About the South Hadley Bike/Walk Committee
The South Hadley Bike/Walk Committee (BWC) originated as a working group of the Sustainability and Energy Commission. In September 2015, the Committee was formally designated as an advisory group to the Selectboard. Members are appointed annually and our goals include the development of safe bike/walk routes and outdoor resources throughout our community. We work with the Recreation Department, Conservation Commission, and connect with other groups locally and regionally. The Committee works to support implementation of our Master Plan and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission’s bike/walk comprehensive plan for South Hadley.
The Bike/Walk Committee normally meets at 6:00pm on the second Tuesday of the month, and meetings are currently held virtually on Zoom. The Committee, whose members are appointed annually to one-year terms, serves in advisory capacity and works closely with the Recreation Department, which can be reached by email with questions or for information at email@example.com.
To email the Bike/Walk Committee or to be added to our distribution list for updates on Bike/Walk events, Treks, and news, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on biking in Massachusetts: MassBike Pioneer Valley and Mass Bike.
Agendas & Minutes
New Bike/Walk Committee members
New members bring ideas and energy and are always welcomed. If you are a South Hadley resident with an interest in biking, walking/hiking, and outdoor resources who'd like to to make a difference for current and future residents, please consider applying to serve on the Bike/Walk Committee.
Bike/Walk Committee members, who are appointed annually to one-year terms, work to promote and improve our outdoor assets and to implement the vision in our Town's Master Plan, including increasing outdoor Community Seating. We organize free, public Treks during fall-winter-spring months to help introduce people of all ages to our Conservation areas, trails, historic areas, and other places of interest. We love new ideas, and are particularly seeking members who would enjoy helping to develop new Treks and activities for families, assist in envisioning and creating a new Community Seating initiative and commemorative bench program, and those with some trail expertise.
The Selectboard makes appointments to Town boards and committees three times a year, in October, February, and June. To apply to serve on the Bike/Walk Committee, start by filling out an online application. Before each appointment period the Selectboard will interview applicants for all positions, and candidates will be contacted with information about interviews. Please join us at an upcoming meeting if you're interested in our work!
South Hadley Community Seating and Historic Walks
Projects that the Bike/Walk Committee (BWC) has been tasked with in the most recent Master Plan Update include:
- Helping to develop a master map for outdoor community seating/gathering areas and bench sponsorship program
- Working with the South Hadley Historic Commission to host Historic Treks
If you have an interest in helping to improve our outdoor resources, history and local stories, and connecting our present landscape to its past, please consider assisting with either or both of these projects, either as a volunteer or a BWC member. For more information please email email@example.com (Attention: Lucia Foley).
Bike/Walk Treks and Cruises
Our free, guided hiking Treks, which resumed in Fall 2022, are most often held on Sunday afternoons at 1:00pm with participants gathering at 12:45pm. During tick season in June, July, and August we generally avoid scheduling hiking treks in wooded areas. We do sometimes offer hiking Treks or biking Cruises at different times or days, or plan other types of events. Participants of all ages and new Trekkers are always welcomed. To join our mailing list, Email firstname.lastname@example.org. All Treks are subject to change or cancellation due to weather. Should that appear necessary, please check this page (www.southhadley.org/bikewalk) for cancellation information.
Black Stevens Guided Trek
SATURDAY, September 23, 2023 at 10:00am
Meet between 9:45 and 10:00am in the parking lot at South Hadley High School (near Black Stevens Pond)
153 Newton Street (Rt. 116), South Hadley
Black Stevens Trail and Trek Map (PDF)
More information about the Black Stevens Conservation Area
Join us for a guided Trek at the Black Stevens Conservation area, which is a large wooded area that sits between South Hadley High School (on Newton Street/Rt 116) and Plains Elementary School (on Granby Road/Rt 202). It is a very popular place to walk in South Hadley. The Trek, which will be led by Bike/Walk Committee members Jim Buckley and Pat Tracey, which will be approximately 1.75 miles long and take about an hour. There are some uphill portions to start the trek, which is a loop that begins at the Newton Street trailhead near the high school, travels to the area near Plains School and returns. The trail does have some elevation so the beginning will be uphill, while the return is mostly downhill. There are a number of raised roots along the way, so some care should be taken while walking.
