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 by Jim Gildea

Bernardston is a small rural town in western Massachusetts, located in north central Franklin County, on the border between Massachusetts and Vermont. The town is 23.4 square miles in area, with a population of approximately 2100. The town enjoys an Open Town Meeting form of government, with a three member Board of Selectmen. The major roads through town are US Route 5, MA Route 10 and Interstate 91.

In concert with the climate of New England, Bernardston's climate can be highly variable from year to year, often featuring cold winters and mild to hot summers. The winter season can be long and bitter or short and sweet. During the pleasant winter of 2011-12, Canada Geese were steady visitors to Bernardston's farm fields, eating the grass and weeds that stayed green throughout the winter months.

Bernardston's many hills are eastward extensions of both the Green Mountains and the Appalachians. East and west of the town's center where the Falls River runs, the hills rise steeply. Both Wildcat Mountain and Bald Mountain on the west and east sides of the Falls River, respectively, are more that 1100 feet above sea level. Deer and bears are plentiful and a small population of moose has also taken up residence.

Vegetation consists of two forest types: the transitional hardwood forest of the hills and a southern New England flood-plain forest. The majority of the town lies in the Connecticut River basin, though a small, southwesterly part lies in the Deerfield River Basin.

The extensive aquifer, fed by tributaries of the Falls River, feed the town's wells, supplying water to the central village. The Falls River is so named because a short distance south of town, it flows into the Connecticut River at the "Great Falls" (now known as Turners Falls).

Read more: About Our Town
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