|State Officials Mark Boat Ramp Upgrades in Tyringham, Great Barrington|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
06:24PM / Monday, September 17, 2018
|Department of Fish and Game Fishing and Boating Access Director Jack Sheppard; Fish and Game Commissioner Ronald Amidon; Deputy Director Doug Cameron; A.J. Enchill from state Sen. Adam Hinds' office; Terry Smith from Fish and Game; and Selectman Jim Consolati.|
The new boat ramp was welcomed by those who use the pond often.
TYRINGHAM, Mass. — Hundreds of boats can take to the waters of Goose Pond on a weekend.
But in recent years, the boat access has been in poor condition. It was all gravel, was filled with holes, and when it rained, it all washed out. It was eroding away.
"Every time you have a heavy rain it would carry the gravel down and fill in this section of the lake," said Terry Smith from the state Department of Fish and Game's Fishing and Boat Access division.
Town officials reached out to Smith and the department asking if something could be done to improve it. And things just happened to work out. There was $65,000 available in the department to spend on such a project and Smith headed an effort to completely rebuild it.
"We were just looking for a quick fix because it was older and there were some holes people were getting hung up on. After we got talking, we got a full reconstruction -- way more than we had hoped. It is critical to the people who live around here as well as the neighboring towns," Board of Selectman Chairman James Consolati said.
Manning the machines himself, Smith got to work rebuilding the bank to stabilize it from erosion. The town's Highway Department re-graded the roadway to the ramp and Fish and Game funded the paving of what was a gravel road. New lines to delineate the parking were painted to ease traffic congestion.
"It just happened to be the right time in terms of availability of funding and the ability to work on this ourselves," Smith said.
It is important, too. For tiny Tyringham, Goose Pond is important not only for its townspeople but for its economy. Smith said a number of organizations, like Lenox's Canyon Ranch and local outdoor recreation businesses, bring groups there. Tourists visit the Berkshires to head out on the lake.
"Every day, they have visitors coming in with Canyon Ranch and other folks and it all plays into the local economy. Most people are stopping at the stores, having lunch, staying in hotels," Smith said.
Further, residents use the boat ramp just as often and those who own homes on the lake need it for seasonal access to take boats on and off. Kayaks, canoes, finishing boats and more are all loaded on and off the lake in great numbers.
Goose Pond is an attraction for residents and tourists.
Tyringham officials recognize the importance and have entered an agreement with Fish and Game to provide ongoing management of the public access areas. The town serves as the "eyes and ears" of the state's easement.
"It is a fantastic recreational asset for the public. It is good for people who live here and good for the tourism business as well," Consolati said.
Ecotourism, or the outdoor recreation economy, has grown to be a significant focus in Berkshire County. Fixing up boat ramps is just one way to serve both residents and visitors alike and Fish and Game has done a lot of that in recent years. Last year, it was renovating access at Richmond Pond
Ponds in Otis received the same treatment as well and before Fish and Game officials visited Tyringham on Monday, a ribbon cutting was held at Lake Mansfield in Great Barrington on a similar project.
Goose Pond is designated as one of the state's "great ponds," which means it is owned by the residents of the commonwealth. In the 1960s, the state secured an easement on the lakefront to prevent development in that section to ensure public access.