Hampshire College May Pave Hundreds of Acres

The president of Hampshire College might sell some of the 800 acres of forestland and farmland the college owns so the land can be converted to parking lots, Walmarts, and/or similar sprawl. The land is in the neighboring towns of Amherst and Hadley. The Valley Post asked Kristin DeBoer, who runs the Kestrel Land Trust in Amherst, if her group will try to save the land. On July 30 she said, “Kestrel Land Trust works with willing landowners to find conservation alternatives to development in areas that have important natural resource values. Kestrel worked with Hampshire College to place a conservation restriction on their woodland property on the Mount Holyoke Range in 2015. We would be happy to collaborate again.”

The same day, the college's president Ken Rosenthal told the Valley Post, "Kestrel was wonderful to work with in 2015, their interests are aligned with Hampshire College's, and those of the commonwealth, in conserving land that has natural resource value. Hampshire takes a long view of its interests and the use of its 800-plus acres. The college would approach any future plans for development thoughtfully and with consideration of environmental interests and the interests of our neighbors."

Land trusts get much of their funding from the government. Politicians decide how much to invest in protecting open space versus war, tax cuts for billionaires, and prison for non-violent people.

In the 1990s near Eureka, California hundreds of people were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience protesting logging of a privately-owned 7,000 acre redwood forest. They won. The federal government bought the forest. It's known as the Headwaters Forest Reserve and is permanently protected from logging and development.

In related news, Kestrel is working to save 120 acres of open space on Westbrook Road in Whatley, Massachusetts. Whately borders Hatfield, which borders Northampton.

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A woman who lives in Putney, Vermont was arrested with 19 other people for non-violent civil disobedience July 28. Putney is about 10 minutes from Brattleboro by bus. The protest was in Williston, Vermont, near Burlington. The protest was outside a federal government building that Trump uses to mistreat immigrants. Laura Lynette Chapman of Putney told the Valley Post after she was released from jail that politicians should, “Close the concentration camps now, end family separation and the incarceration of children; cease discrimination against queer and trans migrants; free all the detainees; provide funds for their settlement and family reunification; and free Vermont’s own Ismael Mendez-Lopez, Mario Diaz-Aguilar, and Ubertoni Aguilar-Montero and stop their deportation.”

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Between 2001 and last year, a Vermont judge issued 200 or so warrants to arrest people because they owed money to corporations. What the judge did was illegal. On July 29, the head of the Vermont ACLU, James Lyall, told the Valley Post, “The practice of arresting low-income Vermonters for debts has a devastating impact on families and individuals, forcing people to forgo basic needs in order to avoid arrest. Unfortunately, this is just one of the many ways our state’s criminal justice system unfairly and disproportionately impacts the Vermonters who can least afford it. The ACLU is committed to ending the criminalization of poverty and ensuring that Vermont lives up to its ideals of fair treatment for all residents. We commend the families who spoke up about this unconstitutional practice.”

No nation keeps such a high percentage of its people in prison as the USA. Europe's rate is a third of ours.

Comments

Hampshire

if Hampshire was smart, it would retain ownership of the land and lease the "pad" for 100 years. it would provide a steady income and preserve future use rights.

In an August 1 e-mail the

In an August 1 e-mail the Hampshire College PR person claimed there will be no Walmarts or parking lots allowed, but confirmed that housing and "commercial development" may be built on the college's farmland and forestland. This could include a 25 pump Exxon Mobil gas station and a McDonald's corporate food selling facility.

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