Meet at 9:45am in the South Hadley High School parking lot near Black Stevens Pond and the trailhead on Newton Street (see the Trail Map). Wear long-sleeved shirts/pants due to mosquitoes/ticks, weather-appropriate clothing and safe footwear, and bring water, bug spray, and walking poles, if desired. New Trekkers are always welcomed! Attendees should bring water, and are encouraged to have some bug spray. Please note that construction on Route 116 for a culvert project located between the high school and the District 1 fire station may still be in progress so, it may be preferable to approach Newton Street/Route 116 from Lyman Street/Route 33, north of the high school.
A decision to cancel for inclement weather will be made by 3:00pm on Friday, September 22. Should cancellation be necessary, information will be posted on the Town website, the Recreation Department site (southhadleyrecreation.org).
South Hadley Falls Guided Historic Trek
SUNDAY, October 8, 2023 - 10:00 to 11:30am
Meet at 9:45am in the South Hadley Public Library parking lot
2 Canal Street, South Hadley
An in-town Guided History Trek planned by the South Hadley Historic Commission and local historian Leo LaBonte in cooperation with the South Hadley Bike/Walk Committee is planned as part of the upcoming Showcase South Hadley community event on October 6-8.
The walk will start at the library, proceed down Canal Street, turn up Maple to Taylor, then to North Main. From there we cross over to Lathrop to Crescent and back to North Main. We continue down North Main to the Firehouse Museum for a water break. Then back up to the library to the end. During the 1.2 mile walk Leo Labonte will point out historical facts for 42 locations.
Leo Labonte is a local historian and the administrator of the South Hadley/Granby Historical Tidbits Group on Facebook and Co-Admin of “You know you are from South Hadley If”. He is the co-Author of the Historic District Study Committee Report. A graduate of South Hadley High School and Vietnam Veteran. Leo was involved in high tech, engineering, sales and consulting for more than twenty years, before completing another twenty years in the retail environment. He has been researching Native Americans in South Hadley, dinosaurs, and 300 years of local town history since he was in elementary school.
Wear weather-appropriate clothing and safe footwear and bring water and walking poles, if desired.
Bachelor Brook-Stony Brook Guided Trek
SUNDAY, November 7, 2023 at 1:00pm
Bike/Walk Committee members Caroline Martin and Anne Barry are planning a Trek through the beautiful, but underused, north section trail at the Bachelor Brook-Stony Brook Conservation Area, which can be accessed from the trailhead on Hadley Street/Route 47. There are lots of interesting plants and the area is great for bird lovers. Additional information and a Trail/Trek map will be posted as plans are finalized.
December 2023 and January 2024
No Treks are currently planned
Winter Trek at the Ledges Golf Course
SUNDAY, February 4, 2024 at 1:00pm
Additional information will be posted as plans are confirmed. This is the Sunday between the AFC/NFC Championship Games on January 28 and Superbowl LVIII on February 11, so it's a great day to get outside at the Ledges! South Hadley's public golf course is open in the off-season for passive recreation such as walking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing (no snowmobiles allowed), but please take care to stay off of the greens. Save the date!
