Mount Greylock State Reservation
|Mount Greylock State Reservation|
|Massachusetts State Park|
An October frost on Mount Greylock
|Towns||Adams, Cheshire, North Adams,
New Ashford, Williamstown
|Elevation||3,487 ft (1,063 m) |
|Area||12,455 acres (5,040 ha) |
|Management||Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation|
|Website: Mount Greylock State Reservation|
Mount Greylock State Reservation is a Massachusetts state park that was created in 1898 as Massachusetts' first public land for the purpose of forest preservation. It is located on its namesake Mount Greylock.
By the winter of 1897, with the Greylock Park Association venture in debt, conservation interests in the state sought to protect the mountain through other means. Legislation was filed by William H. Chase, Editor of the Berkshire Sunday Democrat of North Adams, under the auspices of the Board of Trade of North Adams to transfer the GPA land holdings on the mountain to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a state reservation. This included supporting testimony from Williams College Professor of Geology T. Nelson Dale, and a $25,000 appropriation bill filed through Judge Arthur M. Robinson. Additional support came from the Massachusetts Forestry Association's initiative to advocate for the establishment of a state park system, and to make the case point, fight inappropriate development of the state's highest peak, Mount Greylock. The principal argument for making the mountain a public reservation was to protect the Hoosic and Housatonic River watersheds from erosion due to recent trends of deforestation (particularly noted on the Adams side). Another concern was to preserve it for the public rather than private/exclusive enjoyment. On June 20, 1898 (Mount) Greylock (State) Reservation was created, with the stipulation that the state add to the original land (to ultimately total 10,000 acres (40 km2)).
With this acquisition the first public land in Massachusetts for the purpose of forest preservation was created, later to become the state park system. A three-person, governor-appointed Greylock (Reservation) Commission, a body of Berkshire County government, was entrusted with the care and maintenance of the reservation. The title Reservation refers to county management of state land, since there was only one state forester and a handful of state fire wardens in service at the time; similarly other early State Reservation properties in Massachusetts were previously managed and operated by county commissions for the state.
Recreation includes backpack camping, snowmobiling, visiting with pets and hunting seasons.
The roads to the summit are open seasonally from late-May through November 1, weather permitting. Bascom Lodge on the summit offers overnight accommodations and meals from late-May through mid/late-October. The Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower was built in 1932 and crowns the highest point in the state. The memorial was dedicated in June 1933 as a tribute to courage, endurance, loyalty and self-sacrifice, wherever these qualities have been shown, by the state’s men and women in the uniform of the state or nation.
Following the two-year Historic Parkway Rehabilitation Project in 2008 & 2009, the restored road system offers numerous opportunities for scenic viewing along this state-designated Scenic Byway.
Mount Greylock has over 70 miles of designated trails for hiking, mountain biking, back-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling, including an 11.5 mile section of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. A primitive camping experience is available for backpackers at either the Mount Greylock Campground or 5 remote trailside backpacker shelters; the campground is only accessible by foot, as are the backpacker shelters.
For naturalists the mountain is a popular destination for bird watching, butterflies and wildflowers. Hunting is permitted in season. In winter, trails are available for snowmobiling, snowshoeing and back-country skiing on the Thunderbolt Ski Trail.
- "Mount Greylock". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- "2012 Acreage Listing" (PDF). Department of Conservation and Recreation. April 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
- "Mount Greylock State Reservation". MassParks. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
- Springfield Sunday Republican, February 20, 1898, and Springfield Republican, March 3, 1898
- "Massachusetts' First State Park". MassParks. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
- "The Thuderbolt Ski Runners".
- Mount Greylock State Reservation Department of Conservation and Recreation
- Hiking Trail Mileages: Mount Greylock State Reservation Department of Conservation and Recreation