Oranging Orange

Published: 3/25/2020 6:49:31 AM

In 2010 Greenfield formed a collaboration of concerned citizens, residents, businesses and town government called Greening Greenfield. Their mission was to make Greenfield a more sustainable, resilient, and vibrant place to live.

I think Greenfield has set a great example for surrounding towns. And if Greenfield can get greener why couldn’t Orange get oranger? How many people know that Orange was named after William, Prince of Orange, heir apparent to the Dutch throne as the eldest son of King William III? But what if Orange could become well-known for actually turning orange? After all, there’s practically nothing more vibrant than orange. Would you go see it?

The Mohawk Trail was the first scenic road in New England. With its 63 miles of unsurpassed beauty and 50,000 acres of state parks and forests it is widely known as one of the greatest tourist attractions in the entire northeastern United States. Orange was once considered the start of the world-famous Mohawk Trail. However, today the first stop for most visitors is the French King Bridge. From there they head to Turners Falls, Greenfield, Shelburne Falls, and on to points west.

Of the thousands of tourists visiting the Mohawk Trail each year, most of them travel right through Orange on Route 2 without ever stopping. This is a huge missed opportunity for the Friendly Town. But I believe the town of Orange can become known as “The Gateway to the Mohawk Trail.” Like other towns along the Mohawk Trail who have capitalized on their own natural beauty, so should Orange.

If Orange is to become the first tourist stop on the Mohawk Trail, it will need a beautiful attraction, particularly in the fall when people come from all over the world to see our foliage. Check out the sign-in register at the Shelburne Falls Bridge of Flowers sometime! The tourists flocking to the Mohawk Trail are coming simply because it is beautiful. And there is no more beautiful sight in the fall than the vibrant orange foliage of the sugar maple tree.

I propose a challenge to the town of Orange and its citizens to plant 1,000 sugar maple trees. If the town took the lead and planted sugar maple trees at its town departments, parks, and along the streets near the center of town, perhaps the citizens of Orange would accept the challenge and follow suit. Imagine the explosion of color each fall as the town of Orange turns vibrant orange. This is the type of public relations story that could attract national attention and help Orange reclaim its rightful title as the Gateway to the Mohawk Trail.

Len Bedaw is the Orange Airport manager.


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