After acquiring 23 acres of land together, Kestrel Land Trust and the City of Easthampton are now working to create Easthampton’s first secure public access to the Mount Tom State Reservation and the New England Scenic Trail.
When complete, this conservation/recreation area will also provide an accessible trail leading to views over the Oxbow and the foothills of the Berkshires. Public benefits of this project will include:
- Permanent access to Mount Tom State Reservation & the New England National Scenic Trail for Easthampton and surrounding communities as well as through-hikers,
- A safe trailhead with parking on East Street, easily reached from the Manhan Rail Trail, Route 5, Easthampton & Northampton,
- Handicap-accessible overlook and gathering place with vista of Arcadia, the Oxbow, and distant hills,
- A protective buffer for wildlife and plant habitats on Mount Tom State Reservation – one of the most important biological refuges in the Commonwealth,
- Preservation of an historic access point and iconic views of Mount Tom,
- Increased community awareness about the value of and challenges facing Mount Tom, with public fundraising organized through a partnership of public and private organizations.
Nestled below Nonotuck Peak, the 23-acre “Savoie” property at the north end of Mount Tom extends from East Street up to the Mt. Tom State Reservation boundary, where the New England National Scenic Trail enters the mountain woodlands. In its past, the land once provided access to the historic Eyrie House hotel & resort. This site now offers picturesque views of Arcadia and the Connecticut River Oxbow, shrub land habitat for several unusual bird species, and a prominent, wooded hill visible from I-91 south.
The new conservation/recreation area will provide a critical natural buffer between roads and neighborhoods to the west and north and the 1,967-acre State Reservation and adjacent protected land owned by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the City of Holyoke, and the Trustees of Reservations.
Just 1,000 feet from the Manhan Rail Trail, the location is convenient to Easthampton and Northampton centers and will replace the current, unsecured public access point to the New England Trail on Underwood Avenue. With frontage on East Street, the property will provide parking space and an orientation kiosk. From the trailhead, all visitors will be able to enjoy a planned accessible trail up to the lookout to survey the view over the Oxbow to distant hills. Hikers can access the 22 miles of trails on the State Reservation or set off southwards on the New England National Scenic Trail.
Acquisition of the land for this project has been made possible by the generous support of the Beveridge Family Foundation, an anonymous donor, Pascommuck Conservation Trust, Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding approved by the residents of the City of Easthampton, a Parkland Acquisitions & Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and a Massachusetts Conservation Partnership grant.
For more information, read the August 5, 2019 story about this project in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.