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Getting Out on the Trail Improving Access to the New England Trail on the Eastern Holyoke Range

Project Overview Project Overview & Goals 1 Project Scope & Client 2 Context: Eastern Holyoke Range Holyoke Range Context & NET 3 Topography & Ecology 4 Open Space & Trails 5 Trail and Trailhead Design DCR Trail Class Guidelines 6 Trailhead Class Guidelines 7 Trailhead Design Principles 8 Ricci Site Analysis & Design Existing Conditions 9 Context 10 Topography & Ecology 11 Circulation & Views 12 Site Summary 13 Final Design 14 Arrival Detail 15 Sweet Alice Site Analysis & Design Existing Conditions 16 Context 17 Topography & Ecology 18 Circulation & Views 19 Site Summary 20 Final Design 21 Arrival Detail 22 Design Details Preliminary Grading Plans 23 Planting & Vegetation Management 24 Materials & Cost 25 Eastern Holyoke Range Assessment & Planning Trailhead Inventory 26-27 Trailhead Analysis 28-29 Prioritizing Trailhead Development 30

For the Appalachian Mountain Club, Amherst, MA | by Emmy Titcombe and Tamsin Flanders | Spring 2018 | The Conway School

References 31


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New England Trail

western Holyoke Range eastern Holyoke Range western Holyoke Range eastern Holyoke Range

South HadleySouth Hadley

Selected trailhead parcels Mountain range

Granby Granby

Town line

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Structure Roads

Holyoke & Holyoke & Springfield Springfield

¹ N¹

Project Focus Area

The Appalachian Mountain Club, along with several stakeholders detailed on the following page, has requested the help of students at the Conway School to explore trailhead legibility on the range and design trailhead enhancements for two parcels with trails that connect to the NET. The project goals are as follows:

Developed DCR trailheads

Mt. Norwottuck

Project Vision

ng the ridge ns alo line The NET ru of the Holyoke Range

Connect people to natural areas and increase stakeholdership in land conservation through increased visibility of the New England Trail and local trails on the Holyoke Range.

The Notch

• Perform a broad assessment of trailhead access throughout the eastern portion of the Holyoke Range. • Assess the suitability of two conservation areas in Amherst (Ricci and Sweet Alice Conservation Areas) as sites for trailhead enhancements. • Create designs for the conservation areas that will improve the visibility of and access to local trails and increase awareness of their connection to the NET. • Explore ways trailheads can engage non-traditional trail users. • Create a trailhead toolkit applicable to different trailhead locations and trail classes.

Route 116

Ricci Conservation Area

Bay Road

Sweet Alice Conservation Area

North-facing slope of eastern Holyoke Range, looking south

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

Project Goals Improving Access to the NET

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Ricci

Spring 2018

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Ran

Sweet Alice Ricci Sweet Alice k tucn. wot t

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Amherst Amherst

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Though dozens of access points to the NET encircle the range, the distribution, visibility, accessibility, and management of these trailheads varies widely. With the exception of three well-signed Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) trailheads with parking, trailheads along the range as a whole lack clarity. Most of these access points don’t strongly read as trailheads and parking is rare; at the majority of these trailheads, no mention of the New England Trail is made.

Northampton Northampton

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From Mount Norwottuck, the tallest peak on the Holyoke Range, sweeping views stretch out over the Connecticut River Valley to the north and along the ridge west to Bare Mountain and east to Long Mountain. From this point one can explore a multitude of trails on the Holyoke Range, or strap on an overnight pack and hike all the way through Connecticut to the Long Island Sound or to Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire via a long distance trail known as the New England National Scenic Trail (NET), or by its original name, the Metacommet-MettabassetMonadnock (M-M-M) Trail. The dramatic east-west running Holyoke mountain range serves not only as a scenic backdrop for the valley’s residents, but as a highly valued ecological and recreational resource. The Holyoke Range puts a day-hike with unparalleled views within a short drive of several large population centers.

Hadley Hadley

Greenfield Greenfield

Pelham Hills Pelham Hills

Project Overview

The Holyoke Range draws hikers from across the region, but access is limited on the eastern half.

