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 Friends of the Charity Farm Lot

       In 1832, Job Goodale gifted the Charity Farm Lot to the Town of Bernardston, Massachusetts, as a source of income to "assist the industrious and deserving poor."
     Since then, this 84.64-acre site, which includes open space, a variety of natural features, and a trace of history, had been largely ignored. More recently, however, a group of local residents and town leaders have come to recognize the Charity Farm Lot as a gem worthy of renewed focus as part of a larger plan that recognizes the many benefits that well-preserved open space has to offer: health, recreation, community pride, and a boost to the town's economy.
     Friends of the Charity Farm Lot is an intergenerational group of people interested in a unique parcel of open space. We are a recognized committee of the Bernardston Selectboard.
    We hope that you will continue to visit our page to find out more about what the Charity Farm Lot can offer you and you family. We also invite you to consider ways that you might become involved in  its restoration and use.

                 Email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

               Find us on Facebook: 

               Friends of the Charity Farm Lot:

                       John Lepore: (413) 512-0644

                       Bill Montiglio (413) 824-1004

                       Kathy Montiglio (413) 772-9103


When is a trail not a trail?
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There's an old logging road that runs parallel with and just west of the view trail. It's steep and covered with loose, unstable rocks that make for very hazardous conditions.
     We received a report that a horse and rider slid downhill about 15 feet before regaining control, narrowly avoiding a serious accident.  It's an easy place for a hiker to turn an ankle, and there's nothing special to see or enjoy. For these reasons, we created barriers made from logs and saplings, on on each end of the section, to discourage visitors from using it.
     We want you to have fun. We want you to stay safe.

New Wayfinding Signage

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New signage, designed to help you find your way around and to make your way back to the parking lot is in place at key locations throughout the property. This effort was coordinated by your volunteers and funded through a state trails grant. 

Dogs at the Charity Farm Lot

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 A friendly reminder to our visitors: Dogs are welcome at the Charity Farm Lot. Please remember that the Town of Bernardston does have a leash law. We ask that you keep your animals under control at all times and remember to clean up any poop. Thank you.


Please Protect Our Vulnerable Areas


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As mentioned earlier, state grant funding was used to repair the lower section of the View Trail, which had early signs of erosion that could only lead to further damage as seen elsewhere on the Charity Farm Lot..
     Unfortunately, someone rode an ATV through the repaired areas while the ground was soft and wet, causing ruts that could lead to a return of the erosion problem. It could have been an innocent mistake, since the trails were covered with fallen leaves.
     For this reason, we've placed signs and ask our visitors to keep motorized vehicles away from the lower half of the View Trail. We also ask you to refrain from using any motorized vehicles anywhere on the property whenever the ground is soft and wet.



Update: Trail Markers

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Please note that the temporary trail markers, made from colored tape and nails, have been removed and replaced by metal disks: red for the Road Trail, green for the Talus Trail, and orange for the Vista View Trail. They're not quite as bright as the fluorescent tape, so we filled in a few more at key points along the trails, and we expect that the arrows should provide better guidance. We've begun work on one of our cold-weather projects, the creation of wayfinding signage that provide verbal information at key locations. Additional information about our trails can be found below.


The Resting Forest

                                              2019 11 17 cfl scenic 013



Invasion of the Invasive Snatchers

                                                                                                                                      2018 04 14 cfl work party 002 framed                                                                                                        

Besides giving our April 14 restorative work party a cool name, Jean Page busted her behind and even served us cookies when we finished. In this photo, Jean and John begin to work their magic on an invasive barberry. Thanks a million, Jean!   


For the First-time visitor:

The Charity Farm Lot is located at 327 Bald Mountain Road, Bernardston, MA. Please note, however, that setting electronic navigation software may only put you in the general vicinity. The property is 0.4 miles north of the intersection of Bald Mountain and Burke Flat roads and marked with a large wooden sign. There is off-road parking for several vehicles.


facebook website version cfl map framed 

Please click here for downloadable/printable trail map 


Seen along the Talus Trail:


                                       2018 02 09 cfl 001       2018 02 09 cfl 002                                                                                                  


Trail Report

As of October, 2020:

Trails are marked with colored, metal disks with arrows nailed to trees. You can generally stand in the vicinity of one tag and see the next one. Please note that double tags indicate a turn in the trail. One ambiguous spot on the Talus Trail has a wooden sign close to the ground that indicates an important turn.

Please be aware that marked trails sometimes deviate away from wider sections in order to bring you to good things to see.

Remember that, if ever in doubt, the noise of Route 91 will lead you downhill to Bald Mountain Road.

The Main Trail, which begins at the northeast corner of the Parking Lot has been completely marked with red disks. It is a straight-line trail that runs from our western border uphill to the eastern border. The eastern border is marked with a tree that has two pink tags and a red blaze on the trunk. (Photo below) If you walk this trail, you will see our most serious erosion, which we hope to remediate in the future. Please note that it is labeled "Road" on the map.

The Talus Trail, which begins at the southeast corner of the Parking Lot has been marked with green disks. It extends to where it connects with the Main Trail near the Charity Farm Lot’s eastern border.

The Vista View Trail is a loop marked with orange disks. Visitors will find a great view near its midpoint. It has two trailheads, about two-tenths of a mile from one another on the north side of the Main Trail (left side looking uphill). The upper trailhead is a stone’s throw from our eastern border and the Talus Trail head.

Have fun, be safe!




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  The eastern border at the end of the Road Trail

Erosion and invasive species

Erosion and invasive plant species pose the greatest environmental risks to the Charity Farm Lot and the surrounding ecosystem. Key areas have been identified, and help with trail maintenance and remediation of invasives, which are ongoing efforts.  A portion of our state trails grant has funded remediation that required professional assistance. 

 Watch our two-minute video on erosion at the Charity Farm Lot: