Lenox Land Trust

To preserve and maintain the rural New England character of Lenox

Presentation to George (Gige) Darey

Land Trust Annual Meeting

Held in December 2015

Topics discussed included a review of the Lenox Land Trust's efforts in support of BNRC's continuing efforts to permanently preserve Undermountain Farm; a motion was also made and approved to donate $1,000 of Land Trust funds to BNRC to support this effort.

In a desire to become more active and visible, bimonthly board meetings were scheduled for 2016, on second Thursdays (1/14, 3/10, 6/9, 9/8 and 11/10), all open to the public. The Land Trust will also start sponsoring public events, starting with two snowshoe hikes in February on the Toole Wildlife Preserve. Similar future outings might highlight the Post Farm.

Three recently initiated projects were summarized - a major updating of the Land Trust's website on a new platform (GoDaddy) by board member Ken Kelly, targeted for a late February launch; public access trails planning in collaboration with the Toole family for the new 111 acre Toole Wildlife Preserve; and the development with several town committees of a Lenox recreational resources brochure highlighting hiking and biking trails.

Lorraine Schultz's retirement from the board was announced, and Tanya Kalischer was voted on as a new board member; possible future changes in board structure were also discussed. A report was also shared summarizing the November workshop conducted for the town's Community Preservation Committee and Board of Selectmen by the state-wide Community Preservation Council; several Land Trust members had also attended.

Riley Burke with LLT Board member Kate McNulty-Vaughan at Lenox MMHS on Senior Awards Night in June. Riley is displaying her logo contest winning design, featuring a great blue heron.

Undermountain Farm Preservation Update (as of December 2015)

The Berkshire Natural Resources Council, in collaboration with the Lenox Land Trust, successfully raised the remaining $115,000 at the end of 2015; 240 households and individuals contributed to preserve forever 83 acres of the Sprague family's iconic Undermountain Farm property. In 2016, BNRC's efforts will continue to conserve the remaining 63-acre parcel, which contains the northern section of Parsons Marsh - a wetland wildlife refuge. The map to the right depicts the Farm Parcel (in blue) proposed for a conservation restriction set to close in early 2016. The Marsh Parcel (in green) is proposed for fee acquisition subject to BNRC raising the $180,000 purchase price. Public access walking trails to be developed are depicted by dotted red lines. The Exclusion portion (in yellow) is the area of the Undermountain Farm's dwellings, barns and riding stables. For more details, visit the Berkshire Natural Resources Council website. 

Monks Pond on North Yokun Ridge

Lenox Land Trust

2018 Annual Meeting

At our annual meeting on Thursday,  November 8 at the Lenox Community Center, LLT's recent efforts and near-future plans were summarized. Forester Peter Foster explained forestry management plans, using the town's Post Farm as an example. BNRC president Jenny Hansell shared BNRC's vision for The High Road - a hiking trails network connecting to Berkshire towns. LLT founding board member Gige Darey, who recently retired off the board, was recognized with Emeritus status, and Lenox DPW director Bill Gop was appointed to the board.

Annual Public Meeting

of the Lenox Land Trust

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lenox Community Center

Presentations included updates on:

  • BNRC's Public Access Plans for Parsons Marsh
  • BNRC's Vision for The High Road for Berkshire County - Hiking trails that will connect to each other and to many lodging and eating locations
  • Aerial drone tour and public access plans for the new 111 acre Toole Wildlife Preserve
  • The Mount's proposed new trail network
  • Other exciting conservation and public access news

Life Time Achievement Awards were presented to Charlie Liston and George (Gige) Darey in recognition of their many years of dedication and efforts for the preservation of open space and land conservation for the residents of Lenox and Berkshire County. Light refreshments were served and lucky attendees won the drawings for these free books by local authors.

Cursor down for "older" Parsons Marsh updates.