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Project Overview & Goals

2


Site Scale Design

The all-volunteer Berkshire Chapter of the AMC has stewarded the M-M/NET in Massachusetts since the 1960s. AMC employees operating out of Amherst, Massachusetts, manage the Berkshire Chapter.

This section builds on site analysis, trailhead design standards, and design principles, to develop site-specific recommendations for the improvement of the Ricci and Sweet Alice access points. The trailhead and arrival experience on each property has been re-envisioned with a preliminary design, grading plan, and planting/management recommendations. The process of conducting site analysis and applying design principles followed here could be applicable in a variety of locations and trail types along the length of the New England Trail.

$ Amherst Office

MA DCR owns most of the land on the Holyoke Range. This patchwork of state-owned land constitutes the Mount Holyoke Range State Park.

Kestrel Land Trust Kestrel Land Trust is a non-profit land conservation organization based out of Amherst that is committed to conserving land on the Holyoke Range as well as to getting people out enjoying that land. Kestrel has had a hand in conserving much of the private and state- and townowned property on the range, including the two conservation areas this project focuses on.

Town of Amherst Conservation Department The Conway Team

il

Berksire Chapter Volunteers

Ne w E land T ng

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Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) While DCR does provide and manage four trailheads with signage and parking, many DCR trails are accessed via town- or privately-owned land. DCR regularly works with other land owners and conservation organizations to manage the range’s trail system, identifying opportunities for trailhead development, closure, and increased consistency of signs and amenities across the network.

Eastern Holyoke Range Trailhead Assessment

A coarse preliminary inventory and assessment of conditions, ownership, and use of the eastern Holyoke Range’s trailheads identifies when trailheads in the area have low legibility and limited parking. Further analysis may be necessary before stakeholders plan for trailhead development and/or closure along the entire Holyoke Range. A tool for prioritizing and guiding the decision-making process is outlined at the end of the plan set.

When the M-M-M trail gained federal designation as the New England National Scenic Trail in 2010, the NPS took on the role of lending technical and financial assistance to the trail’s partners. In this role, NPS continues its efforts to raise awareness of the trail’s national status, assist with maintenance, and diversify the usership of the trail.

The Town of Amherst owns multiple properties on the range, including the Ricci and Sweet Alice Conservation Areas. The town has expressed interest in improving access to and maintenance of town-owned conservation properties, especially those that get residents and visitors on the range.

Spring 2018

Analyses of the range’s character as a whole informs site-scale analysis. Site-scale analysis focuses on the ten acres of Ricci and Sweet Alice closest to the road—meadowed portions of each property whose open character creates views and experiences that make them destinations unto themselves and that serve as an “arrival zone” relative to the range as a whole.

National Park Service (NPS)

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Site Scale Analysis

The AMC is the oldest conservation and recreation organization in the United States, with over 3,400 members in western Massachusetts. As steward of the New England Trail, but not a landowner, the AMC has a vested interest in working with the public, nonprofit, and private landowners whose land the New England Trail traverses to ensure its continued use, and to highlight the existence of and access to the trail.

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

This plan set presents analysis and design recommendations at the eastern Holyoke Range and site scales.

Stakeholders

Project Overview

Client Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC)

Improving Access to the NET

Project Scope

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Project Scope & Client

3


Location & Geology

The New England National Scenic Trail

Interstate highways 90 and 91 connect the range regionally to eastern Massachusetts and to bordering states, easily bringing outside visitors traveling by car within reach of the range. A single road, Route 116, bisects the range north-south; a public transit route crosses the range here. In a brief survey conducted in 2009--which provides a rough picture of users across the range--DCR found that 72.9% of park visitors traveled 20 or fewer miles to the Mount Holyoke State Park and that 21.7% of visitors were considered “tourists�, having come from a distance of greater than 40 miles (13).

