If you’ve explored Kestrel’s Greenberg Family Conservation Area in Westhampton since it opened in 2018, you probably agree that it’s a gem. Over the past couple of years, building on the generosity of the Greenberg sisters, Carolyn and Rebecca, who treasured this land and wanted it to be available to the community, Kestrel’s stewardship team has repaired, expanded, and blazed the trails; created a small parking area; erected a platform at the gathering circle; built and installed a welcome kiosk; and published a downloadable map of the property.
It’s been gratifying to see and hear the enthusiasm of so many people who’ve spent time at the Greenberg property during this challenging time. Neighbors walking their dogs. Hampshire Regional High School students trail running or getting hands-on science lessons. Holyoke High School students installing benches they’d made in woodshop. Families exploring the woods and stream with children. Volunteers pitching in to make the trails more user-friendly. People of all ages taking a leisurely stroll.
With the onset of COVID-19 this spring, the Greenberg property began to see a significant increase in visits as people sought healthy outdoor recreation opportunities. This is exactly the kind of community resource we hoped to create. The recent increase in use, however, has had some impacts on the trails and streambank that now need to be addressed.
The main challenges are:
- Existing wet areas that were moderate issues with lighter use, but have become significant issues with heavier use. Mudholes never get better on their own and only get worse with any level of continued use, so mitigation measures are needed.
- Streambank impacts caused by hikers avoiding a mudhole on the Brookside Path, and from there taking multiple routes down to the brook (rather than the planned one marked for use). We need to provide a more inviting pathway down to the stream that will focus people in fewer access points.
Kestrel has developed a plan to address these challenges through the immediate creation of bridging on the Tulip Tree Trail, followed by a phased approach to repairs of the Brookside Trail. We’re seeking funding from local sources for this work, and we also welcome support from the community. Special thanks to the Westhampton neighbors who learned about the needed trail repairs and have already sent donations to help with the cost.
If the Greenberg forest and stream are important to you, please consider making a tax-deductible gift to make this work possible. On the donation page under “Purpose of Your Gift” select “specific current campaign” and choose “Greenberg Conservation Area Trail Repairs” from the menu.
Thank you, and we hope to see you out on the trails soon!