Living up to its moniker as an Appalachian Trail Community, Cheshire will allow hikers of the trail to camp overnight on town property.

The Berkshire Eagle  reports the designated campsite on municipal land next to the town Highway Department, immediately off the trail, should be ready for use during the height of the 2020 hiking season, according to municipal officials.

On Monday, Levesque formally proposed the project on behalf of the town to the Cheshire Planning Board. The board unanimously granted the necessary special permit, by a 5-0 vote, so the town could establish the camping area.

Hikers bedding down for the night near the Hoosic River will have access to town drinking water, use of a portable toilet and two picnic tables donated by the Appalachian Mountain Club. The Highway Department will handle the trash barrels provided to the hikers. Only tent camping will be allowed, as the town has no plans for a permanent shelter on the site.

Cheshire's Appalachian Trail Community Committee, working with town officials, has led the effort to carve out an official camping area, replacing the unofficial stopover.

 

Appalachian Trail hikers often stop in Cheshire to grab a bite to eat, replenish supplies, receive packages at the post office or occasionally pitch a tent for the night, where permissible. Such hospitality earned Cheshire recognition as an Appalachian Trail Community in June 2018. The designation recognizes communities for their part in promoting awareness of the trail as an important national asset.

Cheshire joins Dalton, Great Barrington, North Adams and 42 other such-honored communities along the 2,175-mile-long trail from Georgia to Maine. Berkshire County contains the entire Massachusetts section of the trail.