Trek/Trail maps and information
- Sidewalk Scenic Trail Trek Map-Senior Center/Black Stevens Loop (PDF)
- Black Stevens Conservation Area Trail Map-2018 (PDF)
- Black Stevens Trail and Trek Map (PDF)
- Mount Holyoke College Trail System Map (PDF)
- Mount Holyoke College (MCH) Campus Map: map.mtholyoke.edu
- MHC-Campus Living Laboratory
- MHC-Project Stream Boardwalk
- Ledges Golf Course-Paths Map (PDF)
- Ledges Golf Course-Trek Routes Map (PDF)
- Bynan Conservation Area Trail Map (PDF)
- Walking the Falls | South Hadley Falls walks and historical info (PDF)
- River-to-Range Loop and Bachelor-Stoney Brook Conserv. Maps (PDF)
- Bagg-Pierce Wildlife Sanctuary Trail and Ortho Map (PDF)
- Leaping Well Nature Trail Map (PDF)
- HahnWarnerArboretum (PDF)
- Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke Trek (PDF)
- Woodlawn Neighborhood Trek Map and
Senior Center Outdoor Fitness Stations Guide (PDF)
- South Hadley Conservation and Recreation Areas Map (PDF)
Conservation areas and hiking trails, recreation, river access
- Hiking trails mapped with GPS
- South Hadley conservation lands
- Conservation land regulations
- Parks and Recreation facilities, DCR ParksPass Program
- Holyoke G&E river resources, including South Hadley Riverside Parks
- REI Learning-Bike Maintenance Videos and Informational Materials
- REI Learning-Outdoor Topics Dashboard
News and Notes
South Hadley Falls Bird Walk on September 9, 2023
The South Hadley Conservation Commission, in collaboration with the Hampshire Bird Club, is hosting a walk for the public at 8am on Saturday, September 9, 2023 to investigate the birds living, flying and feeding below South Hadley Falls. The group will meet at 8 a.m. at the entrance to Texon Mill Park. Park at the South Hadley Public Library parking lot at 2 Canal Street, and walk down the hill at the rear of the lot to the entry gate for Texon Mill Park.
In advance of the September 9th bird walk, the Hampshire Bird Club is also hosting an optional Zoom talk and discussion on Tuesday, September 5, from 7-8 p.m. to acquaint people with the birds they may see the following Saturday, as well as how to prepare for the walk. Please register for the Zoom talk at https://bit.ly/2023bfe.
History on the Go!
The Pioneer Valley History Network (PVHN) brings together several historical institutions to create 'trails' for the history-loving public to follow. Between August and November 2023, five 'history trail' weekends will be offered:
- Hilltowns History Trail: Sat, Aug 5 from 10am to 4pm
Shelburne Falls, Buckland, Ashfield, Plainfield, Cummington
- Changing Boundaries Trail: Sat, Aug 19 from 12pm to 5pm
Hampden, wilbraham, E Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Enfield CT
- Following the Trolley Trail: Sat, Oct 14, 9:30am to 12pm
Hatfield, Whately, Deerfield, Greenfield
- Tri-Town History Trail: Sat, Oct 14, 10am to 4pm
Granville, Southwick, Westfield
- West Side History Trail: Sat, Nov 4, 10am to 4pm
Springfield, W Springfield
The project is supported by a grant from the Mass. Cultural Council. For a brochure with details, see: https://pvhn.files.wordpress.com/2023/07/hotgo-brochure_edits6-21.pdf
ValleyBike Share 2023 Delay
In April, ValleyBike (https://valleybike.org) announced a delay in the 2023 rollout of the 8-community regional bike share program, which is on hold this year as a result of an issue with the bike vendor, Bewegan. The City of Northampton, as lead community for the program, which serves Springfield, West Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee, Easthampton, Northampton, South Hadley, Amherst, and UMass/Amherst has been working to renegotiate a contract. As of late June, the program is unfortunately still down. For more information, see: https://www.southhadley.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=801
Volunteer Conservation Corps
The Corps is comprised of residents who volunteer their time to help maintain town owned Conservation Area Land. Upcoming dates are tentatively the first Saturday of each month in July, August, September, and October, 2023 from 10am to 12pm, with volunteers meeting at 9:45pm. To volunteer and confirm dates and locations, please RSVP to Conservation Administrator Rebekah Cornell at email@example.com. For more information about Conservation activities, visit: https://www.southhadley.org/1161/Monthly-Newsletter
2023 Arbor Day Celebration at Hahn-Warner Arboretum
The South Hadley Tree Committee and Conservation Commission invites the public to attend the 2023 Annual Arbor Day celebration that will take place on Friday, April 28th, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Hahn-Warner Arboretum, on the hillside behind the Michael E. Smith Middle School. A native Eastern Redbud tree will be planted by Middle School students in honor of Mike Lamontagne, South Hadley naturalist, educator, and former South Hadley Tree Warden. In case of rain, the ceremony will take place in the Middle School Library. For details about the Arboretum and a map, see: HahnWarnerArboretum (PDF).
