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HooWRA volunteers guide hikes along the newly opened Green River trail on Monday.
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Pam Weatherbee, foreground, who donated land to make the trail possible, hikes it on Monday.
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Signage at the trail head orients visitors to the new trail, left in red, existing trails, right, and the new multimodal trail that MassDOT is finishing this summer.
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HooRWA Executive Director Arianna Alexandra Collins leads a talk on wild edibles.
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The new trail is blazed with blue squares, as seen at right.
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The new trail from Linear Park on Water Street opens up new views of the Green River as it wends through Williamstown.

HooRWA Opens New Trail Along Green River in Williamstown

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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Hoosic River Watershed Association Board member John Case leads Monday's ceremony.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Three years after receiving Community Preservation Act funds from town meeting, the Hoosic River Watershed Association on Monday officially opened a new hiking trail from Linear Park to Main Street along the Green River.
 
And if three years seems like a long time to work on the half-mile trek, that is not even the half of it.
 
"Based on research done by [Community Development Director] Andrew Groff at Town Hall, the completion of this today really marks the completion of a town goal that is 60 years old," HooRWA board member John Case told a crowd of about 30 who attended the ribbon cutting.
 
With funding from Mass Trails and a little more than $20,000 from the local CPA fund, HooWRA was able to design a trail with help from Charlie LaBatt at Guntlow and Associates and build it with help from the Student Conservation Association.
 
Case said a lot of local volunteer labor went into clearing and stabilizing the footpath.
 
"In our application for a grant from Mass Trails, we specified we’d have five volunteers working on it," he said. "We ended up with many times that.
 
"We had help from members of Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, Williams College students and other residents who heard about it came out with their shovels to help.
 
"It’s inspirational how many of the volunteers were in their 70s. And some in their 80s. It gives you something to look forward to."
 
Case singled out volunteers Dick Schlesinger and Robert Hatton for their efforts and called out Amy Jeschawitz and the volunteers who spearheaded the refurbishment of the new Linear Park playground across the driveway from the trail head.
 
With access to Main Street near the bridge that spans the Green River, the trail provides a walking route between the parts of Linear Park – the Water Street end where Monday’s ribbon cutting took place and the segment along the Hoosic River to the north and east.
 
When the Massachusetts Department of Conservation completes the replacement of the Wallye Bridge, which carries Main Street (Route 2) over the river, it will include a foot path beneath the bridge to allow hikers to get from one end of Linear Park to the other without having to contend with vehicular traffic.
 
In addition to all the volunteer labor, the trail project celebrated on Monday also got a huge assist from Pam Weatherbee, who donated a portion of her property to make the route possible.
 
Weatherbee had the honor of cutting the ribbon to open the trail.
 
Then volunteers from HooRWA, WRLF and the Williamstown Historical Museum led guided hikes with different themes, including wild edibles, invasive exotics and the history of the Wallye Mill Dam, whose remains are along the trail, a couple hundred yards from the eastern trail head.

Tags: HooRWA,   trails,   

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Williamstown Fire District Seeking Treasurer

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Fire District is in the market for a new treasurer after Cory Thurston announced at last week's Prudential Committee meeting that he plans to step down from the office.
 
Thurston has served in the capacity since he was elected in May 2019 to what, at the time, was the district's clerk/treasurer position.
 
A lot changed in the three years that followed. The district broke the clerk and treasurer roles into two separate jobs, and it moved them from elected offices to positions appointed by the five-person Prudential Committee.
 
"That was changed from an elected official a few years ago to make sure the district had a qualified candidate," Thurston reminded the committee at its September meeting. "Because it is an important job. And the state requirements tend to grow exponentially as time moves forward."
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