The 215-mile New England Trail runs from the Long Island Sound in Connecticut through Massachusetts to the border of New Hampshire. In Massachusetts, it tracks north along the Mount Tom Range to the Connecticut River, and picks up across the river in Hadley, where it follows the ridgeline of the Holyoke Range. Sections of the New England Trail have been on the map in one form or another for nearly 80 years. In 1929 Connecticut resident Theodore Salisbury Woolsey began connecting and mapping segments of the Metacomet-Mattabesett trail. In 1951, Walter Banfield continued connecting segments of the Metacomet-Monadnock trail in Massachusetts.

The demographic data collected from the 500 users in the 2009 study found that the wide range of visitor ages suggests that facilities need to be both child and senior friendly, that multilingual signs may be appropriate, and that free parking and entry to the park are likely important for the many low- and medium-income households visiting the range (14).

The two M-M trails run through some of the most densely populated parts of the country with roughly two million people living within ten miles of the trails. The trails provides hikers with unparalleled views of the New England landscape and access to unique geologic and natural features. When development began to threaten the continuity of the trail, organizers began looking for ways to protect the trail from fragmentation and secure funding for trail maintenance. As a result of their efforts, the trail received designation as a national scenic trail and was given the additional name of the New England Trail in 2009. This project focuses on trailhead analysis and design in order to increase awareness and access to the NET in the eastern half of the Holyoke Range.

Needs Identified by Users In the same study noted above, users were asked what they liked the least about the park; 28% indicated insufficient trail markers and 21% indicated that trail maps were unclear or unavailable. These respondents also suggested increasing trailhead parking, improving trail markings, updating maps, and increasing enforcement of regulations along trails (DCR 2013 32).

Mount Tom Range

Mount Norwottuck

Bare Mountain

SOUTH HADLEY

Mount Holyoke

HOLYOKE Mount Tom I-91

HADLEY

Route 47

Long Mountain

GRANBY Route 116

AMHERST

Connecticut River

Holyoke Range

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

The New England Trail runs 215 miles from the Long Island Sound in Connecticut to the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border.

Towns surrounding the range are largely rural-suburban and rely on the higher education economy. Together, the four towns are home to four colleges and half of their combined population of 69,000 people are students. The larger population centers of Northampton, Holyoke, and Springfield lie within 20 miles of the range, contributing to a total of 700,000 residents who reside within 20 miles of the range (DCR 2013 14).

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

New England Trail

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

User Groups

50 mi.

Eastern Holyoke Range

0

Improving Access to the NET

The Holyoke Range is located in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, and spans the towns of Hadley, Amherst, Granby, and South Hadley. This east-west oriented mountain range, created by the uplifting of sedimentary arkose overlaying volcanic basalt, rises dramatically out of the wide Connecticut River Valley. The underlying bedrock geology is visible in many places on the range and continues to influence the plant and animal communities found there today.

Spring 2018

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Holyoke Range Context & NET

4


Ricci

Lawrence Swamp

Baby Carriage Brook Mount Norwottuck

New England Trail BioMap2 Core Habitat

New England Trail

NHESP Habitat

Water

Vernal pool

Medium-yield aquifer

Roads

Roads

Structures

Structures

Drainage and Water Resources

0

0.25 0.5

1

Miles

Drainage flow direction

N

BioMap2 Core Habitat and NHESP Priority Habitat

Water 0

0.25

0.5

Miles 1

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Connector trails and associated trailheads are necessary in many areas to bring people up onto the range and to the NET. In order to allow people to enjoy the range with minimal impact on natural plant communities and wildlife habitat, it is important to gain understanding of the ecology of the range. This understanding can help to guide trail and trailhead development decisions.

N

Topography

Vegetation

Wildlife & Habitat

The range’s northern slope is steeper than the southern slope, dropping from 1,000 feet to valley-floor elevations of 200 to 300 feet. Exposed basalt cliffs along the north slope are a view into the range’s volcanic history. Shorter hikes to the ridge from the trailheads located at the base of the north slope are steeper and sometimes more challenging. Given the topography, there are likely to be fewer opportunities for accessible trails on this portion of the range, although there may be opportunities to do so where slopes flatten at the base of the range.

