The Riverfront Trail opens to the community on September 30, 2020
For Immediate Release: Great Barrington, MA - This new trail along the Housatonic River includes two sections recently completed by the Great Barrington Land Conservancy includes two sections, from Bridge Street to Olympian Meadows, and from Brookside Road to the fairgrounds boundary in Great Barrington. The trail was designed and built by Peter S. Jensen and Associates, an internationally-known trail design firm that began its work with construction of the path at the Housatonic River Walk. This new community trail provides a level walking path of crushed stone, perfect for a baby stroller or a wheelchair.
The trail is open from dawn to dusk, year-round and features a wooden footbridge, reconstructed stone drainage culvert, split rail fencing, and seating benches. Visitors can now visit parts of the Housatonic that have been inaccessible for decades. There are new views of the river, new places for birdwatching, and the chance to see the majestic Searles Castle from a new perspective. From Bridge St. the pathway follows the river edge, enters the forested areas behind the Castle, emerges across the open field and then re-enters woodlands before emerging at Olympian Meadows. The segment at Brookside Road was cut through dense brush and reveals both river and mountain views. Two benches are available there for seating and wildlife viewing. Creation of this trail as a natural extension south of the Housatonic River Walk, has been envisioned for more than 20 years.
It was originally advocated by Mr. Jensen and Rachel Fletcher, GBLC board members. The project was revived in 2017 when several property owners agreed to provide access over their lands: The Great Barrington Youth Foundation, The Town of Great Barrington, the Bratter/Nathans family at John Dewey Academy, Pamela Pescosolido of Lido Property, LLC., and Elton Ogden at Berkshire Development Corp. and Bostwick Gardens, LLC. GBLC’s project leaders are Dale Abrams and Janice Kabel, both board members. Funding for the design and construction of the trail was provided by The Town of Great Barrington, through its tax-payer funded Community Preservation Act program, the Massachusetts Recreational Trail Program, the Fields Pond Foundation, and numerous local donors. Seating benches were endowed by John and Nina Lipkowitz and Gail Grollman, GBLC members.
Another section of the trail, along the river’s edge at Olympian Meadows, will be constructed this spring by Town Superintendent of Public Works, Sean Van Deusen. Town Planner Chris Rembold assisted GBLC in the project. A dedication ceremony for GBLC members, press and invited guests will be held on Sept. 29 at 3 p.m. GBLC began its efforts as a local land conservancy in 1992. It has created the Housatonic River Walk, the trails at the Lake Mansfield Conservation Forest, and the Pfeiffer Arboretum on Long Pond Road. With the new Riverfront Trail, GBLC has created a network of local walking trails and areas for conservation and outdoor education. For more information, please contact GBLC at info@GBLC.org.