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The Western MA Chapter is Founded1929
The Western Massachusetts (Western MA) Chapter is founded as the Berkshire Chapter to serve the geographic region defined by the four counties that comprise western Massachusetts, namely: Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden. It will change its name to Western MA in 2020.
What Were They Thinking?1930
The Executive Committee (ExCom) files a motion that membership be limited to equal numbers of each sex. It does not pass.
A Noble View1932
AMC’s Western MA Chapter purchases Noble View, an historic farmstead built in the 1800s. Located on a pristine mountaintop overlooking Massachusett's Connecticut River Valley, AMC's new outdoor center features 360 acres of woodlands, trails, and abandoned farm fields to explore.
A Moral Dilemma1939
The Annual Meeting does not hear from one committee. "Its report would be most interesting, but it was a secret and unofficial committee. I refer, of course, to the newly organized Morals Committee, shrouded in mystery. All I dare say about it is that the slogan was Look out, we'll get you yet!"
On the Summit of Mt. Monadnock1940
Berkshire Chapter members relax on the summit of Mt. Monadnock in 1940.
The Army Moves In1943
One day last fall we received a telephone call from a lieutenant asking if it would be possible to arrange a meeting to discuss the details necessary to get permission for a Signal Corps detachment to camp at Noble View – four days after they'd already taken the gate apart and moved in. After some legal wrangling, we understood that the U.S. was to pay us a rental fee of $1, which granted them complete use of the place for an indefinite stay.
Malcolm B. Ross Memorial Forest1959
Dedication of the Malcolm B. Ross Memorial Forest takes place, with appropriate ceremonies, at Noble View. Ross, who died in 1955, was an active member of the Western MA Chapter for nearly twenty-five years, serving as Chapter Chair and Chair of the Noble View Committee. View map.
The Swinging Sixties1962
Porter Dickinson was one of the original Berkshire Chapter members from 1929. Edith Libby was Chapter Chair from 1963-1964.
Western MA Takes Charge1979
The A.T. Committee of the Berkshire Chapter is formed at the behest of the Appalachian Trail Conference (now the Appalachian Trail Conservancy) to consolidate the efforts of three active maintaining groups into one entity. A Memorandum of Understanding designating the A.T. Committee as the entity responsible for Appalachian Trail (A.T.) management on both state and National Park Service lands in the Commonwealth will be signed in 2004.
Trail Maintenance in the 80s1987
Bob Brown (AMC Berkshire Chapter) repairs a broken trail sign along the A.T. in Great Barrington, MA.
Tuesday Hikers Begin Their Streak1999
The celebrated Tuesday Hikers begin hiking on, well – Tuesdays. Every Tuesday. All year 'round. So, if you're out and about on a Tuesday, you may find them – hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing on a trail somewhere in western Massachusetts. Feel free to join them – I hear they're a friendly bunch!
Seasonal activities include rock climbing, backpacking, cross-country skiing and ski mountaineering, bicycling and nature/flower walks. ✧ Family activities encompass hiking, camping, canoeing and bicycling.
ALL Our Outings Are Social!2002
Thom Pollard, Mountaineer and Cinematographer Extraordinaire is this year's Annual Business Meeting's guest speaker.
A Year of Rebuilding2003
Last year's commitment to bring more young members – the leaders of tomorrow – into the chapter is fulfilled with the formation of a Young Members Committee. ✧ Noble View embarks on a re-building program, with a bit of rock blasting at Double Cottage. ✧ The chapter website is redesigned.
Elated hikers make the first known AMC ascent of Poverty Mountain, elevation 278 ft. From left to right: Robert Church, Jeannie Jones, Chris Lenox, Jack Doyle, Julie Bermant, Dan Harrington, Rob Robertson.
75 Years of Volunteerism2004
The membership votes to defeat a referendum designed to eliminate Young Member committees. ✧ The first Annual Volunteer and Leader Appreciation banquet is held.
Another Year in Paradise2005
In a groundbreaking move, the AMC Boston Chapter awards Noble View a $75,000 grant for Phase 2 construction in a bid to form a closer alliance with the Club as a whole. ✧ The chapter's Trails Committee builds a new shelter on the M-M Trail and publishes the eagerly-awaited 10th edition of the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail Guide. ✧ The Mountaineering Committee rocks on.
AMC Berkshire Wants You!2006
One of our main goals has been, and is, to welcome new members and encourage participatation in chapter activities. ✧ Renovations at Double Cottage are completed and the cottage is reopened to great fanfare. The bathhouse is up next, so as to enable long-term lodging.
Today's Children: Tomorrow's AMC2007
Get 'em hooked while they’re young! What could a 5, 10, or 15-year old AMC member become in a decade or two? ✧ Berkshire Chapter Family Programs begins running with plans to host affordable, family-friendly programs that build teamwork, communication, and skills. ✧ AMC staff members and chapter leaders work together to jumpstart Vision 2015.
An Enthusiastic – and Very Active – Chapter2008
Since 2005, 185 miles of trails have been newly adopted by AMC members. ✧ Every position on the ExCom is filled, for the first time in six years. ✧ The M-M Trail in western MA is set to become one of the three main segments constituting a proposed 220-mile New England National Scenic Trail (NET).
