Berkshire County plans to increase its profile for outdoor recreation
A county-wide outdoor recreation plan — the first of its kind — was revealed this month.
Greylock Glen, a 1,063-acre site in Adams, will include the future Greylock Glen Resort, a lodge/conference center, campground, trail system, outdoor center, performing arts amphitheater, and outdoor sculpture art garden.
Berkshire Natural Resources Council will open the first segment of The High Road in early 2021, Hansell said, and the trail will eventually connect the entire county. The multi-generational project, which has been in the works since 2014, is inspired by the Coast to Coast Walk in England and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. The first open section will be an eight-mile path along Yokun Ridge, stretching from Pittsfield to Stockbridge.
“It’s not just a walk, it connects town to town,” Hansell said. “[For example, you could] walk down into Lenox, find that wonderful bed and breakfast, stay for a couple of days and go to Tanglewood, go shopping, and then pick up the next piece and walk to another town. And rinse and repeat. It’s the opportunity to explore the Berkshires by foot, but also explore the towns and culture.”
“What’s great about the plan is it has got people thinking about and focusing on these opportunities and needs in the county,” Hansell said. “One potential impact of the plan is attracting more investments because people like to invest where there’s a clear plan.”
The region will host its first Berkshire Outdoor Recreation Festival Oct. 2-4 at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, which will include local and national vendors, speakers, authors, films, and organized outdoor activities and competitions.
“We don’t know how much is going to happen this year because of COVID-19,” Maloy said. “We’re hoping it will be in some form but what exact form that is, we still don’t know yet.”
The Berkshires region is also working on marketing the area as an outdoor recreation destination.
“I think the messaging that goes out to the Boston audience and the New York audience has long been centered on cultural opportunities,” Brennan said.
1Berkshire, the region’s tourism council, is launching a marketing campaign this year focused on outdoor recreation with the message, “Let the Berkshires be your backyard.”
“People know the Berkshires for cultural activity, certainly,” Brennan said. “There’s no doubt about that. But the visitors have always really appreciated the beauty of their surroundings when they’re here to visit Tanglewood or the Clark, or whatever it may be. And the average age of our visitor has been decreasing over time. And so there’s a lot of interest in including more outdoor recreation in a visit to the Berkshires. A longer visit means more hotel nights, more meals out, more shopping, more everything. So when you take a big picture look at our tourism and hospitality economy here, it just makes sense for us to weave more variety into our messaging about what we have and, especially, to include outdoor recreation.”