Upland forest covers most of the Holyoke Range. This is predominantly hemlock-northern hardwood forest with patches of pine-oak, oakhickory, beech-maple, with natural communities unique to ledge closer to the ridge line. In total 840 plant taxa are known to have current populations on the Holyoke Range (DCR 2013 19). Distribution of plants is highly influenced by bedrock type, resulting in higher plant diversity occurring on northern slopes where basalt bedrock is exposed or close to the surface. Trailhead parcels selected for design are covered predominantly by meadow, hemlock-hardwood forest, and acidic swamp.

The Holyoke Range is a large block of intact forest surrounded by agricultural, residential, and light commercial development. The Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program (NHESP) ranked the Mount Holyoke Range State Park as the fourth most ecologically important park under DCR’s jurisdiction state-wide. Nearly 90% (4,943 acres) of the land on the range between the major roads is considered BioMap2 Core Habitat (DCR 2013). Similarly, NHESP identifies nearly 70% (3,398 acres) of the range as priority habitat of rare species. While the north slope of the range has very few vernal pools, there are rare and endangered plants on the north side.

Users accessing the range from either Ricci or Sweet Alice will travel through a wide range of plant communities, adding interest to the hike and creating opportunities to learn about the unique plant and animal communities found on the range.

The range’s intact forest, dramatic elevation change, and mineral-rich bedrock is recognized by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as climate resilient habitat, encompassing many connected micro-climate options for species on the move. Additionally, TNC has identified the range as a corridor for long-distance climate-driven migration, connecting the Mount Tom Range, Pelham Hills, and Quabbin area——intact forests and areas with confirmed biodiversity——with each other. Land protection on the range may allow existing plant and wildlife communities to persist, adapt, and remain available for human appreciation.

Water & Drainage Water drains from the eastern range’s ridge to local brooks, one of which passes through the Lawrence Swamp and associated aquifer. Flowing down the north slope, Baby Carriage and Sweet Alice Brooks pass through the Ricci and Sweet Alice Conservation Areas, respectively, and eventually flow into aquifer recharge areas. All water draining through two conservation areas eventually reaches the Connecticut River.

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

Selected site parcels

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Selected site parcels The Notch Visitor’s Center

Eastern Holyoke Range

The Notch Visitor’s Center

Improving Access to the NET

Sweet Alice Brook

Spring 2018

Sweet Alice

Ricci

Sweet Alice

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Topography & Ecology

5


Sweet Alice

Ricci

Ricci

Lookouts and geologic features along NET: 1 Mount Nonotuck 4

3

DCR land

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Protected Open Space Ownership

0

0.25

0.5

1

Miles

N

Municipal land

Selected site parcels

Private land

New England Trail

Roads

Trailheads

Structures

Trails mapped by DCR

Trails and Features

0

0.25

0.5

Miles 1

Protected Open Space

Trails

According to MassGIS data, roughly 70% of the eastern range’s approximately 4,500 acres of unfragmented forest is protected open space, the vast majority of which is public access. Parcels owned by DCR, the largest landowner on the range, include the Mount Holyoke and Skinner State Parks. Many parcels throughout Mount Holyoke State Park are considered reserves by DCR, meaning they “provide backcountry recreational experiences and protect the least fragmented forested areas and diverse ecological settings” (2013 101).

DCR has mapped approximately 165 miles of trails on the Holyoke Range ranging in class from Class 1 to Class 4 (see sheet 6 for a discussion of trail classes). DCR GIS data shows that around onethird of trails mapped are considered unauthorized or illegal. Many of these illegal trails are used by off-road vehicles which are prohibited on DCR land. Many personal trails have also been cut from authorized trails to back yards. Inappropriately placed and constructed trails have the potential to fragment habitat, cause erosion, and degrade water quality.

Properties owned by municipalities, land trusts, and private landowners, many of which have conservation restrictions placed on them, also contribute to this patchwork of protection. Despite the extent of protected open space, much of the range remains unprotected and vulnerable to development. The trails on the range cross the boundaries of state, municipal, and private land. Coordination between the various landowners and organizations present on the range can help to ensure consistent maintenance of the trails, protection of their surrounding natural communities, and access to the many recreational opportunities in the area.

