Despite the rush of spring a core group of volunteers turned out on April 29th for the annual spring cleanup at Lake Mansfield hosted by Lake Mansfield Alliance, a project of Great Barrington Land Conservancy. For some of us, it was our 12th (or more!) year of spring service for others it was a new way to pitch in and connect with our lake community.
We helped this year’s water front supervisor install the swim ropes, we planted pansies around the shade trees, we gathered litter at the lake edge and along the forest trail and we connected with each other, happy to be working together to support the care and beauty of our lake, beach area, and forest. The DPW had already installed freshly painted picnic tables and has planned to install new grills soon. A new animal proof trash/recyclable container, purchased by the town and Lake Manfeild Alliance, has been installed beside the changing area/ porta-let station. The trails are in good shape. We will be refreshing the blazes and continuing our work at hand-pulling invasive species. We are meeting with Trail Consultant, Peter Jensen to plan for completing the accessible tread of the loop trail in 2018. A generous grant of $7,500 received from Highmark Health will help us to achieve this trail improvement goal.
The Lake Mansfield Improvement Task Force is focused on implementing the approved Lake Mansfield Improvement Plan. A town Community Preservation Act grant of $106,400 to provide for the next stage of engineering was passed at Town meeting. These funds will allow us to complete the detailed engineering of Lake Mansfield Road from the boat launch north and will include improvements for the outlet structure. In the meantime town planner, Chris Rembold is working to apply for A DEP grant to fund storm water structures needed on Knob hill. He is also seeking state funding for improvements to the boat launch area. It is great to have the input of Kathleen Triem and Peter Frank as our newest task force members.
This morning a common loon is resting in on Lake Mansfield waters, blue heron, Baltimore orioles and eagles have been seen, too. Snapping turtles and Muskrat are our earliest swimmers. Bear, deer and fox all frequent the lake and forest. In June, 7th graders from Monument Valley Middle School will be visiting as a culmination of an environmental study program to release trout that they have raised in the classroom. Guided Bird walks and volunteer opportunities are being offered by appointment Wednesdays in June.
Memorial Day is the official beach opening, Berkshire South Lifeguards, contracted by the Parks Department will be staffing the lakes for weekends in June, and for the full week as soon as school closes. Free swimming lessons will be offered again this year. Senta Reiss will be offering 8am Yoga classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in July. For complete lake event details, volunteer opportunities, and Lake Mansfield information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christine Ward, Lake Mansfield Alliance coordinator for Great Barrington Land Conservancy