Editorial: The stuff of great vision

For nearly a decade, the Crotched Mountain Foundation has been working to preserve the land surrounding its Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center campus in Greenfield. In 2011, private funds were used to build an accessible trail system and, in October, a $2.27 million federal grant enabled Crotched Mountain to place 1,226 acres, including the trails, in conservation with a U.S. Forest Legacy designation. It means the land will be permanently protected from development and opened to the public for outdoor recreation. A film focused on the accessible trail system made by Hancock resident Michael Havey — which just won Best Short Documentary in the SNOB Film Festival in Concord — is reaching a wider audience with the good news.

Crotched Mountain employed Havey’s business, Yasvin Communications, to make the documentary and now has it posted on the organization’s website. The Crotched Mountain campus in Greenfield includes a school, hospital, outpatient clinic, brain injury center and athletic complex, as well as community services for those with medical conditions and disabilities. Crotched Mountain offers services to more than 2,000 residents in New Hampshire and across New England.

The work to preserve and make accessible land surrounding Crotched Mountain was the work of many people, according to CEO of the Foundation Donald Shumway. In a viewpoints piece published in the Ledger-Transcript in October, he credited Crotched Mountain staff, friends and supporters, as well as a number of representatives at the state and federal levels, for their efforts. It’s something everyone in the region can take pride in as it represents some core values here: inclusivity of people of all abilities and a love and respect for the outdoors. Sunset Lake and other wetlands, as well as countless plants and animals, will enjoy protection under this easement, a priceless gift to all residents of the region.

The federal grant is also supporting Crotched Mountain. As Shumway explained, “Finally, this $2.2 million federal grant, funded through offshore drilling leases, will strengthen the financial stability of Crotched Mountain Foundation. Our workforce of 800 staff will be supported in continuing their unique and vital services to thousands of our most vulnerable children and adults who have experienced the most significant of disabling conditions.”

As this example shows, big projects often take years to flesh out, build consensus around and then fund. In this case, there are countless, and many deserving, people who will benefit from the easement, signifying what you might call the greater good. This is the stuff of great visionaries. In June 2011, Crotched Mountain’s Senior Vice President Michael Redmond credited Shumway with bringing a focus to the center’s surrounding landscape, beginning in 2003.

It takes special vision to survey the land, both metaphorical and literal, and see its highest potential. A leader looks for a win-win; a great leader finds multiple wins. And when vision and leadership come together, something awe-inspiring happens. The Crotched Mountain trails and easement are a case in point.

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