State Seeks To Green The Bald Summit of Its Highest Peak
ADAMS, Mass. (AP) _ With an eye to dressing up Massachusetts’ highest peak, the state Department of Environmental Management has decided to try greening the bald, granite summit of Mount Greylock.
Engineer Ken Neary said Tuesday that the plan includes installation of about $8,500 worth of plants on the 3,491-foot summit, now best known for its bad weather and gorgeous view. The shrubbery is part of a $122,000 landscaping and paving project at the summit, he said.
The state’s previous attempts to improve the wild peak, including replacing the simple War Memorial tower with a modernistic statue of a weeping woman and running a tramway to the summit, have run into stiff opposition from local residents. State officials now are under fire for proposing to charge motorists $1 to drive up the mountain.
Initially, the state had planned exotic species of plants and flowers but retreated to ″experimenting″ with native bayberry and low-bush blueberry and balsam fir on the advice of alpine plant specialists, said Douglas Poland, regional parks supervisor.
″We didn’t want to waste the taxpayers money,″ he said, explaining there is good reason that only a scattering of grasses and a few wind-twisted, and ice-dwarfed firs now cling to the few inches of soil that cover the summit’s bedrock.
″The atmospheric conditions can be very severe,″ he said. He also said the state in 1973 took apart and rebuilt the granite War Memorial, installed on the peak in 1933, because of ravages from the weather. The tower now needs an additional $74,000 in repairs.
To give the greenery a fighting chance, the state plans to do its planting next spring so the shubbery will have spring and summer to get a toe-hold on the mountain.
The state also plans to build new sidewalks at the observation tower and an an asphalt trail for better access to the area by wheel-chair bound people, said Neary.