GREENFIELD — Crotched Mountain Foundation has been recognized for its forestry and land management practices with its recent designation from the Hillsborough County Conservation District as the 2013 Hillsborough County Tree Farm of the Year.
The rehabilitation center has had a certified tree farm for the past 27 years that includes 1,247 of woodland acres located on the southerly aspect of Crotched Mountain with portions lying within the towns of Greenfield, Francestown, and Bennington.
Crotched Mountain received the award for its commitment to providing outdoor recreation opportunities, maintaining the enjoyment of its natural beauty and maximizing the diversity of the habitat for all species.
It initially started with a commitment to observing sustainable forestry practices as well as a nod to the land’s former use, said Michael Redmond, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Crotched Mountain Foundation, on Tuesday.
“This was a working farm before it was a rehabilitation campus,” Redmond said.
Much of the credit for the recognition should go to Bob Todd, president of Todd Land Use Consultants of New Boston, who serves as the forester on the land, Redmond said.
He added that the creation of two handicapped-accessible trails on the property also contributed to the award.
Creating the trails, which are the only federally recognized accessible trails in a mountain terrain, was suggested by the Forest Society after a nature resource inventory.
Knowing that it fit with the facility’s mission, Crotched Mountain created the trails, which opened in 2011.
“If we did that, it would really then tie that mission with our support for people with disabilities with the asset of our land,” Redmond said.
“The administration at Crotched Mountain has a wonderful land ethic, and they truly believe in ensuring future sustainability of the land, conserving and using natural resources wisely, and creating an environment for all to enjoy for years to come,” Todd said in a statement. “I like to say it’s both a hospital and a school without walls, as Crotched Mountain combines traditional health care and rehabilitation therapy with the healing power of nature.”