National Forest Designation Public Meetings
Published on Monday, February 10, 2014 in General Announcements, National, News & Updates
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Do you support or oppose land being designated as National Forest in Massachusetts?

There is a proposal by the state and the U.S. Forest Service that would provide federal funds to expand forestry activities on privately owned land. Those lands would potentially be designated a National Forest under control by the U.S. Forest Service.

The natural question is whether snowmobile trails on such lands would be regulated by the U.S. Forest Service? That needs to be asked at the upcoming meetings.

We encourage snowmobilers to attend the meetings and learn more about the proposal and ask questions. The locations and dates are listed at the bottom of the post.

An announcement from the Franklin Regional Council of Governments follows:


Thank you for attending the Public Information Session on November 20, 2014 about the potential for a new forest designation for western Franklin County and northern Berkshire County towns.


Public input from the meeting has been incorporated into draft goals and a framework that will be presented and discussed at a series of Community Partnership Meetings over the next few months.


These meetings are also being held to gather local input on priority areas for forest conservation and natural resource and tourism-based economic development projects. In addition, they will help us gauge the level of public support for a potential forest designation in each town.


The first four meetings scheduled for Charlemont, Buckland, Conway, and Shelburne.

Meetings in Ashfield, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Leyden, Monroe, and Rowe will be scheduled for March and April.


You are encouraged to attend the meeting scheduled for your town and join the discussion about the draft framework and specific town concerns and ideas.


We look forward to your continued participation in this project.


Community Partnership Meetings to Discuss a New Forest Designation


Please come to learn about and discuss an opportunity for your town to increase natural resource-based economic development and forest conservation.


The Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) and Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC), with the assistance of the Franklin Land Trust, are conducting public outreach to determine the level of interest in a new model of assistance and involvement by the State and the U.S. Forest Service which could provide federal funds to expand forestry activities on privately owned land and to support tourism-based businesses.


The purpose of this initiative is to conserve forests, increase economic development that is based on sustainable forestry and recreational tourism, and improve the fiscal stability of municipalities.


With enough interest from communities, the U. S. Forest Service could be requested to designate an area which would be eligible to receive this assistance.


The FRCOG will be holding meetings through mid-April in the following Franklin County towns: Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Hawley, Heath, Leyden, Monroe, Rowe, and Shelburne. Meetings are open to the public and municipal officials, residents, business owners, landowners, and foresters are encouraged to attend the meeting scheduled for your town.

The first four meetings are listed below:

  • Charlemont, January 28, 2014, 6 – 8 PM, Hawlemont School gym, 10 School Street. Snow date January 29
  • Buckland, February 3, 2014, 6 – 8 PM, Buckland Town Hall, 17 State Street. Snow date February 13
  • Conway, February 11, 2014, 6 – 8 PM, Town Hall Meeting Room, 5 Academy Hill Road. Snow date February 12
  • Shelburne, February 26, 2014, 6 – 8 PM, Shelburne Buckland Community Center, 53 Main Street. Snow date February 27

For more information email Peggy Sloan, Planning Director, or call FRCOG, 413-774-3167 x133.

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