Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Airport Expansion at Turner's Falls Defeated.

Recall this airport expansion would have destroyed a small rock pile site. I wish we could get a proportional effort on some of the other sites of importance.

(via Norman Muller).
Indian stones to be protected at Turners Falls airport
By ARN ALBERTINI Recorder StaffPublished:
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
TURNERS FALLS -- The federal government has ruled a group of stones discoveredin the path of the planned runway expansion at the Turners Falls MunicipalAirport is a ''sacred ceremonial hill'' and eligible for inclusion on theNational Register of Historic Places.An archaeologist hired by the Federal Aviation Administration had said thestones were rocks left over from a stone wall built in the 19th century.But, American Indians from the Narragansett, Aquinnah-Wampanoag and Mashpee-Wampanoag tribes said the site was a collection of sacred stones.The state's historic preservation officer said she did not think the propertywas eligible for a spot on the National Register.The issue was sent to keeper of the National Register for a final determination.''The site is central to the cosmology of the combined tribes and thetraditions that have marked Native American sacred and ceremonial practices fornumerous generations,'' according to a ruling from the keeper.''Located in the middle of the Connecticut River region of New England, thissite also possesses the potential to yield important information abouttraditional Native American practices, beliefs and sacred rituals.''Reacting to the ruling from the National Register, John Brown, tribal historicpreservation officer for the Narragansett Indian Tribe, said, ''From our pointof view, we simply used modern science to confirm things we already knew fromour own history about our own science. The technology of today confirmed thesame technology from hundreds and thousands of years ago. The observations oftoday were no different than the ones we had then. We are not the simple folksthat many people think tribes were.''Now we need to sit down with the FAA and the Turners Falls Airport Commissionand determine the next steps.''Plans to expand the Turners Falls Municipal Airport have been on hold since2007, awaiting a ruling on the status of the stones. The FAA and theMassachusetts Aeronautical Commission are paying all costs of the project,estimated at $5 million.The airport still plans to expand its runway, but the project will now be splitinto phases, Airport Manager Michael Sweeney.This summer, work will begin to replace the existing runway, built in 1960, andadd 200 feet to the Connecticut River side of the airport, he said.Plans to add 1,000 feet of runway to the Millers Falls side of the airport willbe re-designed so the expansion doesn't disturb the stones, said Sweeney,adding that he hopes this work will begin in 2011.The FAA will work with environmental agencies and American Indian groups onthis redesign to ensure their concerns are addressed, he said. ''In the end,it's a balancing act of all the parties' interests.''Because the current runway is in such poor condition, the MAC and FAA decidedto break the project into phases so the current sections can be fixed rightaway, he said. ''We're very grateful.''The replacement of the taxiway, originally scheduled for this year, will bepostponed until the other two phases are complete, said Sweeney. The cost ofthat project hasn't yet been determined, he said.Beyond the hill itself, the whole airport as well as much of the surroundingarea, down to the Connecticut River, the islands in the Connecticut River, theconfluences of the Millers and Deerfield rivers and parts of the MontaguePlains, are among the areas that should also be considered as part of aNational Register-eligible historic/archeological district, known as a TurnersFalls Cultural Landscape, the ruling said.The stones at the airport are the central component of a ceremonial landscape,which stretches out in a 16-mile radius from the hill, the ruling said.To help make its determination, staff from the National Register of HistoricPlaces visited the site, interviewed representatives of the Narragansett,Aquinnah-Wampanoag and Mashpee-Wampanoag American Indian tribes, reviewed datafrom those tribes and reviewed data from the FAA.It's important for everybody to work together on deciding the next steps, saidBrown. ''I think that being gracious is the only way to go. It's time toeducate rather than expatriate or excommunicate.''Depending on how you look at this, it could be a very positive thing,'' saidBrown, adding that the region's American Indian heritage holds the potentialfor a tourist attraction. ''I'm sure there are those that could find somethingnegative with it, but if everybody sits down and discusses the matter, I thinkcooler heads will prevail.

''You can reach Arn Albertini at: or (413) 772-0261 Ext. 264Talkback: NewsIndian stones to be protected at Turners Falls airport
By ARN ALBERTINI Recorder StaffPublished on January 06, 2009
TURNERS FALLS -- The federal government has ruled a group of stones discoveredin the path of the planned runway expansion at the Turners Falls MunicipalAirport is a ''sacred ceremonial hill'' and eligible for inclusion on theNational Register of Historic Places.

Reader comments:
Hello blue. If you expand the runway you allow for larger jets to land. Theymay not pay a fee if they do not stay over night which is correct. However, youwould have to a new business there to take care of those jets. To fix themclean them refuel then. Guess where all that tax money goes? To the towns.
By PR Report Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 05:01 PM

So...I went to the meetings about this airport expansion. What you probablydont know is ..That the tax payers and going to pay for part of this and not get any money inreturn. Why ..Because they cant charge if an airplane lands at the air port only if theystays over night.Which means you can have coporate jets landing there and taking off and you getnothing.. but, more noise pollution, more air pollution and more waterpollution. And no revenue.So basically its going to be nothing more than a playground for people thathave toys and money to play with.I can see resurfacing the run way ..but there is only one reason they want tomake it longer larger planes will be able to land.They said at the meeting that large air craft wont be able to land. Well no,not 727's but right now you have planes that cary 6-8 people.When they expand you will be getting larger ones that hold 18-20 people.The voters of Turners and Montague had the oppertunity to stop this expansion.What were they thinking.If I could have vote would have been "NO" without a doubt.But not only does this affect the villages of Turners, Montague, Lake Pleasant,Millers and Gill, but all these planes coming and going will Affect Ervingside.I for one dont want more planes flying over my house but because I live on theother side of the river and could not vote..I have no choice.I say..close the place down..and put in a multi cultural center. Some thingthat will bring in tax dollars and revenue instead of spending it. Glad I donthave to pay taxes in that town.Mr. Metrowest....BOONDOGGLE is putting it mildly...pulling the wool over youreyes..might sum it up.
By blue Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Hit while the kettles hot... Time for an Indian run Casino on that land. Massnever stops amazing me.By Mike from Waldorf Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 10:42 AMMontague should grab the opportunity being presented by the Native Americangroups and the National Register by shutting down Taxpayers Memorial Airport.The Airport is a boondoggle that only exists due to massive subsidy fromfederal, state and local taxpayers. Given the nation's current financialstraits, shutting down the airport would free up funds much better usedelsewhere.Protecting the area as a region of cultural, historical and environmentalsignificance is a brilliant and timely idea. It would likely convince the FAAto walk away from whatever investment it has sunk into the airport, and relievethe town from supporting a perennial money loser. Turning the Airport into adestination for groups interested in the area's significant cultural valuewould have an impact on tourism that could be significant.Maybe time to think outside the box - and do something right for a change.By mrmetrowest Tuesday, Jan 06, 2009 at 09:04 AM

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