Organizations stewarding the range aim to build, renovate, and maintain sustainable trails that promote a high level of access and serve the needs of trail visitors while still protecting the range’s natural resources. They also occasionally close redundant or unsustainable trails. Since the size and legibility of the trailhead often determines the amount and type of use any given trail sees, creating legible trailheads appropriate for the size and desired use of their associated trails is an important component of managing the trail system on the Holyoke Range.

Roads

N

Structures

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

4 Long Mountain

New England Trail

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

3 Rattlesnake Knob

Eastern Holyoke Range

The Notch Visitor’s Center

2

Improving Access to the NET

Selected site parcels

1

2 Horse Caves

Spring 2018

Sweet Alice

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Open Space & Recreation Analysis

6


Wilderness trail experience for highly skilled users. Maintained every five or more years.

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Class 3 Semi-developed natural trail experience for users with an intermediate skill level. Maintained every 1-3 years.

Target Slope < 5%

Short Pitch Max Slope 10%

36” Tread

Class 5 Urban trail experience for users with very limited experience. Maintained weekly or as needed.

Posting trail class information such as average grade and surface condition at trailheads can help users make informed decisions about their ability to complete a hike.

Consider User Values

Recreation

Transportation

Personal Values: What an individual may look for in a trail once the baseline values are satisfied.

Adapted from: State of Minnesota DNR. Trail Planning, Design, and Development Guidelines

Semi-primitive trail for mid-to-highly skilled users. Maintained every 3-5 years.

Short Pitch Max Slope 15%

Developed natural trail experience for users with minimal skills. Maintained at least annually.

Baseline Values: Determines if a person will even use a trail no matter what personal values it might offer.

Class 2

Target Slope < 10%

Class 4

Fitness

24” Tread

Safety and convenience are the first conditions a trail user will consider before use of a trail. As the “public face”, trailheads are the most important place to communicate the safety and convenience of a trail. Designing trailheads that are perceived as welcoming and safe is a first step in bringing new users out onto the Holyoke Range and the NET. Further information on creating a positive visitor experience can be found in Trail Design Principles, sheet 8. Personal values and perceptions are another important factor to be considered in developing sustainable trails and trailheads. Once a trailhead and trail are perceived as safe and convenient, a person may use the trail for fitness, recreation, transportation, or some combination of the three. The terrain, trail surface, and overall experience at the beginning of a trail will tell a user a lot about what their experience (recreation, fitness, or transportation) may be.

Spring 2018

Class 1

30” Tread

Convenience

Short Pitch Max Slope 25%

18” Tread

12” Tread

For example, a well-developed urban trailhead with adequate parking and facilities is likely to invite more users than a wilderness trailhead. If the trailhead invites more users than the trail can physically carry, the trail may become degraded, require more maintenance, and create negative user experiences. Alternatively, a trailhead that adequately signals the trail class and is sized for the trail’s carrying capacity and maintenance needs will help to maintain the trail’s character and physical condition and contribute to positive user experiences.

Safety

Short Pitch Max Slope 35%

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Short Pitch Max Slope 40%

Target Slope < 12%

Improving Access to the NET

It is important for the trailhead to signal to the user the type of trail they are likely to experience. It is also important to match the maintenance needs and carrying capacity of both the trail and its trailhead.

Target Slope < 18%

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

Target Slope < 25%

Masschusetts DCR has adapted the trail classification system used by the US Forest Service. This system sorts trails into different classes based on the setting, level of development, level of use, and skills needed to navigate a given trail. Each classification has specificifications for spatial elements such as tread width, grade, constructed elements, and signs.

Trailhead Design

Building the Right Trail

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

DCR Trail Class Guidelines

7


Class 2 trailhead. Informal pull-off parking for 1-5 cars.

Class 4 trailhead. Off-street parking for 10-20 cars.

Low to moderate use

Moderate to high use

Very heavy use

Intensive use

DCR User Skill Level

Highly skilled

Medium to highly skilled

Intermediate skill

Minimal skill

Limited skill

DCR Maintenance interval Adequate off-street parking

5 or more years

3-5 years

1-3 years

Annually

Weekly or as needed

Space for 0-3 cars. Informal road shoulder parking on lowuse roads. Little to no parking surface improvement. No van access.

