Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership sharing revised plan with member towns

  • Members of the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership participate in their annual meeting remotely and in person at Berkshire East’s Crazy Horse Bar and Grill in Charlemont on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer
Published: 6/8/2022 4:38:18 PM

CHARLEMONT — The Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership is eliciting feedback from its 21 member towns on a revised plan that will shape the organization’s values and goals for the next 10 years.

Members of the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership, who met at Berkshire East’s Crazy Horse Bar and Grill on Tuesday, are more than halfway through meeting with the selectboards of the 21 towns to talk about the revised plan. The group hopes to ratify the plan in October.

The Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership, which formed in 2013, is a grassroots program focused on conserving forests and supporting sustainable management with relation to economic development in rural communities.

The plan can be found on the partnership’s website,, where a section for public comment is also available. The group will also host two listening sessions with the public on Aug. 24, at 4 p.m. and Sept. 14, at 7 p.m.

“The revision has consumed the bulk of our energy over the past year to 18 months,” said Hank Art, Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership chair and representative for Williamstown. A 2016 plan was drafted before the partnership was an official body, and the first task the state made for the group was to create a 10-year plan.

“The original plan was inconsistent with state legislation,” Art continued. The plan must be compatible with the state’s stewardship framework.


The group also provided updates on a three-year grant totaling $120,000 that is allowing the organization to plant trees along rivers in the region. This grant was given by the U.S. Forest Service and matched by the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

The initial study to find where to plant trees to decrease erosion and restore degraded floodplains was conducted by students at the Conway School of Landscape Design. The first site they identified is along the Deerfield River, where the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership has already begun planting. Next year, members will plant along the Hoosic River. They have not identified a location for the third year of the grant.

The partnership also unanimously approved submitting a $1.11 million earmark proposal to U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey. If received, the money would be used to establish climate-smart nurseries to train a new generation in the field of sustainable forestry.

“Many nurseries today rely on peat moss,” Art said. “These nurseries use more carbon than they absorb.”

The program would hire Springfield Technical Community College students.

Current projects

Laura Brennan, economic development program manager for the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, presented plans for the Greylock Glen Outdoor Center in Adams. The center will break ground next week. The original vision began in 2004, and has a price tag of $8.3 million.

“We see the center as a satellite to further Mohawk Trail goals,” Brennan said.

Art also gave a presentation on the findings of a project conducted by Williams College students Abigail Matheny and Sabrine Brismeur. The students found three potential locations for a new forest center in Charlemont and one location in Florida.

Doug McNally, Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership’s representative for Windsor, said, “We can’t lose the knowledge of what already exists. If we make a new site, it needs to complement our other facilities in the region.”

Bob O’Connor, representative to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership, presented the group’s project for a Virtual Forest Center. The partnership is attempting to create a more interactive website for municipalities and landowners to learn about sustainable forestry.

Contact Bella Levavi at 413-930-4579 or


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261


Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy