Press Release

Press Release  Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces Grants to Support Rural Economies and Forest Conservation

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  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces Grants to Support Rural Economies and Forest Conservation

Danielle Burney, Deputy Communications Director

BOSTONThe Healey-Driscoll Administration today awarded $460,000 in grant funding to increase economic development focusing on the conservation and sustainable management of forests within Massachusetts' Woodlands Partnership of Western Massachusetts region. Through the Woodlands Partnership Grants, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is supporting nine rural communities and three regional conservation and economic development organizations in improving access to outdoor recreation in town and state forests, improving the safety of outdoor recreation, and implementing climate-smart forestry practices.  

“We’re investing in Massachusetts’ rural communities to unlock the full potential of our forests – from tourism, to recreation, to robust economic development,” said EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “The Woodland Partnership Grants support the conservation of one of our most spectacular regions while also helping local economies in a sustainable way.”

The program follows the passage of 2018 law that officially launched the regional partnership to improve rural economic development based through sustainable forest conservation, tourism, and support for the fiscal stability of these communities – the most rural and forested in Massachusetts. The Woodlands Partnership is a grassroots-led program developed after dozens of local meetings. The resulting program is based on conserving forests and supporting their sustainable management to improve the economy along the Vermont and New York border. The projects include educating residents and visitors about the important role of forests in reducing the impacts of climate change on communities across Massachusetts. Projects receiving a Woodlands Partnership Grant are:

Town(s) or Regional Organization


Project Description


Rowe & Heath

Highlands Regional Trail – Route and Landowner Agreements

Creates a regional trail to link Shelburne across these two towns to the Mohawk Trail State Forest.



Climate Smart Road Maintenance (invasives reduction)

Completes an invasive species inventory and report for 15 miles of gravel roads through Windsor State Forest maintained by the Town and purchases a special mowing attachment to implement the plan.




River Rafting Rescue Equipment

Purchases land and water rescue equipment for town first responders to safeguard the thousands of rafting visitors.




Town Green Plantings for Resilience and Diversity

Completes the planting of the Town Green with a diversity of species to replace ash trees lost to the Emerald Ash Borer.


New Ashford

Creation of a Trailhead Parking and Picnic Area

Funds the purchase of land and the development of a parking and picnic area to give residents and visitors access to the Mt. Greylock Reservation.


Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Greylock Glen Forest Center Exhibit (forest and climate exhibit)

Funds the design and installation of an exhibit in the new Forest Center to highlight the role of forests in stabilizing the impacts of climate change.


Lever, Inc.

Launching the Woodcraft Collaborative to support local wood businesses

Supports business development and marketing for dozens of small businesses that utilize local wood to produce a variety of products.



Riverside Woodland Walk and Native Plant Demonstration

Creates a riverside trail leading from the village and plants a diversity of pollinator and food-producing native species in partnership with local regenerative nurseries.



Pelham Lake Park – Implementing Climate Smart Forest Plan

Continues to implement one of the first climate smart forestry plans in the Commonwealth with treatment of ash trees and a trailhead exhibit.


New England Forestry Foundation

Implementing Climate Smart Forestry

Complements a $540,000 federal grant to conduct outreach and support to private and town forest managers to implement a range of climate smart forestry practices with federal funds.



Pierce Scenic Way -gaining access to forests for tourism

Completes the restoration of this scenic gravel road to give access to a large state-owned parcel. As with many of the grants, the Town will provide significant match when implementing of the project.



Greylock Glen Forest Center (local wood, buildings and climate exhibit)

Funds the design and installation of a climate exhibit about the benefits of using local wood in large buildings such as the Forest Center.







Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces Grants to Support Rural Economies and Forest Conservation

  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

    EEA seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. Through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources, and enhancement of clean energy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs works tirelessly to make Massachusetts a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.
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