On a rainy evening in April 1976 a group
of forty one hunters, fishermen, and others interested in the conservation of our wildlife resources met at the former American
Legion hall on Church Street. Many of those present were former members of Stockbridge Fish and Game Club or the old Stockbridge
Sportsmen’s Club, which had been defunct for more than a decade.
While the main objective of
the earlier groups had been social meetings, the organizers of the meeting that night unveiled a much more ambitious program.
First and foremost would be the acquisition of property where a clubhouse and various shooting ranges could be located. A
secondary, yet somehow very important consideration was the goal of having Echo Lake (Averic Lake), the Town reservoir, opened
for an ice fishing derby one day each year.
Although the pessimists at that first meeting vociferously
doubted the possibility of either of those projects reaching fruition, there was enough support to encourage the organizers
to proceed. And so the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club was reborn to a new era here in the heart of the Berkshire Hills.
The first group of officers and board members included many well known Stockbridge residents: J. Martin
Salvadore, Gary Johnston, John Decker, Tom Barnes, Edward Slosek, Francis Brazie, Raymond Whalen, Bill Williams, Jim Kiley
and George Schneyer II. While a search committee scoured the town for a suitable piece of land, fund raising projects were
instituted in the form of membership dues, raffles, dinners and fishing derbies. It soon became apparent that fast action
would be necessary if there was to be any hope of finding property that would offer the necessary requirements of ample size
in an unobtrusive location and at an affordable price. Finally a piece was found that seemed to meet the club’s needs.
Forty acres on West Stockbridge Mountain had been taken by the Commonwealth during construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike
and subsequently forgotten by the state. The club’s attorney had to perform a title search to prove to the powers-that-be
that the state did indeed own the property. What followed was a nightmare of red tape, unraveled only through the persistence
of the officers of the club and the assistance of our state senators, Jack Fitzpatrick and Peter Webber. The day finally came
in October 1982 when the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club, Inc. presented a check for $20,177 to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
in exchange for the land. They were on their way.