Easthampton lands $374K grant for new trail system along Mount Tom range 

  • The current design for the Mt. Tom North Trailhead Park. CITY OF EASTHAMPTON

  • The current design for the scenic area at the proposed Mt. Tom North Trailhead Park. CITY OF EASTHAMPTON

Staff Writer
Published: 11/10/2020 8:55:25 AM

EASTHAMPTON — The city has received a $374,000 state grant that will allow it to construct a trail system and recreation area off of East Street that promises opportunities for hikers of all abilities.

The Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant will be combined with $176,000 of Community Preservation Act funding to pay for the final design and construction of a trail system that will stretch across two properties that total 22 acres, one of which is owned by the city and the other of which is owned by the Kestrel Land Trust. The project is being dubbed the Mount Tom North Trailhead Park.

“We’re going to spend all winter going through final designs,” said City Planner Jeffrey Bagg. The city plans to break ground in July, with the trails opening in the fall of 2021, he said.

The public weighed in on designs for the trail system as well as designs for a scenic area on the property earlier this year. Bagg said the city is looking at elements from multiple designs. Plans include a handicapped-accessible trail that will overlook the Oxbow of the Connecticut River.

“The vision is an ADA-accessible path to get to the viewshed,” said Mayor Nicole LaChapelle.

For moderately skilled hikers, the trail system will provide a hiking loop up to Little Mountain, which is on the property, and for more advanced hikers it will connect to the New England National Scenic Trail, with access to Mount Tom.

This is the second PARC grant that the city has received for the project, having received a $400,000 grant that it matched with $380,000 of CPA money to purchase its portion of the property and aid the Kestrel Land Trust in purchasing its parcel. The Pascommuck Conservation Trust also contributed.

Bagg said the city and its partners are looking to create an endowment for the future maintenance of this trail system.


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