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Forests and Parks

Threatened Lands

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

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.

Blackstone 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 Dennis Rochon

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 park.

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 Reservoir.



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.


See Also
Forests & Parks

Threatened Lands

Mt. Wachusett

Forest Management on Massachusetts Public Lands  

The Parks Protection Package, a legislative initiative


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