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Mount Greylock Saw Nearly 25,000 Hikers This Season

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Advisory Council is in need of a new member.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — After a busy season, the roads to the summit of Mount Greylock have been closed. 
 
State Department of Conservation and Recreation Trail Coordinator Becky Barnes told the Mount Greylock Advisory Council on Wednesday night that the summit roads had been closed prior to Halloween and the park will officially close at the end of the month.
 
"There is a rainstorm and we have been toilet-papered before on Halloween so we want to try to close it," she said. "We close the roads early and it allows us to do some good work safely."
 
A Facebook post by the park had set the gates closing at 5 p.m. on Oct. 31 but there was threat of a significant rain and wind storm over Thursday night that also lead to many communities postponing trick-or-treating until Saturday. 
 
Barnes read reservation Superintendent Travis Clairmont's report and said the mountain had an especially busy season.
 
The Appalachian Trail volunteers installed trail counters on a portion of the trail south of the summit. She said it recorded traffic from May 2 to Oct. 11 and counted 22,255 hikers.
 
Barnes said there were some gaps because the battery died and she noted the unit was not running during the Greylock Ramble on Oct. 14 during which more than 1,000 participated in the 52nd annual hike up to the summit. 
 
She anticipated that more than 25,000 people actually hiked that portion of the trail over the course of the season.
 
Chairman Cosmo Catalano said although he was happy people were on the trail, these high numbers do cause damage.
 
"There is a reason it is all beat to hell -- there are 22,000 people on it every year. ... It's pretty dense in there sometimes," he said.
 
Barnes said the summit weather station is up and running but noted it is really a temporary arrangement until they can install internet at Bascom Lodge. She said when this happens, they will be able to have a live video feed on the summit.
 
Barnes had pages of recorded incidents and accidents on the mountain.
 
"A lot of them were people who just got hurt on the trail and we had to carry them out," she said.
 
Barnes hit some of the highlights including an sport utility vehicle rollover and, most recently, an older gentleman who slipped near the summit and needed to be carried out. 
 
She said a couple got lost and left the trail at night. Barnes said they were traveling off-trail via cell phone flashlight.
 
"They got to the point where there was a vista and they could see the lights of Pittsfield so they decided to walk off the ledge that goes straight down a cliff," she said. "I hiked in around 11 and found them. They were OK."
 
She said there was a serious drift bike accident and a group of 10 riders drove down Notch Road.
 
"We tried to stop them but they didn't listen and one ended up crashing and was injured," she said.
 
Drift bikes are essentially adult big wheels and Barnes said there are plenty of videos on YouTube of riders dangerously flying down Mount Greylock. 
 
She said they have the same problem with long-boarders.
 
On a lighter and stranger note, Barnes reported an illegal dumping incident in the Notch Road parking lot of more than 50 gallons of Dunkin' Donuts muffins, doughnuts, and bagels.
 
At the beginning of the meeting, Catalano said the council will need a new state-appointed member with member Michael Coyne stepping down.
 
"So put your thinking caps on we will have to think of someone," he said. "I think we should come up with some names."
 
The council would like to have a solid list by its January meeting. The advisory councils meets four times a year. 

Tags: Mount Greylock,   

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Thunderbolt Ski Trail Eroding

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Advisory Council has serious concerns with erosion on the Thunderbolt Ski Trail.
 
Advisory Council member Heather Lindscott relayed a message to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and the rest of the council from the Thunderbolt Ski Runners who have noticed major erosion issues on the historical ski trail caused by over hiking. 
 
"They are just making trenches now," she said on Wednesday. "There are parts that are just rock and they are wearing it down."
 
Trail Coordinator Becky Barnes said the Thunderbolt is the quickest way up the mountain and one of the most popular trails. She said the erosion has been worsened by water cascading down the trenched trail.
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