In addition to its responsibility of administrating the Wetlands Protection Act, the Conservation Commission has the responsibility of stewardship and management of numerous conservation properties throughout the City.
Conservation Properties Master Plan and Executive Summary
Conservation areas enhance the quality of life within Pittsfield by providing access to a rich and varied network of wild spaces. City officials and community members have worked for decades to preserve natural resources within the city and maintain Pittsfield’s character as “a city in the country.” The Pittsfield Conservation Commission recognizes that preservation of the land is not enough; the City needs a management plan to guide decision making to protect and maintain their wealth of natural resources.
The Conservation Commission hired the Conway School of Landscape Design to evaluate existing conditions at the City’s four largest conservation areas: Barkerville Conservation Area, Brattlebrook Park, the David J. Tierney, Sr. Wildlife Refuge, and Wild Acres Conservation Area. They requested objectives to guide management at each site and Pittsfield’s conservation areas as a whole.
The objectives offered in this plan were developed with guidance from the City’s Master Plan, consultation with the Conservation Commission, site analysis of the four parcels, and responses from community outreach. These objectives include recommended strategies for implementation and are meant to aid the Conservation Commission in protecting and maintaining the ecological health of the conservation areas while simultaneously improving the human experience of the sites. Each objective addresses the protection and enhancement of the city’s natural resources, quality of life, economic vigor, or a combination of these three interconnected principles.
The following are the most significant properties under Conservation Commission supervision:
Barkerville Conservation Area
The Barker Road Conservation Area is a 74-acre property that was acquired by the City of Pittsfield in 2011 and represents a strategic link in the long-range development of a greenway that would extend from the Pittsfield Airport to Clapp Park, along the Southwest Branch of the Housatonic River. Funding for the acquisition was provided through a grant by the MA Natural Resource Trustees. This is a shared public space provided for your enjoyment and recreation.
Located off Longview Terrace Extension and Maple Grove Drive, Brattlebrook Farm/Park consists of land tracts compiling to approximately 178 acres, a portion of which was donated to the City. The Conservation Commission has completed a survey of the property and adopted a set of rules and regulations for the use of the property. Large signs with the rules and regulations have been installed in strategic locations. This site provides numerous passive recreational opportunities and exhibits a grassland/forest ecotone that provides for quality wildlife habitat.
The Controy Pavilion is located off Lakeway Drive on the shoreline of Onota Lake. The property abuts Ramsey Beach, another conservation property. The Pavilion is used by the public for picnics and special events. The General Electric Elfuns has done extensive improvements to the facility and their volunteer work is greatly appreciated.
Fred Garner Park
Fred Garner Park is located off Pomeroy Avenue and is approximately 10.3 acres. This property, located between the confluence of East and West Branches of the Housatonic River, provides a nice canoe to the Main Branch of the Housatonic River.
Kirvin Park is located off Williams Street and is approximately 226 acres. The property continues south of Sackett Brook up the mountain along Ashley Brook. A portion of the park is within the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife listed Estimated Rare Habitat Area. This park is used extensively used for recreation.
Onota Lake/Dan Casey Memorial Drive Conservation Area
The Onota Lake/Dan Casey Memorial Drive Conservation Area is located off the causeway (Dan Casey Memorial Drive) and is approximately 6.5 acres. This property offers spectacular views of Onota Lake and is a great location to pick blueberries.
Tierney Conservation Area
The Tierney Conservation Area is located off Jason Street and is approximately 47 acres. This property has a beautiful open water wetland system adjacent to a mixed coniferous/deciduous woodland. The site provides bird watching opportunities, including numerous species of waterfowl.