The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and Mill Town Capital are unveiling their Berkshire outdoor recreation master plan.
It outlines expansions on several existing attractions, including extending the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail into Pittsfield.
Jim McGrath, Pittsfield’s Park and Open Space Program Manager, said, “That’s going to be an amazing opportunity to extend that rail trail, because we all know just how popular and loved that trail is. Bringing it into Pittsfield is really exciting.”
Another expansion will be on the Berkshire Natural Resources Council’s High Road – a series of hiking trails connecting downtowns throughout the region.
Public programs director Mackenzie Greer says their newest addition to the network is a trail-head at Bousquet Mountain in Pittsfield.
Greer said, “The big idea is to be able to take a prescribed walk, to have a route where you understand what the distances are going to be, the difficulty … and being able to go from town center to town center.”
The plan also includes a new outdoor recreation festival to be held at Hancock Shaker Village the first weekend in October.
Mill Town managing director Carrie Holland says this will be an annual event.
“We’ll have a few participatory events, a cycling event and a trail-running event. There will also be vendors, national-level vendors and local vendors, so you can go visit booths, get information,” Holland said.
In light of the pandemic, 1Berkshire’s V.P. of Marketing Lindsey Schmid says highlighting outdoor activities like these is crucial to drawing people to the area.
Schmid said, “Our access to outdoor space is becoming more and more relevant. I think making the Berkshires even more of a spot where people can come and feel safe and welcome and have a moment to breathe.”