Space for 1-5 cars. Informal road shoulder parking on low - to medium - use roads. May not have turn-around space. Little to no parking surface improvement. No van access.

Space for 5-10 cars. Off-street parking with turn-around space on medium - to - high - use roads. 2% - 5% slopes for parking area, 10% or less sloped driveway. Driveway wide enough for at least one car. Improved aggregate parking surface may be necessary to maintain site under heavy traffic. Van parking may be marked. Parking delineation may be considered.

Space for 10-20 cars. Offstreet parking with turnaround space on mediumto-high-use roads. 2% to 5% slopes for parking area, 10% or less sloped driveway. Driveway wide enough for two cars. Improved aggregate parking surface to handle heavy traffic. Van parking may be marked. Parking lot delineated with fencing, hardscape, or vegetation.

Space for 20+ cars. Off-street parking with turn-around space. 2% - 5% slopes for parking area, 10% or less sloped driveway. Driveway wide enough for two cars. Parking area should be paved to accommodate intense traffic. Van accessible parking should be provided. Parking lot delineated with fencing, hardscape, or vegetation. Public bus access and turn-around may be appropriate.

Clear sight lines at parking entry and exit points Landscape Management

No

No

Yes; entrance visible from 50 feet away on road suggested.

Yes; entrance visible from 100 feet away on road suggested.

Yes; entrance visible from 200 feet away on road suggested.

No

No

Vegetation around parking lot entry and exit should be managed 25 feet on each roadway from the intersection to maintain clear sight lines for vehicles.

Vegetation around parking lot entry and exit should be managed 25 feet on each roadway from the intersection to maintain clear sight lines for vehicles.

Vegetation around parking entry and exit should be managed 25 feet on each roadway from the intersection to maintain clear sight lines for vehicles. More comprehensive landscaping around parking lot and trailhead may be appropriate.

Clearly visible and defined trailhead entrance

Optional

Optional: 3 feet wide

Yes: 3 - 5 feet wide

Yes: 5 - 8 feet wide

Yes: 8 -15 feet wide. Bollards, gates, or other barriers may be considered to deter vehicular passage.

Signs

Possible blazes

Blazes. Local trail or property name should be considered.

Blazes and local trail or property name. NET sign and kiosk should be considered.

Kiosk. Blazes, local trail name, NET sign. Property name should be considered.

Kiosk. Blazes, local trail name, NET sign. Property or location name should be strongly considered.

Bike racks

No

No

May be appropriate depending on user-groups and on proximity to neighborhoods and regional rail-trails.

Should be considered. May be appropriate depending on user-groups and on proximity to neighborhoods and regional rail-trails.

Should be strongly considered. May be appropriate depending on user-groups and on proximity to neighborhoods and regional rail-trails.

Pedestrian road crossings

No

No

Should be considered when necessary.

Should be strongly considered when necessary.

Yes, when necessary

Seating/Picnic Area

No

No

Optional, should be shaded.

Optional, should be shaded.

Yes, should be shaded.

Trash Receptacles

No

No

No

No

Yes

Restrooms

No

No

No

No

Yes

Art Space

No

No

Possible

Possible

Possible

Maintenance

Same as trail maintenance level: 5 or more years.

Same as trail maintenance level: 3-5 years.

Same as trail maintenance level: 1-3 years.

Same as trail maintenance level: annually.

Same as trail maintenance level: weekly or as needed.

Class 1 trailhead. Informal pull-off parking for 0-1 cars.

Class 3 trailhead. Off-street parking for 5-10 cars.

Class 5 trailhead. Off-street parking for 20 or more cars.

Spring 2018

Low use

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Class 5

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

The details of these classifications are not exhaustive. Exceptions may be appropriate based on site conditions and user needs, and the classifications may need to be adjusted as they are tested.

