlife have led to its renown in the tourism industry.
Greylock Glen sits above the town of Adams and offers residents a place to explore wildlife and natural beauty. The Glen property is frequently used by local residents for hiking, biking, swimming, bird watching, and hunting. Many of the Glen’s trails connect with and/or lead to the summit of Mount Greylock Reservation.
The state of Massachusetts purchased the Glen in the 1980s. Prior to that the property was privately owned by local farmers. Upon purchase of the property, Massachusetts officials placed it in the custody of the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and simultaneously passed legislation that required the DEM to develop the Glen into an economically productive venture that “would utilize the area’s recreational potential to aid the weak economy of northern Berkshire County.” Since then, the DEM has spent millions of dollars preparing numerous proposals, and almost thirty years later, the Glen remains undeveloped and development of the Glen is still a subject of much debate.
The DEM’s first proposal was a residential project that entailed building 1300 houses on the Glen. This proposal met with strong opposition. Next was a golf course/ski resort that actually began to undergo development but was later abandoned due to bankruptcy. A more recent proposal included a multi-million dollar resort that would feature a golf course, hotel and conference center, homes, and an environmental center. In July of 2001, Governor Swift halted the project. The most recent proposal was to establish an environmental education center. Proposals for this project were rejected in August 2003 because they did not meet the original intentions of supporting the local economy.
Since it is inappropriate to charge a parks agency with undertaking a major economic development project because this lies outside the core mission of land stewardship, it is time for state officials to reconsider the developmental legislation that was passed when the Glen was acquired and put to rest the controversy surrounding the development of the Glen. ’AS IN Lets not waste any more money and time; thirty years is enough. The money and efforts that have been directed toward the Glen’s development would be better spent developing downtown structures and businesses. We urge the preservation, for generations to come, the area known as Greylock Glen by annexing it to Mount Greylock Reservation.
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