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Temporary Closure of Mitch’s Island

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Mitch's Island On CT River

Until further notice, Mitch’s Island must be closed to public access due to extreme misuse of the land.

Mitch’s island is a beloved area for day users and campers. Unfortunately, the 2020 season has seen excessive cases of extreme disregard for the land, public safety, and public health. Reports of current use include activities that are harmful to private property rights, constitute a nuisance and trespass, and are a public safety hazard. These include alcohol consumption, fires, dumping of trash, disturbance of natural resources, electrically amplified sound which disturbs the peace, overnight camping, congregating in large groups, and acts of aggression toward others. (See images of impacts below.)

The island’s several owners, including Kestrel Land Trust, have determined that Mitch’s Island must be temporarily closed to public use for the remainder of the season. During that time, Kestrel Land Trust will continue to work with our partners on a management approach for the future that protects both recreational users and the island’s natural values.

Located within the Connecticut River, the island contains a rare floodplain forest, which is an important natural feature for regulating the flood capacity of the riverbanks, as it absorbs floodwaters and slows fast moving currents. Valley Land Fund, Inc. acquired a portion of the island in 2000 with the intent of transferring ownership to the state as part of the CT River Greenway State Park. Following its merger with Valley Land Fund in 2010, Kestrel Land Trust accepted partial ownership of the island and is committed to preserving this unique floodplain forest while allowing for respectful public access for recreation.

Kestrel Land Trust’s goal is to help create a healthy, welcoming river that boaters, paddlers, and all members of the public may safely and peacefully enjoy. We’re continuing our work with the Towns of Hadley and Northampton, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and CT River Paddler’s Trail with the goal of ensuring that the island is permanently protected and available to the public, in a way that promotes a leave-no-trace approach to recreation.

Questions and comments may be addressed to Kestrel Land Trust, 413-549-1097 or info@kestreltrust.org.

A volunteer clean-up day will be held the week of August 23.

Debris and Impact from Campers

Garbage on island

Garbage pile on island

 

Burned tent debris

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