Volunteer Opportunities for 7 Sisters Trail Race
The annual 12-mile Seven Sisters Trail Race following the ridge crest of the Holyoke Range of the will be held Saturday, May 6, 2023. For more information about the event (racer registration has been filled) and volunteer opportunities: https://7sisterstrailrace.com/volunteers/.
Western Mass Rail Meetings on March 21, 2023
Area residents are urged to attend one of the LAST two public meetings that the legislature’s Western Massachusetts Passenger Rail Commission will host in our region. Two meetings on Western Mass Rail will be held on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 and participants may attend either in person or via Zoom for public comment from area residents. A meeting in Northampton will be held at 1:00pm at Senior Center, 67 Conz Street (and also via Zoom) and the Springfield meeting will be at 6pm at the Top of Our City/Scibelli Hall Conference Center at STCC, 1 Armory Square. Attendance is important because interest is gauged by attendance and/or submitting comments. For more details, Zoom links, and other information, see: https://trainsinthevalley.org/2023/03/14/1chance-tuesday-march-21st/
Fundraising Goal Met to Product Lauzier Farm on Alvord Street
The Town of South Hadley announced in November, 2022 that as a result of our community’s extraordinary generosity and a leadership gift to close the remaining funding gap, the $190,000 local match toward the cost of protecting the Lauzier Family Farm on Alvord Street has been met. This success is the result of enthusiastic community support and a partnership with Kestrel Land Trust to protect this 210-acre farm which is the last of its kind in South Hadley. Located near the Connecticut River, the Town-owned Newton, Carver, Jones Conservation Area, and the Ledges Golf Club, this scenic and fertile land that has been farmed for decades will become "Forever Farmland." The purchase of an Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) preserves and protects land with agricultural soils from use for non-agricultural uses and keeps that land affordable for future farmers. The voluntary program pays farmers a significant portion of the difference between the fair market value for development and the fair market agricultural land value of their land, in exchange for a permanent deed restriction.
The Conservation Commission’s Land Conservation Fund and Kestrel Land Trust continue to welcome donations to fund future land acquisition and conservation efforts. Learn more about donating to Kestrel online at: https://www.kestreltrust.org/give/donate/. Donations by check can be mailed to: Town of South Hadley Conservation Commission, Town Hall, 116 Main St, South Hadley MA 01075.
Bay State Tops 2022 Bicycle-Friendly Rankings
The League of American Bicyclists recently released its annual ranking of states on their policies and practices. Until now, since the rankings began in 2008 Washington has ranked first, but Massachusetts has now claimed first place for its efforts to promote safety and ridership--though there is still work to do on traffic laws and practices. For more information and individual state report cards: https://bikeleague.org/content/new-2022-bicycle-friendly-states-rankings-massachusetts
CityStrides Run Tracking App Resource
Easthampton resident James Chevalier, formerly of Holyoke, created an app to help users achieve a goal of running, jogging, or walking every street in their communities. CityStrides (https://citystrides.com/) combines data from OpenStreetMap with run tracking tools from Runkeeper to create a resource that is now available to users worldwide. As of May 2022, some 47,000 people in over 90 countries have used the app to add and complete almost 4.3 million streets. While the app is available at no charge, users can elect to be supporters of the project for $5 a month. A story about Chevalier and CityStrides was published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
Reminders for Dog Owners
During these times where more of us are using local outdoor public facilities, we want to remind all dog owners of the expectations in public spaces.
- Dogs must be leashed at all times at South Hadley Conservation Areas and in all public spaces and Town trails.
- Pick up any pet waste and take it with you, no matter where you are. Do not leave it on a trail or in a bag on a trail, or on grassy or wooded areas near sidewalks, etc. Dog poop is more harmful than you may think--Take the Pet Waste Pledge to help keep our local waters clean.
- Dogs are NOT allowed at Town parks (Buttery Brook Park, Beachgrounds) and school facilities, etc.
