Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership

The Franklin Land Trust is one of many partners included in the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership.

There is some misleading information being spread about the project, so we would like to provide some details about why we are involved and what we believe it will help accomplish.

The Franklin Land Trust supports this effort because it will create a new, much-needed source of funding for conserving land, help landowners continue to own and manage their land, and benefit our local economy.

The Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership is an effort by 21 cities and towns in western Franklin and Northern Berkshire counties and regional non-profit organizations to create a funding stream to help conserve forestland, enhance land-based economic development opportunities including recreational tourism and sustainable forestry, and enhance the fiscal stability of participating municipalities. Established by legislation in 2018, the volunteer board from across the participating towns, agencies and non-profits are beginning work to support the funding  by both the Commonwealth and the US Forest Service. Support will be used to:

  • Purchase conservation restrictions from willing landowners;
  • Help landowners create plans for caring for their land, including sustainable forestry, invasive plants and pests, climate change adaptation, estate planning, and carbon credits;
  • Promote the region and provide small grants and marketing assistance to recreation, tourism, and natural resource-based businesses;
  • Offer funding to cities and towns to help offset the infrastructure and emergency service impacts of increased tourism.

The project goals and objectives were formed through an extensive public outreach process, including approximately 60 town and regional meetings. As a result, a broad coalition of municipalities and non-profits are represented on the Advisory Committee of the Partnership. In addition to the municipal representatives and the Franklin Land Trust, the non-profit organizations involved are:

  • the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association
  • Berkshire Natural Resources Council
  • Deerfield River Watershed Association
  • Hoosic River Watershed Association
  • Massachusetts Forest Alliance
  • Massachusetts Chapter of the Society of American Foresters
  • Lever, Inc (an economic development organization in North Adams).

In addition, the project is supported by staff of two regional planning agencies, Franklin Regional Council of Governments and Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and two government agencies, MA Energy and Environmental Affairs and the US Forest Service.

The Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership is also supported by the Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts, Mass Audubon, The Trustees of Reservations, and the New England Forestry Foundation.