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 Selectboard, Recreation Department, Conservation Commission, and connect with other groups locally and regionally. The Committee works to support implementation of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission’s bike/walk comprehensive plan for South Hadley.
BWC is seeking new committee members
Are you 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? 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 will hold virtual interviews for town boards and committees at their two meetings in September 2022, and those who apply will be contacted with instructions on how to attend. Candidates will be officially appointed in October 2022. The Selectboard does appointments three times a year, in October, February, and June.
The Bike/Walk Committee normally meets at 6:30pm on the second Tuesday of the month, and currently meetings are 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
Woodlawn Dedication Celebration
On Saturday, September 10, 2022, Bike/Walk will participate in the Woodlawn Dedication Celebration at the Woodlawn Park/Senior Center complex with a Woodlawn Neighborhood Trek and 'tour' of the outdoor fitness equipment at the Senior Center. This festive community day will offer fun for all ages. Free, outdoor, family activities from 11am to 1pm will include the Bike/Walk Trek, face painting, yoga, Nerf archery, DJ music, and a Whiffle Ball home run derby. A cornhole tournament (ages 13+, team entry fee) will follow from 1 to 5pm. Food and beverages will be available for purchase during the day.
The celebration will conclude with an Adult Evening of Music and Dancing from 6:30pm to 9:30pm at the Senior Center for young-at-heart adults of all ages featuring the popular Northampton-based Bad News Jazz and Blues Orchestra. Admission is free and will include refreshments to sample from popular South Hadley restaurants and SHHS Culinary Program, and a cash bar. Save the date and view or download an event flyer for more information!
Save the dates for these upcoming Treks for Fall 2022, details to come:
- Sat, September 10—Woodlawn Celebration/Neighborhood Trek (see above)
- Sun, October 16 at 1pm—River to Range Trail
- Sun, November 6 at 1pm—Leaping Well Nature Trail
Our free, public Treks resumed last fall. After an in-town Trek in October, , participants enjoyed a November guided Trek of the Upper Lake Loop and Boardwalk at MHC with Dr. Olivia Aguilar of the Miller Worley Center for the Environment. In February, 2022 participants trekked over newly snow-covered paths at the Town's Ledges Golf Course.
When scheduled, Treks are usually held on Sunday afternoons at 1:00pm with participants gathering at 12:45pm. We do not schedule Treks in June, July, and August. Participants of all ages and new Trekkers are always welcomed! All Treks are subject to change or cancellation due to weather; should that appear necessary, please check this page for a notification. To join our mailing list, email email@example.com.
Get Ready to Ride Bike Event
In celebration of Baystate Bike Month in May 2022, the South Hadley Bike/Walk Committee held an afternoon event for people of all ages at Buttery Brook Park. The event offered a K-8 bike rodeo featuring informative and fun bicycle education activities, bike inspections and safety checks, information about rules of the road, and a chance to try out e-bikes. Competitive Edge Ski & Bike of Easthampton, AAA of Hadley and Greenfield, Valley Bike, and the South Hadley Police Bike Patrol, participated, along with the Batch Ice Cream Ice cream truck.
Previous Trek maps and information
- Sidewalk Scenic Trail Trek Map-Senior Center/Black Stevens Loop (PDF)
- Black Stevens Conservation Area Trail Map-2018 (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)
- 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)
- Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke Trek (PDF)
- Woodlawn Neighborhood Trek Map with
Senior Center Outdoor Fitness Stations Guide (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
A Conversation About Community Seating
The Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC) hosted “A Conversation About Community Seating” from 11:00am to 12:00pm on Friday, June 24, 2022 via Zoom.
South Hadley’s newly adopted Master Plan Update calls for prioritizing places for people to sit, and to gather, outdoors. Seating on walking routes, in or near parks, transportation stops, shopping, conservation areas, and elsewhere will help create the thriving community envisioned in the Plan. Several boards, committees, and commissions are charged with making this happen, including the Bike/Walk Committee (BWC). BWC will be involved with helping to develop a bench sponsorship campaign and a master map for outdoor seating and gathering areas. MPIC is seeking input from those identified in the Master Plan as well as anyone else who is interested in this project. This initial conversation was held to help identify a working group and to determine its tasks. What sorts of issues should it consider? These might include locations, types of seating, installation and maintenance costs, mapping community seating resources, other? How could necessary funds be generated?
If you'd like more information about the project or would be interested in joining a working group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (please add 'Attn: Lucia Foley/Community Seating' in the subject line).
News and Notes
South Hadley Volunteer Conservation Corps
Two workdays are planned in August. To RSVP, email Conservation Administrator/Planner Rebekah Cornell at: email@example.com. Please check your email before each event for weather notices in case of thunderstorms and cancellation. Hope to see you there!
River to Range: Thursday, August 11th 4:30pm. Meet at 240 Ferry Street
General trail maintenance, weeding of bench areas. Bring water, snacks, and your favorite garden tools (trowel, pruning shears, small saw). I'll bring a collection of VCC tools and buckets for use. Easy, light work for an hour or so.
Black Stevens: Tuesday, August 23rd 9:30am. Meet at 153 Newton Street (the high school trailhead). Trail cleaning & moving downed trees. With the heavy storms that have been coming through, there are a number of small trees that need at least two people to move them off the trails. I expect to be able to move most of them with 1-2 people in addition to myself. If something is too big for us to move we will leave it in place. Moderate work for 1-2 hours. Bring water, gloves.
Source to Sea Clean Up: Mark your calendars for Friday, September 23. More information to follow next month!
