Our Story

Our founder, a true American visionary, sounded the alarm...

As one of the country's first and foremost landscape architects—he was only the second person to earn a degree in landscape architecture—Charles Downing Lay pursued his vision of a healthy Housatonic River Valley, rallying neighbors and friends to his cause. To read more about the life and ideas of this extraordinary man, please click here.

In 1941, Mr. Lay founded the Housatonic Valley Conference, the organization that eventually became today's dynamic Housatonic Valley Association.

HVA, a tri-state nonprofit citizen’s environmental group, works to conserve the natural character and environmental health of its communities by protecting and restoring the land and waters of the 2,000-square-mile Housatonic watershed from its source in the Pittsfield, Massachusetts area to Long Island Sound for this and future generations.

Our common-sense solutions balance important economic and environmental needs allowing for smart growth that preserves open space, wetland habitats and scenic vistas, and protects drinking water. 

HVA monitors water quality, adds sections to the Housatonic RiverBelt Greenway (linking preserved space along the Housatonic River with hiking and biking trails), and uses computer mapping to help towns measure the impact and benefits of land use and development.

In addition to its Cornwall Bridge office, HVA has offices in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and Wassaic, New York.


Frost Farm in Sharon, Conn.

Kent Riverside