The chapter celebrates 80 years. ✧ The NET is designated. ✧ The Berkshire Chapter hosts AMC's 2009 Fall Gathering. ✧ The glacial soils at Noble View are, in a word, terrible. We are indeed going with composting toilets. ✧ The Circuit Trail is cleared of obstacles and, with the addition of some white stuff, is ready for skiing and snowshoeing.
Noble View Goes Green – and Online2010
Find us, like us, and post on our new Facebook page! ✧ Work on the bathhouse is progressing very rapidly now. Imagine! Washing dishes at a real dishwashing station with actual running water – no more three-bin dishwashing! And taking a hot shower at the end of a sweaty day – what joy! And, even better, flush toilets – no more outhouses! Now this is living large, indeed!
A Solid Start on New Energy2011
The year begins with a new core ExCom, following the retirement of several long-time, key contributors. ✧ The Noble View bathhouse – featuring "fragrance-free" Clivus flush toilets – debuts! Lodging is momentarily discounted to celebrate. ✧ The chapter's Youth Program takes off.
For Lack of a Volunteer2012
Several positions on the ExCom are open. We'll also create new ones to suit! ✧ 0.57% is that portion of the state budget that goes to all environmental programs and agencies in the Commonweath. What can you do? Get active! Support additional funding and march on the State House in April.
Volunteer Ridge Runners launch in an effort to put more "eyes and ears" on the A.T. The runners are expected to engage with hikers and teach appropriate backcountry practices with an emphasis on Leave No Trace principals. ✧ 170 volunteers contribute ~8,500 hours of trail work with the A.T. Committee.
Did you know that the Berkshire Chapter has gear available to borrow for AMC trips? ✧ Veterans from Warrior Expeditions pause to rest and meet the public at Noble View, 19 weeks into a thru hike on the A.T. Veterans participating in the "Walk Off the War" program stay for free, courtesy of the Noble View Committee and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6645.
In the absence of a Chapter Chair, the ExCom adopts a rotating Chair policy with four members of the ExCom each serving three months. ✧ 170 volunteers contribute ~6,300 hours of trail work with the A.T. Committee. ✧ Overnight stays at Upper Goose Cabin exceed 2,300 – a new record.
Reflections in the Wilderness2016
The chapter loses Pat Fletcher, our long-time Trails Chair, and Gary Forish, the driving force behind the strategic planning, growth, and success of the Noble View Outdoor Center. Read more about them both. ✧ Things I miss in Massachusetts: kayaking and camping at Tully Lake. Swimming off an island or sand bar to cool off. Biking on rail trails. Hiking!
Lots Going On!2017
Cycling is added to chapter activities with the advent of a Bicycling Committee. ✧ A new primitive campsite is financed on the Connecticut River in Northampton, MA. ✧ The Outdoor Festival returns! ✧ Activities on offer this year include 104 hike, backpack and snowshoe trips; 6,000 hours of A.T. and NET trail work; 61 mountaineering climbs; 46 conservation outings; 13+ events for young members; 3 paddling adventures; 3 family programs; 2 cycling rides; several training workshops; and a few potlucks.
The chapter makes a concerted effort to expand programmatic and training offerings. ✧ The Outings (now Hiking) Committee leads 98 trips, of which 52 are Tuesday hikes. 52 individuals are listed as leaders, with a subset of 25 leaders in Tuesday Hikers. ✧ The 2018 MVP Hike Leader is Diane Jones. ✧ The National Trails System Act turns 50.
A Busy 12 Months2019
The chapter runs 250+ activities. Active trip leaders number 74. Ten "superstar" leaders lead a combined 168 activities. ✧ Noble View Outdoor Center begins transitioning from an entirely volunteer-operated facility to a staff-managed enterprise. ✧ The Young Members change their name to 20s/30s. The number of 20s/30s trip leaders increases by 66%; trip listings are up 30%.
The Year of the Pandemic2020
The chapter adopts a new name – Western Massachusetts – to better represent the entire region we serve. ✧ The ExCom makes a substantial financial contribution to the Western Massachusetts Climbing Coalition to help build and maintain the necessary climbing infrastructure at Hanging Mountain. ✧ New initiatives and programs are undertaken: the Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (JDEI) Committee is formed and the Paddling Committee is rebuilt.
Bouncing Back in Style2021
The chapter offers 280 trips, up from 85 in 2020. ✧ Member and membership numbers increase substantially over 2020, standing at 3,052 members (up 9.4%) and 1,876 memberships (up 10.3%). ✧ The first Fallfest event is held at Noble View. Activities include volunteer-led hikes, demonstrations, information sessions, music, and a BBQ lunch.
The chapter organizes 230+ activities, made possible by the collective efforts of 50+ volunteer leaders. ✧ The first Spring Festival is held. ✧ Two "Member At Large" positions are added to the ExCom. These are intended to help diversify the top level of chapter leadership, enable selected chapter members to learn more about the committee’s work of the ExCom, aid on voting matters, and identify new ways to contribute to the life of the chapter.
A New Year2023
A new, custom website debuts in February. ✧ The Berkshire Exchange – begun in the 1980s but dormant since the mid-2010s – is resurrected by the Communications Committee as the Western MA Exchange, an online, evergreen newsletter. ✧ A.T. Committee members perform 5,000+ volunteer hours on A.T. administration, training, trail maintenance, corridor monitoring/maintenance, and cultural and natural resources; 72 projects are completed; and 3 new B-level NPS sawyers are added to the mix.