Throughout the State, we have been documenting lands that are
threatened and/or damaged.
- Greylock Glen
- Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park
- Mount Holyoke Range State Park and Skinner State Park
- Lowell Dracut Tyngsboro State Forest
Greylock Glen as it exists now is a delightful and varied combination
of fields, woods, brooks and wetlands. There are rare species and old
trees. What the Glen needs is protection - from development and misuse.
Most development should happen in the town, preserving the magic of
Greylock Glen for present and future generations.
Chapter 676 of the Acts of 1985 created the Greylock Glen concept: a
development at the foot of the Commonwealth's highest peak, Mt.
Greylock, and adjacent to the state's oldest Reservation, the Mt.
Greylock State Reservation. The plan was intended to protect the
mountain and reservation from inappropriate privately-funded development
(including a downhill ski resort) and provide economic stimulus to the
region by creating a "private-public" partnership to develop a
recreation-based project on this site. The state took the property by
eminent domain and sought to develop the land. The Sierra Club took up
the challenge shortly thereafter, when the first proposal mushroomed
into a huge resort, and has stayed involved ever since. Two major
proposals have gone down to defeat, one at the end of the Dukakis
administration in the late 1980s, the other in the late 90s at the end
of the Swift administration. Having spent two decades, and most (if not
all) of the money originally allocated for this project, the
Commonwealth is now proposing a much more modest-sized development: "The
Greylock Outdoor Recreation and Environmental Center Facility."
In early 2004, the Commonwealth introduced a new Master Plan for the
Greylock Glen and sought proposals to build it. The focus is on
environmental education, outdoor recreation, "sustainability" and "green
technology." The development area is limited to 50 acres. The Plan
prohibits golf, housing, downhill skiing and major commercial
development. The Sierra Club called for permanent protection for the
undeveloped parcels (by permanent conservation restrictions or
easements, or by adding the land to the adjacent Mt Greylock State
Reservation) in order to guarantee the proper stewardship of the Glen.
River & Canal Heritage State Park, Uxbridge, MA
Photo and commentary by Jeff Haynes
The red building, now a visitor's center, used to be a barn for the
River Bend Farm, which was a dairy operation until about 30 years ago.
The park has a very flat, well-kept trail that runs along the
Blackstone River and canal. The trail, connected to the parking area by
a small bridge, is a scenic, easy walk for people who want to get out
into nature but may not be able to handle rigorous hiking. It's also a
great surface for runners.
Mount Holyoke Range State Park
Amherst, Granby, Hadley and South Hadley, MA;
and Skinner State Park, Hadley and South Hadley, MA
Photos of the Range,
from the Range, and of Lithia Springs Reservoir and a nearby stream by
The Mount Holyoke Range State Park includes parcels on this mountain
range that cuts across the Connecticut River Valley. The mountains
themselves are scenic, as are the view of the valley from the mountains.
The best-known views are from the Summit House and the picnic grounds on
the summit of Mt Holyoke. The summit area is called Skinner State Park,
named after the man who first gave the land on top of the mountain as a
The major threats to
the Parks are: development on the privately-owned parcels on the Range
and nearby valley, pests such as the Hemlock woolley adelgid, and abuse
by off-roaders, particularly in the vicinity of the Lithia Springs
North from the porch of the Summit House.
Winter: from the summit towards Mt Sugarloaf in the north.
Lithia Spring Reservoir in summer and winter
Late winter: the ice melts in Lithia Springs Reservoir
Winter: fun in the snow
Unfortunately, the Range is abused by various kinds of off-road and
all-terrain riders. Photos and comments by Elisa Campbell
Snowmobiles on a trail with "No Snowmobile" markers
Hiking past ATV-created puddles near Lithia Springs Reservoir
Lowell Dracut Tyngsboro (LDT) State Forest Dracut
Lowell and Tyngsboro, MA
The LDT State Forest provides a welcome respite from urbanization in
northeastern Massachusetts. It has ponds, wetlands, and diverse
woodlands. It is used for hiking, cross-country skiing, and mountain
biking by people in the region, who greatly appreciate its value.
Threats: The LDT State Forest is small, and houses are built right
next to its borders. It suffers great abuse by off-roaders during the
warmer (and wetter) months of the year, and snowmobilers and off-roaders
during the winter.