Land Saved

On November 26, two local land trusts announced they had saved nearly 1,000 acres of forestland in the Massachusetts towns of Westhampton, Williamsburg, Northampton, and Chesterfield. Westhampton and Williamsburg border Northampton and Chesterfield. The land trusts are Kestrel and Hilltown. The USA is losing 6,000 acres of open space to development every day.

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In the neighboring Vermont towns of Newfane and Brookline 626 acres of forestland is in the process of bring permanently protected. Newfane borders Dummerston, which borders Brattleboro. The exact timing of the deal is unclear. Mary Ellen Copeland runs the Green Mountain Conservancy, which is saving the land. She didn't immediately respond to a phone message and e-mail on November 29. The Valley Post will update this article when she replies.

Guy Tanza is the Brookline town clerk. In a phone interview on November 29 he said the selectboard is debating whether to give the Conservancy a letter of support for the project. “I don't know if it's a done deal yet,” Tanza said.

The Newfane town clerk did not immediately respond to a phone message and e-mail. The Valley Post will update this article when she replies.

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Thanks to the work of activists in Northampton who have a web site at TrainsInTheValley.org the state is studying whether to start passenger train service between Greenfield and Boston alongside Route 2. The study will start in June and take a year to complete. Also thanks to the activists the state is studying whether to make passenger train service between Springfield and Boston along Interstate 90 much faster and more frequent. That study is underway but is six months behind schedule. The state transportation agency declined to say why the study is running late.

State senator Eric Lesser has done what the activists asked and voted for the study. There was no answer and no way to leave voice-mail during regular business hours on November 29 at either number listed on Senator Lesser's web site. He did not immediately respond to an e-mail inquiry. The Valley Post will update this article when he replies.

Meanwhile, the nation's first bullet train is under construction between Los Angeles and San Francisco. More than 2,300 workers are currently laying out the tracks for the bullet train. Trains there will go 200 mph. At that speed, from Springfield it would take about 45 minutes to get to New York City and about half an hour to Boston. Details on the California train are at www.hsr.ca.gov.

Comments

The Valley Post just got this

The Valley Post just got this e-mail from Copeland. "There are some inaccuracies in the Reformer article. There are 287 acres in the Phase 1 Wilson parcel that the GMC is buying right now and 626 in the phase 2 Mercede parcel which we have a Purchase and Sale on. The Green Mountain Conservancy is buying the land, not 'us.' We got a grant for $150,000 for Phase 1 from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, not $350,000 as stated in the article."

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