Be sure to check out South Hadley's Monthly Conservation Newsletters!
Summer reading recommendations:
The Book of Hope by Jane Goodall & Douglas Abrams (biography)
Where the Crawdads Sing by Dehlia Owens (adult fiction)
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (non-fiction, nature)
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech (youth fiction)
Uncultivated: wild apples, real cider and the complicated art of marking a living by Andy Brennan (non-fiction, gardening/food)
There are numerous exciting projects underway to improve trails and resources on our conservation lands as part of South Hadley's Volunteer Conservation Corps. In recent months volunteers have helped to clean up and prune trailheads at Bynan and Black Stevens, did trail maintenance and installed a new bench donated for Leaping Well Nature Trail, and cleared downed trees and reset a trail marker at Bachelor Brook. To learn more about work parties and other opportunities to help, contact Conservation Administrator/Planner Rebekah Cornell: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Routes 202/33 Corridor Plan
Earlier this summer 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.
Westfield to Join Valley Bike Share
The Whip City is joining South Hadley, Amherst, Chicopee, Easthampton, Holyoke, Northampton, Springfield and West Springfield, along with the University of Massachusetts this fall with the installation of two ValleyBike Share program stations at Westfield State University and the PVTA's Olver Transit Center.
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 mid-May, 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 on May 12, 2022 in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
Walking Activities for Seniors
SOCIAL STROLLERS GROUP
The South Hadley Senior Center's Social Strollers walking group, which resumed in April 2022, meets on Tuesdays at 1:00pm for fresh air and exercise is led by volunteer Huguette Supinski. The group will be addoing a 'destination walk' each month starting in May. For questions or to register, email: email@example.com or call 413.538.5030.
2022 MASSACHUSETTS WALK CHALLENGE | May 1 to October 31, 2022
This year's Massachusetts Council on Aging challenge runs from May 1 to October 31, 2022 and is open to everyone in Massachusetts, ages 5 and up. Participants can walk with family, friends, or on their own. For every challenge completed by a South Hadley senior or by a 'sponsor' under age 60, the South Hadley Council on Aging receives an entry to win up to $1000 for fitness programming (last year our senior center won a $250 prize). Those working on challenges are also entered into drawings for Visa, Amazon, and Dunkin' gift cards. Those 60 and under can 'sponsor' an older adult, by entering their name (no fundraising is involved) on the website when you create your challenge.
Select one of 5 different challenge levels--walking for days, time, miles, or steps, then choose a challenge based on a Massachusetts fun fact. Choose your challenge based on your walking abilities, or challenge yourself to reach a higher goal. You can walk inside, outside, on a track, or a treadmill (the Senior Center has several)--wherever you want. Enter your results at www.walkmachallenge.com between May 1 and October 31 and you’ll be entered to win at each milestone (five chances to win total). It’s that easy!
Call Sandy Farnsworth at 413.538.5030 x6205 to let her know you’re joining the challenge. Local participants will be entered into an additional South Hadley Senior Center raffle.
Help Protect the Lauzier Farm on Alvord Street
This 210-acre farm 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, the land has been farmed for decades. To purchase an Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) that will prohibit housing development and permanently protect this important farmland and scenic landscape, the Town continues to work in partnership with Kestrel Land Trust to raise a local match of $150,000. For more information on the campaign or to donate by check to the South Hadley Conservation Commission, see: https://www.southhadley.org/1100/Protect-Lauzier-Farm. To make a donation online through Kestral Land Trust, visit: https://www.kestreltrust.org/lauzierfarm/. All donations are tax deductible.
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.
ValleyBike Share (VBS) now offers service year round. In South Hadley, pedelec bikes are normally docked at three stations: Mount Holyoke College Station (on the Town Common, intersection of Rts 116 and 47), Woodlawn Plaza Station (494 Newton Street), and the Eink Station (by the Police Station at 41 Bridge Street). For current availability see: https://www.valleybike.org/map. In 2021 Chicopee and West Springfield joined Amherst and UMass, Easthampton, Holyoke, Northampton, South Hadley, and Springfield as VBS program communities.
For more information: https://valleybike.org/ or the ValleyBike Facebook page. If you have any difficulties or need additional information, contact VBS at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For urgent matters, call VBS at: 1-877-460-2435.
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 email@example.com.
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
Street and Bike Lane Projects
Roadwork has continued throughout the summer on Route 33/Lyman Street for a new shared biking and walking path along Lyman Street, beginning south of the Route 116/Newton Street lights and extending to near Plains School. The project, which is nearing completion is anticipated to include some crossing areas with flashing beacons along the route and near the school.
Additional street reconstruction and resurfacing work on Route 116/Newton Street is planned by MassDOT in the area between Route 202 and the Kendrick Street intersection. The project is meant to include new sidewalks and crosswalks, and ADA compliant ramps. An on-road buffered bicycle lane is also planned along the majority of the corridor, which is home to South Hadley High School and the Woodlawn neighborhood.
MHC Grounds Reopened to the Public
The outdoor grounds of the Mount Holyoke College campus reopened to the community in May 2021 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 will not be needed while walking outdoors, but will still be required for everyone at any outdoor events regardless of vaccination status. For details, see the College's reopening advisory, as well the campus map and campus trail information.
Buttery Brook Park Facility Rentals
While Buttery Brook Park pavilions and other park facilities were not rented during the 2021 season due to the pandemic, the park has remained open to the public. Restrooms are currently 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 will handle all reservations and rentals, and provide 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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