The South Hadley Dog Park is located near the Ledges Golf Club and has designated play areas for small dogs and large dogs. See the Friends of the South Hadley Dog Park website for info and park rules: southhadleydogpark.org.
Doo Your Duty! Help prevent water pollution and health risks caused by pet waste that can flow into storm drains, and the into rivers and streams. Take the Pick Up Poop (PUP) Pledge today, an initiative of Connecticut River Stormwater Committee! For details, visit: thinkblueconnecticutriver.org/pet-waste-management.
South Hadley Hiking Trails
While dogs are allowed on Town trails and conservation areas, pets MUST be leashed (please note that dogs are not allowed at Town parks). Please be sure to pick up any pet waste and take it with you--do not leave it on a trail or in a bag on a trail. Pack it in, pack it out. If you have trash to dispose of, please take it home with you if there are no trash receptacles in the area or if they are full. If you’re out on our trails in town, please maintain safe social distancing when passing other hikers. If you see anything untoward on the trails, e.g. vandalism, obvious motorized use (including what appears to be constructed ramps and/or oddly placed structures), garbage or other debris, fallen trees across paths, please send us a note to report the concern at, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Located off Ferry Street, the River-to-Range Trail is a one-mile, ADA-accessible path that is part of the Bachelor Brook-Stony Brook Conservation Area. The loop and associated trailhead parking lot are adjacent to the Mount Holyoke College’s boathouse at 240 Ferry Street, South Hadley. The trail loops around the outer edges of a hayfield with seasonal views of the Connecticut River, then through a forested section overlooking the floodplain of Bachelor Brook. The trail is open to non-motorized use and designed to accommodate mobility for impaired people and features a compacted crushed aggregate surface for easy walking. Four sitting areas with informational signage are spaced throughout the route. The loop represents the first phase of a three-phase scenic trail project. Trail Map for River-to-Range and Bachelor Brook-Stony Brook Conservation Area
MHC Grounds Open to the Public
The outdoor grounds of the Mount Holyoke College campus has reopened to the community in conjunction with the state's Covid-19 guidance. All buildings continue to be closed to the public. Fishing is allowed at the Upper Lake off Park Street and behind the Kendall Center, but is not permitted at the Lower Lake or other campus waterways. Please carry out any trash brought to the campus, including pet waste and fishing supplies. Masks are not bneeded while walking outdoors, but continue to required inside MHC buildings. For details, see the College's reopening advisory, as well the campus map and campus trail information.
Buttery Brook Park Facility Rentals
Buttery Brook Park pavilions and the log cabin will be available for rental during the 2023 season, from May through September. Restrooms are closed and visitors are asked to carry out any trash (please note that dogs are not allowed at this park). The South Hadley Recreation Department handles all reservations and rentals, and provides availability options, general information (including any rules about liquor), and details about any insurance requirement. Pricing and additional information will be available once operations resume. Please direct all inquiries about seasonal facilities and rentals to the South Hadley Recreation Department by email at email@example.com.
Tick Testing Resources
The University of Massachusetts Laboratory of Medical Zoology halted service during the pandemic and is unable to accept samples for testing at this time. The UMass Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment offers a list of potential tick identification and testing alternatives at: https://ag.umass.edu/resources/tick-testing-resources
Routes 202/33 Corridor Plan
In 2022 the Planning Board held a Zoom forum to present the Final Report of the Routes 202/33 Corridor Final Plan. The study, was conducted with a planning assistance grant from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and looked at the heavily traveled corridor in conjunction with the adjacent communities of Granby and Chicopee. Access to the Black Stevens Conservation Area and trails, Buttery Brook Park, and Leaping Well Reservoir are located within the corridor in South Hadley, where the Plan recommends protecting these wetlands and creating design standards that address pedestrian safety, promote walking and create common green space. Creating standards for the area around Big Y Plaza that focus on pedestrian-friendly improvements that increase landscaping and pedestrian safety is also recommended. For more information, the full plan can be reviewed at: Routes 202/33 Corridor Plan.