Land Trust President Tom Romeo

presents certificate to Charlie Liston

Toole Wildlife Preserve

River Float Trip - Deckers Landing to Woods Pond

Land Trust Events & News Items

Parsons Marsh Update (November 2016)

Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) has been working for over three years to conserve Parsons Marsh and its supporting watershed. A vital aspect of BNRC’s conservation strategy is increasing public access to the marsh and surrounding lands. Portions of the trail are being planned for universal accessibility to ensure all community members and visitors are able to experience and appreciate Parsons Marsh. See preliminary trail layout to the right and below.

BNRC president Jenny Hansell presents at Lenox Land Trust 2018 annual meeting

Historical Marker on North Yokun Ridge

Undermountain Farm & Parsons Marsh

Guided Hike - Pleasant Valley Sanctuary

The Parsons Marsh Trail Grand Opening Event, Lenox, was Saturday, September 15th, 2018, and over 200 people attended! This trail, including its boardwalks, was then closed for several weeks to complete final construction, but is now fully open to the public. BNRC & LLT co-hosted guided public walks there in mid-October, & we expect there will be more.

Annual Meeting Update - November 2017

Storytellers Amy Lafave, Gige Darey, Olga Weiss and George Wislocki regaled us with historical and humorous stories of land deals at our Annual Meeting & Community Conversation, November 9th, at Lenox Community Center. Updates were shared about plans for boardwalks construction at the Toole Wildlife Preserve to restore public access and BNRC's plans to construct a public accessible trail and boardwalk system to Parson Marsh in 2018. The book drawing was held, awarding four donated books to lucky recipients. At the business meeting that followed, reports on conservation restriction monitoring were provided, and plans for snowshoe hikes/winter walk-arounds at Toole Wildlife Preserve, Post Farm and Edith Wharton Park were shared. 

BNRC's proposed boardwalk in Lenox unanimously approved by voters!

Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) submitted an application to the Community Preservation Committee to support its proposed universally accessible trail and boardwalk at Parsons Marsh off Undermountain Road. The requested funding was unanimously approved by voters at the Lenox Annual Town Meeting on May 4, 2017.

In advance of the vote, BNRC offered guided walks at Parsons Marsh, assisted by volunteers from Lenox Land Trust. They discussed the proposed project and walked in the vicinity of the estimated route toward this stunning wetland. This was a good chance to learn more about the project and ask any questions before the Town Meeting. Lenox residents were encouraged to attend, but certainly non-residents were also welcome!

Lenox Apple Squeeze 2016

Two 2016 Outings were scheduled to introduce & explore Toole Wildlife Preserve

Wednesday, February 24 (canceled; weather advisory)

Saturday, February 27, 10 am to 12 noon

Attendees parked and met behind Hampton Inn & Suites, 445 Pittsfield Road (Routes 7 & 20), Lenox. Outing leaders Ken Kelly and Kate McNulty-Vaughan amended the hike route to stay off the ponds, as ice was unsafe. Participants were impressed by the potentials of the property. Sponsored by Lenox Land Trust. See Our Lands for details about the Preserve.

Lenox Apple Squeeze 2016

Lenox Land Trust board members Kate McNulty-Vaughan, Joe Strauch and others staffed an information booth at the annual Lenox Apple Squeeze event in downtown Lenox on Saturday, September 25.  New members signed up, donations were made, and attendees were educated about land conservation in Lenox and plans for future public access to the recently created Toole Wildlife Preserve.

January/February 2018 Update

At the January 11 Lenox Land Trust board meeting, officers were re-elected for 2018 - Ken Kelly, president; Kate McNulty-Vaughan, vice president/clerk and Gene Chague, treasurer.

A primary topic of discussion was the need to identify high priority parcels in Lenox for conservation, to be followed by related exploratory reach-outs to the landowners. More work on this is targeted throughout 2018.

Two snowshoe hikes were planned for 10 am on Wednesday, February 21st and Saturday, 24th on the Toole Wildlife Preserve. As there was little snow those days and the ice on the ponds was chancy, the hikes happened, but as partial out-and-back hikes on a portion of the Preserve.

Several board members will be attending the Mass Land Conservation Conference in Worcester on March 24.