Living in the Pioneer Valley, we are fortunate to have an abundant array of natural places to get outdoors. The challenge can be knowing where to find these places and what to do once you get there. Sometimes trail maps don’t exist for these places, or if they do, they may be difficult to find or use.
That is why we are excited to announce the release of a series of 20 new trail maps that provide a guide for you to explore nature on protected conservation areas and public trails around the Valley. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a first-time hiker with kids, these maps are a resource anyone can use. We want people of all ages to use these maps to feel comfortable exploring a trail they haven’t seen before. You may even discover there’s a place close to home that you didn’t know about!
The trail map collection offers a suggested walking route for each location that can be completed in about an hour or less. These routes don’t require any special gear other than walking shoes, and can be enjoyed by all members of the family. The collection includes the universally accessible Fort River Birding and Nature Trail at the Silvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge in Hadley, which provides people of all abilities access to a rich outdoors experience. The other maps include suggested routes for town conservation areas in Northampton, Amherst, Belchertown, Hadley, and Pelham.
“Our goal with these trail maps is to inspire more people to enjoy the public parks and trails that Kestrel has helped create with our town, state, and federal public partners over the past several decades,” –Kristin DeBoer, Executive Director
Kestrel Land Trust was thrilled to work with Northampton-based design firm, Transit Authority Figures on this project, which designed the striking “Preserved Farmland” signs, seen on protected farmland around the Valley. Founder and Creative Director Rob Stewart, who designed the trail map collection, generously donated much of the firm’s time to help create the clean, stylized design for the maps. Stewart tested the maps out himself.
“My 10-year-old daughter and I set out to hike with a map in hand. While creating the maps, it was a primary concern that the map side read correctly, so I was surprised and delighted to see how engaged we both became with the map’s ‘Suggested Route’ narrative. Not only did it help guide the hike but the words unspooled like a scavenger hunt, giving us items to spy for through the woods. –Rob Stewart, Transit Authority Figures
Kestrel thanks the Leo S. Walsh Foundation for its generous support of this project.
We also welcome your volunteer help to improve these trails. Join our volunteer TRAIL CREW to help Kestrel help our public partners make these trails more welcoming for everyone.
Amethyst Brook Conservation Area