Scenic Hadley Farmland Still at Risk for Solar Array Development
When the “For Sale” signs went up the scenic farmland at the corner of South Maple Street and Moody Bridge Road in Hadley, Kestrel heard from many residents in the region who were concerned that it would be sold for solar array development.
We quickly reached out to the landowner–the energy company Eversource–to discuss conservation options. However, several months later, the For Sale signs came down, and the land was taken off the market. At that time, the fate of these 31 acres was unclear, as Eversource would not share its plans for this land.
In January, Eversource approached the town of Hadley with its new plans for the property: a 1-megawatt solar array. Kestrel Land Trust supports the expansion of solar power when it is sited appropriately. But we believe this parcel is not the best place for a solar array.
We are currently working with Eversource to find for a more suitable location that could be swapped as a site for this proposed solar installation. Kestrel would then purchase the South Maple Street land, and would work with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to add this land to the Fort River Division of the Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refuge.
We believe this beautiful land—part of a mosaic of farmlands, grasslands, and riverlands between the Mount Holyoke Range and the Fort River—should be conserved to preserve clean water, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities. Folks from all over the Valley have let us know how much they care about this scenic area and have contributed to help Kestrel respond rapidly when opportunities arise to protect special places, like this one, in perpetuity.