The Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) is a conservation non-profit that espouses egalitarian beliefs regarding nature. They want all people to be able to enjoy the great outdoors in addition to protecting land for ecological reasons. In pursuit of these goals, they spearhead hiking trips (and other excursions), which include some modest historical interpretation and discussion of flora and fauna. Their website has a great calendar that outlines some of the upcoming trips. Of note, is the August 13th Constitution Hill hike in Lanesborough. This ramble through the woods is fun and interesting. After all, this is where we first lit the bonfire to signal that MA had ratified the U.S. Constitution. If you find history a bit sleepy, that’s okay, there are social and fitness reasons to do the hike, which begins at the past home of writer and humorist Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw, real name). If you’re more into views, try the September 3rd North Yokun Ridge hike that borders Stockbridge and Lenox. Soak up the view from Olivia’s Overlook and follow Burbank Trail to Monks Pond (if you’ve hiked out from Kripalu, you may have taken this trip before). When I asked Doug Bruce, Land Manager and occasional wilderness hike leader about swimming in the Pond, he was intentionally vague. He remarked that a “No Swimming” sign was soon to be taken down by the authorities, so draw your own conclusions, I guess. Read trail signs for permitted uses, but most non-motorized uses are allowed with signage for horseback riding and mountain biking in particular. BNRC conserves land for public benefit; they are a critical partner for Berkshire Visitors Bureau in that BNRC owns much of the land used for eco-tourism; and, BNRC offers incentives to farmers who agree to conserve their land. Their focus is farms, forests, streams and ridgelines for wildlife and humans. Oh, one final note, Saturday, August 16th, there is a more rugged (off-trail) hike with some good elevation to Steadman Pond in Monterey.