413 Acres Saved

Activists have saved 413 acres of farmland and forestland near Brattleboro from being turned into parking lots, strip malls, McMansion vacation houses, or other forms of so-called “development.” In Hinsdale, New Hampshire, 244 acres of forestland were saved by the Monadnock Conservancy www.MonadnockConservancy.org. The land is home to bobcats, black bears, and other animals.

In Dummerston, Vermont, a 169 acre farm was recently saved by the Vermont Land Trust www.vlt.org. The group is looking for a farmer to take over the farm, which can never be “developed.”

On March 11, Valley Trains Will Accelerate

On March 11, trains between the Massachusetts-Vermont border near Brattleboro and White River Junction, Vermont – a trip of about 75 miles -- will travel at speeds of up to 79 miles per hour. That’s faster than ever before. This is the result of improvements made to the tracks. By April, the trip on Amtrak from Brattleboro to Burlington will be about 24 minutes faster. The trip will take 3 hours and 10 minutes and cost $26 on Amtrak. By car, the same journey takes about 2 hours and 23 minutes.

Protest at South Hadley Dump

Residents of South Hadley are protesting a garbage landfill in their town. South Hadley borders Amherst and Holyoke. The landfill is run by a corporation that’s based in Florida. Advanced Disposal Corporation (AD) of Jacksonville, Florida had $351 million in sales last year.

On January 24, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection said AD violated the law at the South Hadley dump. The company has been landfilling material that should be recycled. AD makes money by the ton for landfilling, not for recycling.

Connecticut River Headwaters in Peril

The Connecticut river starts in New Hampshire, near the state’s borders with Vermont and Canada. It flows through Brattleboro, Greenfield, Northampton, Holyoke, and Springfield on its way to the ocean. The town of Columbia, New Hampshire is home to about 750 people. It’s near Canada. In Columbia, Roaring brook flows into the Mohawk river which, in turn, flows into the Connecticut river.

Activists To Rally at Local Wal-Marts October 10

Last year, Wal-Mart Corporation built a new store and parking lot on acres of farmland a few miles from Brattleboro, in Hinsdale, New Hampshire. When the new store opened, an existing Wal-Mart a few miles away was closed. That store and parking lot have been vacant ever since. In Brattleboro in 2008, Home Depot Corporation closed a store. That store, and the huge parking lot around it, are still vacant.

Group Fights Logging in 13,000 Acre Park

The following article is by Kathy Thatcher, president of Friends of Pisgah. Pisgah is a 13,000 acre New Hampshire state park that's a few miles from Massachusetts and Vermont. The park's remote lakes are popular swim spots that require hiking to reach. The group's web site is www.FriendsOfPisgah.org. This article first appeared there.


‘No Enforcement’ on Valley River

“On summer afternoons, it’s like the Wild West,” Jim Dietz told the Valley Post. He’s head coach of the UMass women’s rowing team. Dietz was speaking about motor boats on the Connecticut river in Massachusetts. His rowing team is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I, which means it’s at the highest level of college sports. Before coming to UMass, Dietz worked for the U.S. Coast Guard in Connecticut for nine years.

Clear Cut Logging in NH Park?

The state of New Hampshire has decided to allow clear cut logging in the state's biggest park, which is just a few miles from Massachusetts and Vermont. The state wants a private logging company to cut down the trees in 133 acres of the 13,361 acre Pisgah State Park. Pisgah is in the towns of Chesterfield, Hinsdale and Winchester.

Clean Energy Boost

Two existing dams near Brattleboro will likely soon be used to generate roughly the amount of electricity used by 6,000 people. The dams are along the West river, which meets the Connecticut river about a mile north of downtown Brattleboro. The dams are in the Vermont towns of Jamaica and Townshend.

Environmental Victories

On December 23, environmental groups announced they had saved 3,486 acres of forestland near Amherst from development. It is the biggest such environmental victory in the Valley in years. Smaller parcels of land were protected near Brattleboro and Keene.