Class 4

DCR Use Level

The trailhead classification system can help to focus planning efforts appropriately. For example, the trailhead class could be upor down- classed to match the class of an existing trail. Or a trail might become a candidate for improvement based on an existing or potential trailhead. The drawings to the right and below offer a conceptual vision of the level of trailhead development appropriate for each trail class.

Class 3

Trailhead Design

DCR does not currently have classifications for trailhead development. The trailhead classifications illustrated in this sheet was developed based on the DCR trail classification system and seek to match the level of trailhead development to the trail class. Creating a cohesive user experience is important in order to manage user expectations, and to keep maintenance needs consistent between trail and trailhead so maintenance needs can be monitored and met simultaneously.

Class 2

Improving Access to the NET

Creating the classification

Class 1

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Trailhead Class Guidelines

8


The following design principles, when incorporated into trailhead design, can help to create a positive user experience and bring the experience of arrival and beginning to the same level of clarity, suitability, and attractiveness as the trails themselves.

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

“Successful Trails are a Sequence of Events: Trails offering a rich and continuous experience do not just happen. They are the result of thoughtful consideration of the site’s physical and scenic qualities and conscientiously using them to create a sequence of events that add interest, offer challenges, and exhibit scenic values that contribute to the trail experience. “Successful trails are designed at a detailed, intimate scale offering moment-to-moment experiences that bring visitors back again and again. The more a trail responds to the nuances of the site, the higher its value to the user. [...] creating a sense of place and trail context are essential design objectives.” State of Minnesota DNR, Trail Planning, Design, and Development Guidelines

Direct trail Spur trail Loop and stacked loop trail

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Elements

Human sign such as mowing and signs communicates care

Mystery encourages exploration

Visual access creates confidence

When combined into a sequence, the following design elements can draw visitors into and through a landscape, giving meaning to the location of the trail and direction for their hike.

Edges

Anchors

Gateways

Destinations

Traveling along an edge between landscape features or transitions between ecological communities can be a dramatic experience; crossing over edges is often more so. Edges can be borders between land and water, vegetation types, geological features, topographical changes, built and natural environments, and more.

Anchors are vertical features along a trail that diversify the visual landscape. Positioned along a trail, they can serve as visual cues telling the user that the trail is “here” and not “there”. Trees are common trail anchors, though rocks, topography, and built features can also serve this purpose.

Gateways are created by changes in vertical or horizontal clearance. Gateways create sense of passage and are often attractive places to linger; they also serve as anchors and can occur on edges. The tree above arches over the trail, creating a gateway and anchoring the curve of the trail along an edge.

Destinations are distinct landscape features that have appeal as an endpoint or place to linger on a longer hike. The greater the number of destinations and the more dramatic or pleasant they are, the more use a trail may see. Destinations might take the form of distinctive geologic features, views, or overlooks.

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

Research suggests that there are patterns in how humans experience and react to aspects of a landscape (Kaplan ix). These patterns, including the examples below, can inform design to maximize the positive experience of a visitor to a landscape.

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Emotional Experience

Trailhead Design

How a trail moves through the landscape influences the type of use it receives. Is the trail a through trail? Does it provide resting places or scenic overlooks? Can users modify the length of their hike by using a loop or stacked loop? Each option may appeal to a different set of trail users.

Improving Access to the NET

Flow

Spring 2018

Trailhead Design Principles

9


An old hay rake lives out its retirement on the edge of the Ricci Meadow.

Baby Carriage Brook

Orchard knoll

Baby Carriage Brook

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Mechanic Street Ext.

6-acre meadow

Ricci Analysis

A small sign posted by the town of Amherst in a grassy swale along Bay Road identifies the property. There is currently unsurfaced, undelineated parking for two to three cars at the start of the trail in the northeast corner. Baby Carriage Brook, a small perennial (possibly intermittent) stream runs south to north along the east side of the property and under Bay Road, eventually flowing into the Lawrence Swamp.

Parking for 3 cars

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Early morning light streams across Ricci Conservation Area. Meadow habitat is unusual in much of New England and is home to many birds, insects, and mammals.

