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Retiring Housatonic River Walk Founder Talks Memories, Dreams

A map of the Housatonic River Walk.

In 1988, Rachel Fletcher organized a group of volunteers to help remove charred debris from the banks of the Housatonic River. It was the remnants of a Great Barrington, Massachusetts drug store, gutted by a fire a decade earlier. For Fletcher, what began as a single mission effort became a calling. Her desire to see the river flourish led her to organize the Housatonic River Walk, which has been developing and tending to the half-mile trail behind downtown Great Barrington with volunteer support for the past three decades. Fletcher is retiring next month. She tells WAMC about her favorite memories in service to the river and its community, as well as its future — namely, how to make sure the organization remains financially secure moving forward.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.