The Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area’s operational goal is to provide a management framework to foster a close working relationship with all levels of government, the private sector, and the local communities in the upper Housatonic Valley region to conserve the region’s heritage while continuing to pursue compatible economic opportunities.
To that end, we are to assist communities, organizations, and citizens in the State of Connecticut and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in identifying, preserving, interpreting, and developing the historical, cultural, scenic, and natural resources of the region for the educational and inspirational benefit of current and future generations.
The heritage area is the watershed of the upper Housatonic River, extending 60 miles from Kent, CT, to Lanesboro, MA. The heritage area footprint was originally proposed to comprise 848 square miles, including eight towns in Connecticut and eighteen in Massachusetts. Three more communities were later included (Becket & Hinsdale, MA and Colebrook, CT), adding 116 square miles for a new total of 964 square miles.
The Connecticut towns are Canaan, Colebrook, Cornwall, Kent, Norfolk, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon, and Warren. The Massachusetts towns are Alford, Becket, Dalton, Egremont, Great Barrington, Hancock, Hinsdale, Lanesboro, Lee, Lenox, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Marlboro, Pittsfield, Richmond, Sheffield, Stockbridge, Tyringham, Washington, and West Stockbridge.
The Berkshire (MA) and Litchfield Hills (CT) that surround the watershed have helped shape a distinct regional culture and have provided natural borders for the proposed heritage area. The upper Housatonic Valley is distinct from the lower Housatonic Valley, which stretches from New Milford, CT south to Stratford, CT.
The lower Housatonic is more urbanized and is connected to the Greater New York Area. The portion of the upper Housatonic Valley study area in Massachusetts is in the south and central parts of Berkshire County. The northern part of Berkshire County, including Williamstown, Adams, and North Adams, is within the Hoosic River watershed and is not included in the heritage