South Hadley's Buttery Brook Park has been selected to receive a $500,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations (PARC) grant to support Phase 2 park improvements that will build on Phase 1 work that was done during an earlier round of funding some ten years ago. The project envisions the addition of some accessible walking trails and playground equipment as part of a focus on inclusion. Plans also include improved access to shelters and other facilities, disc golf, a new concert stage area, basketball court rehabilitation, and additional pickleball courts. Another major focus is environmental protection and awareness, with enhancements including stream plantings, new tree plantings, tree removal, and environmental and historical education signs/kiosks.
Town Meeting previously approved $710,000 for park renovations provided the grant is received and funds reimbursed. The Buttery Brook Park Friends group, which sponsors Friday Cruise Night fundraisers to benefit the park, provided financial support to develop the grant proposal. The design for the renovations is targeted for completion by May and it is anticipated that bids will go out in June so that work can be started over the coming summer. Grant money must be used by June 2025.
The PARC Grant Program was established in 1977 to assist cities and towns in acquiring and developing land for park and outdoor recreation. To be eligible for a PARC grant, communities must have an up-to-date Open Space and Recreation Plan; South Hadley's Plan can be viewed at the top link above.
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.
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!
Projects that the Bike/Walk Committee (BWC) has been tasked with in the most recent Master Plan Update include:
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).
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.
SUNDAY, March 10, 2024 at 1:00pm
Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley
Meet at 12:45pm (location TBD)
Watch for the Trek route and other details to be posted soon. Meet at 12:45pm (location TBD). Participants of all ages and new Trekkers are always welcomed.
Please note that this campus Trek will occur during the March 2-17, 2024 run of the annual MHC spring flower show at Talcott Greenhouse, which is open to the public from 10am to 4pm (www.mtholyoke.edu/directory/departments-offices-centers/botanic-garden). Participants may wish to allow time to visit the show before or after the Trek.
Treks are subject to change or cancellation due to weather or ground conditions. Please be sure to check this page on the Town website for any cancellation notices or other information: https://www.southhadley.org/bikewalk. Should there be a cancellation decision, information will be posted online by 10:00am on the day of the hike. A map showing the Ledges cart paths can be found below; see the link above for a map with several Ledges Treks.
SUNDAY, February 4, 2024 at 1:00pm
Ledges Golf Club, 18 Mulligan Road, South Hadley
Meet at 12:45pm in front of the Ledges Clubhouse (parking lot on right)
Ledges Golf Course-Trek Routes Map (PDF)
SATURDAY, December 9, 2023 from 5:30 to 7:00pm (or until supplies last)
Near the Log Cabin at Buttery Brook Park, Route 33, South Hadley
Lights provided by MassBike Lights Brigade program.
See News and Notes below for more details and weather cancellation info!
SUNDAY, November 5, 2023 at 1:00pm
Meet at 9:45am in the small hiker lot on Route 47/Hadley Street
Just north of 100 Hadley Street (Community Garden), South Hadley
Bachelor Brook-Stony Brook North Loop Trek Map (PDF)
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
SATURDAY, September 23, 2023 at 10:00am
Meet between 9:45 and 10:00am in the parking lot at South Hadley High School
153 Newton Street (Rt. 116), South Hadley (near Black Stevens Pond)
Black Stevens Trail and Trek Map (PDF)
More information about the Black Stevens Conservation Area
SATURDAY, December 9, 2023 from 5:30 to 7:00pm (or until supplies last)
Near the Log Cabin at Santa's Land, Buttery Brook Park, Rt. 33, South Hadley
On Saturday, December 9, 2023, volunteers from the South Hadley Bike/Walk Committee will be distributing free bike lights to South Hadley area cyclists as part of MassBike’s Lights Brigade program. Free sets of lights will be available near the Log Cabin at Buttery Brook Park from 5:30 to 7:00pm during Santa’s Land, or until the supply runs out.
STAY SAFE! STAY LEGAL! USE LIGHTS AT NIGHT!
Having front and rear lights on your bike is crucial. Without working lights, you are practically invisible to vehicles. All bike riders in Massachusetts are legally required to have front white lights, red rear lights, and rear and side reflectors when riding anytime from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise. MassBike’s Lights Brigade program supplies volunteers with free bike lights to distribute to cyclists in their community. Many riders find themselves out at night without the required lights to help them stay visible to drivers and others on the roads and paths, while being in compliance with the law. For more information visit www.massbike.org.
Should Santa’s Land be canceled due to bad weather, the Lights Brigade event will also be canceled. Please check www.facebook.com/butterybrookpark
or www.facebook.com/southhadleyrecreation for weather notices.
For information about climate-related work by South Hadley Conservation. visit: www.southhadley.org/1278/Climate-Change-Resiliency-Preparedness. Educational resources on a range of topics can be found at: https://www.southhadley.org/959/Educational-Resources. South Hadley's Growing Wild initiative provides resources and workshops on creating natural ecosystems: www.southhadley.org/1345/Growing-Wild.
Three group hikes are planned for Saturday, October 21, 2023 in connection with the third annual Mount Tom Trail Race and Hike, which benefits the Kestrel Land Trust. Guided Hike from 9-11:30am will go to to the Eyrie House Ruins at the summit of Mount Nonotuck; the second Guided Hike from 10-11:30am will go to Goat Peak, and the third is a Family-Friendly Nature Walk and Scavenger Hunt from 10:30-11:30am on trails at Mount Tom. For information and registration as a runner for the Trail Race, or to participate in one of the Guided Hikes, visit: https://www.kestreltrust.org/calendar/3rd-annual-mt-tom-trail-race-hike/. Opportunities are also available for volunteers on event day.
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.
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:
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
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
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
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).
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/.
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/
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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
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.