Editorial: A better walk through Shelburne Falls

Monday, June 11, 2018

Here are some brief thoughts on events making news from around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area:

We were impressed with the way Shelburne has found to tout the some of the lesser known but interesting features of the town.

What started out as a walking tour of distinctive town trees has grown into “A Walking Tour of Shelburne Falls,” encompassing trees, landmarks and buildings on the Shelburne side of the village.

The Shelburne Open Space Committee put together a brochure in honor of Shelburne’s 250th anniversary. It is designed to get visitors in this easily walkable village to go beyond the Glacial Potholes, the Bridge of Flowers and the Bridge Street shops.

The Recreation Committee, Selectboard, tree warden, historical society and Franklin Regional Council of Governments participated in this project.

The brochure contains a color map that identifies 16 trees, 10 historic landmarks and 12 historic houses. Each tree is identified by a sign placed either on the tree or on a post in front of the tree.

The entire tour can be walked in one to two hours at a leisurely pace, according to the committee.

Tax less

As the annual town meeting season winds down and localities establish their annual operating budgets, it’s interesting to see Leverett decide to set a cap of 1.5 percent for future budget increases rather than the state-allowed 2.5 percent.

Most towns struggle to live within their state tax caps. It’s rare for a town to lower the cap. Must be nice.

Turning a page

Has Turners Falls finally moved beyond the often vitriolic debate about its high school mascot? “Thunder” is the new official mascot/logo for its teams and by extension for its school identity.

We suspect older generations of alumni will always feel like “Indians,” but Turners Falls High students of tomorrow may wonder what the rumble was all about.

Garage rising

At last, starting this week, Greenfield residents will begin to see the long-awaited downtown parking garage rise up off Olive Street. Finally over are months of complicated site preparation.

Downtown shoppers, revelers, restaurant patrons, Amtrak riders and courthouse users will likely enjoy the convenience of the central parking facility.

But first, we all have to tolerate the daily, day-long impact on traffic from tractor-trailer shipments down Main Street and Court Square of the huge pre-cast concrete “Lego” blocks from which the structure will be assembled.

By Halloween, they say.

Bee there

Greenfield’s bee festival keeps growing, and we hope it continues to grow.

All of the events Saturday were free and in honor of L.L. Langstroth, known as “the father of modern beekeeping,” who served as pastor of Greenfield’s Second Congregational Church from 1840 to 1848. He brought a stock of bees in a hollow log when he arrived and later patented his design for a moveable-frame hive, that white box that is still the standard today.

He wrote “Langstroth on the Hive and the Honey-bee,” the Greenfield-published manual that became the bible of beekeeping.

There was lots of bee-themed activity: Honey Bee Tea Party, bee games, bee piñatas and Magpie honey pie samples, a “pollinators parade” of children dressed as honeybees, butterflies and flowers through the Greenfield Farmers Market.

Bees are vital to anyone who eats food because they are the chief pollinators who facilitate the growth of so many fruits and vegetables, and in recent times have become victim to various parasites and ailments that have endangered their crucial role in our food chain.


Teams of high school students from Pioneer Valley Regional and Greenfield High schools placed in the Massachusetts Envirothon last week, with Pioneer Valley taking third place overall.

The competition challenged teams of students from state high schools to devise ways to improve watershed protection and ecosystems in their communities.

Pioneer also placed second in Forestry, third in Wildlife and fourth in Soils.

Greenfield High School placed second in the Current Issue category.