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 2017 Update

At the January 12 Lenox Land Trust board meeting, Ken Kelly was elected president. Kate McNulty-Vaughan continues as vice president/clerk and Gene Chague continues as treasurer.

The Lenox Conservation Commission, on January 19, approved the Notice of Intent for boardwalks & trails construction at the Toole Wildlife Preserve, a major accomplishment toward creating public access to the Preserve. But Natural Heritage is requiring that a botanical survey be conducted of the areas impacted by the construction before any work can commence. This will result in a significant delay before public access trails can be developed.

The two snowshoe hikes that had been planned for late February on the Toole Wildlife Preserve have therefore been canceled and will not be rescheduled this winter.

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. 

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.

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 members of the community and visitors are able to experience and appreciate Parsons Marsh. The preliminary trail layout is depicted above and below.

Historical Marker on North Yokun Ridge

Undermountain Farm & Parsons Marsh

Guided Hike - Pleasant Valley Sanctuary

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!

Please call the BNRC office at 413-499-0596 with any questions about the proposed project, next steps, & draft timetable or email mgreer@bnrc.org. Hikes were offered on the following days and times:

  • Friday, April 21, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm (evening)
  • Saturday, April 29, 10:00 am - 11:00 am
  • Wednesday, May 3, 7:30 am - 8:30 am
  •                           AND 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Difficulty: Easy (slow pace, moderate elevation changes, easy off-trail walking), but the site will likely be wet. Wear sturdy footwear (waterproof is ideal), bring drinking water, and dress in layers.

Directions: From the center of Lenox Village, the intersection of Routes 7A and 183: Go west on Route 183/West Street for 1.4 miles to a right on Undermountain Road (opposite Tanglewood). Drive 0.75 miles on Undermountain Road to the temporary BNRC trailhead on the right.  Look for the BNRC sign.

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 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.

Undermountain Farm & Parsons Marsh

Monks Pond on North Yokun Ridge

Land Trust Schedules

2018 Board Meetings

Board meetings are all scheduled on a Thursday at 7:00 pm at Lenox Community Center. All meetings are open to the public.

 January 11

 March 8

 June 14

 September 13

 November 8 - annual meeting

Please cursor down for Parsons Marsh updates.