Quabbin National Park Proposed

A new group is working to stop clear cut logging in the Pioneer Valley's biggest area of protected open space. The activists want to do that by persuading politicians to convert the 87,000 acre Quabbin state forest into a national park. Of that area, 58,000 acres is land, the rest is water. Stopping logging on the land would make it more profitable for logging companies to buy forestland that might otherwise be turned into houses, roads, Walmarts, and parking lots. Logging companies can be required to log sustainably, not using clear cut logging. This kind of rule exists in Vermont.

Land Close to Being Saved

Swanzey, New Hampshire is about five miles from Massachusetts and Vermont. Activists are close to saving 29 acres in Swanzey from being paved. The land is along the Ashuelot river. When the deal goes through, dry parts of the land will continue to be used for hay farming. People will plant American elm and silver maple trees on wet parts of the land. “American elms were one of the dominant trees in the Connecticut river valley,” Mark Zankel told the Valley Post in a telephone interview December 14. He is director of the New Hampshire chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

Most of the Valley is at Risk of Being 'Developed'

A new map of the the Connecticut River watershed in Massachusetts, southeast Vermont and southwest New Hampshire shows that the vast majority of the farmland and forestland is vulnerable to being converted to houses, roads, parking lots, and Walmart stores and similar commercial buildings.

Click on the map to enlarge it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." Then click on the map again to enlarge it more. You can move the image using the arrows on your keyboard.

Environmental Victory

In Northfield, Massachusetts, near Greenfield, 142 acres of farmland, forest, streams and ponds will soon be permanently protected from development, David Kotker told the Valley Post on May 19. He works for the group that is fighting to save the land. The group has a web site at www.MountGrace.org.

A trail designed for people in wheel-chairs and for people walking will be open to the public. More than $330,000 to save the land and build trails came from the state and town government, and donations. When another $10,000 is raised, the deal will be done, Kotker said.

1,000 Acres in the Balance in Amherst Area

A group in Amherst that has saved more than 19,000 acres of farmland, forest, and wetlands in the Valley is fighting to protect more than 1,000 acres in the Amherst area “Range” that is at risk of being turned into parking lots, roads, strip malls, vacation homes and other kinds of so-called “development.”

New Apartments for Downtown Keene

Climate change caused by humans will create famines and floods that will kill millions of people, unless people start using less gas for cars, oil for heating, and electricity generated from coal. That's according to the world's leading scientists. At Keene city hall on May 27 at 6:30 p.m., the planning board will hold a public hearing about a proposed apartment building.

Options for Empty Big Box Stores

There are now three vacant “big box” stores in the Brattleboro - Keene area. There are none in the Pioneer Valley, an expert said. Examples from around the country offer a model for how this land could be used. In Keene, a Shaw's supermarket and its acres of parking lots are vacant. There is a vacant Home Depot in Brattleboro. In Hinsdale, New Hampshire, which borders Brattleboro, a Wal-Mart sits empty.

All Volunteer Group Saves Forest

A group run entirely by volunteers has protected hundreds of acres of forest land near Brattleboro from being turned into roads, parking lots, houses, or other kinds of so-called “development.” Now the Putney Mountain Association is raising money to save a 144 acre forest in Putney, Vermont. The group recently got $195,000 from the state to help with the project. It must raise $212,000 more to buy the forest and protect it in perpetuity. “We're excited. The land has a wonderful, year-round stream on it,” Jacquie Walker told the Valley Post. She is a member of the Association's board.

Keene City Council Will Decide Forest's Fate

On December 5, the Keene city council will vote on whether to permanently protect open land from being paved with parking lots, houses, or other kinds of so-called “development.” Saving the forest would cost the city $26,500. A local group is urging the city to save the land. The group's web site is www.MonadnockConservancy.org.

The council vote will happen at a public meeting that starts at 7 p.m. More information is at:

www.ci.keene.nh.us/government/city-council

2,500 Acres Saved

Activists have saved about 2,500 acres of open space near the Valley. They announced the news on November 13. The land is in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Part of the land is in Gilsum, New Hampshire, about nine miles from Keene. Another piece of the protected land is in Barre, Massachusetts, about an hour by car northeast of Springfield. Some is in Warwick, Massachusetts, about half an hour northeast of Greenfield by car. The activists have a web site: www.ForestSociety.org.