Black Stevens Conservation Area
Black Stevens Conservation Area (77 acres)
Perhaps the most visible and used of the conservation areas due to its proximity to South Hadley High School and location on Newton Street, the Black Stevens Conservation Area provides marked walking trails extending from Newton Street to the Plains Elementary School at the corner of Route 33 and Route 202. Situated along Newton Street, Black Stevens Pond is probably the most publicly identifiable feature of this area. This property was acquired in three sections: smaller tracts in 1963 and 1966, and then in 1981, a 47-acre parcel from the Stevens Paper Mill, all with financial assistance from the state’s Self-Help Grant. The pond originally provided high quality water for the paper mill.
Newton Smith Brook flows through a wooded ravine into the pond. The forested site includes oaks, maples, paper birch and hemlocks, with wildflowers such as pink lady’s slippers in the spring. The area is mostly deciduous woodland, with tall stands of pine, two steep ravines, a pond and marsh, and a stream that flows through the main ravine. Follow along Newton Smith Brook as it flows into the Black Stevens Pond. Black Bears and Great Horned Owls have been spotted here. Classes from both schools use this area for nature study.
This area provides trails extending from the High School at 153 Newton St to the Plains Elementary School at 267 Granby Rd. Visitors may park in either of the school parking lots. The 77-acre property was named for Dr. M. Gene Black, a former Conservation Commission member, and for the Stevens Paper Mill.