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Improving Access to the NET

Bay Road 3 cars

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

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Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

The Ricci Conservation Area is a twenty-acre parcel on the south side of Bay Road in southeast Amherst. The Conservation Area was gifted to the town in 2013 by the Ricci family, whose privately-owned former house is nested just outside the northwest corner of the property. The northern six acres of the property are primarily meadow with a handful of mature trees and shrubs near the northern property boundary and on the slope of a small knoll that rises in the southwest corner of the meadow. The remainder of the property is forested, with mature forest lining both the eastern and western edge of the meadow. A grassy trail mowed by the town of Amherst runs from the northeast corner of the property south into the forest towards the range, connecting with the trail system on the adjacent town-owned Dakin Conservation Area. A 30-minute hike from the property takes one to the Holyoke Rangeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ridgeline and the NET. The Ricci trail is a class three trail. However, the trailhead legibility score is low (9 out of 25) and current trailhead development is class two. Low visibility and lack of parking impedes access to the range from this site.

Bay R oad

Spring 2018

Design concepts must be adapted to the conditions on each particular site. Understanding through analysis the existing conditions and context of a site helps to ensure the durability and sustainability of its trail and trailhead.

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Existing Conditions

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Spring 2018

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Baby Carriage Brook

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Sweet Alice Conservation Area property boundary

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

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With increased parking, the Ricci Conservation Area can provide the opportunity for locals and visitors to hike the range, or simply serve as a destination for locals looking to walk or drive to a meadow and a view.

Ricci Analysis

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The Mechanic Street Extension runs parallel to Ricci on the opposite side of Baby Carriage Brook. Historically, trail users have parked at the end of Mechanic Street Extension and followed a short stretch of trail across private property to the Dakin Conservation Area and state-owned land and trails that lead up to the range. Permission to park at this access point has recently been revoked, creating a need for parking that gives access to Dakin and beyond.

Mt. Bro Pollux, okfi eld TKC & rails

The Ricci Conservation Area is sandwiched between low-density residential development and the highly trafficked Bay Road. The site is close to the junction of Bay Road, Chapel Road, and Mechanic Street, providing access to the range within walking distance of the 60 or so residences nearby. Town conservation trails meet the roads to the north of the site, connecting further to the KC Trail, Mount Pollux, and nearby Brookfield Farm.

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Context

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Improving Access to the NET

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Dakin Conservation Area

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180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

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View from the high point on the orchard knoll east towards the Pelham Hills. Clumps of trees and brush dot the steepest slopes while the meadow consists of grasses, poison ivy, and ferns.

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Ricci Analysis

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triggering aFeet 100-foot wetland buffer and 200-foot river protection area 200 from the stream into the property. Disturbance, such as constructing a new parking lot, occurring within the wetland buffer and the 200’ riverfront area may require a permit.

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Baby Carriage Brook is recognized by the DEP as a perennial stream,

Vegetation and Wildlife An old hayfield, now mowed yearly in the fall, the Ricci meadow is dominated by cool-season grasses. Poison ivy is pervasive on the site. Mature canopy trees, primarily oaks and maples occupy the top of the embankment along Bay Road and the surrounding forest. Additionally, young poplars line the trail in the southeast corner of the meadow. Vines have overtaken many of the shrubs and trees present in the meadow. A lack of forbs in the meadow limits the value of this property for many pollinators.

Being part of the range, adjacent to water, and providing abundant edge habitat, Ricci is likely home to a suite of small and large animal and insect species, including those that require large expanses of intact forest. NHESP recognizes Ricci as habitat for one or more rare or endangered species. The meadow is likely not large enough to support grassland-nesting bird species such as bobolink and meadowlark, although it does contain vegetation that would support these birds. Attractive trees and meadow at Ricci are a scenic draw and the current mowing schedule has kept poison ivy off of the trail. While the site already provides a variety of habitat, introducing fruit-bearing trees or shrubs and pollinator plants and increasing ecotone by allowing more of the edges to grow into shrub would increase habitat value on the site.

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

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The property slopes down from the range, north toward Bay Road and east toward Baby Carriage Brook. The land rises about 15 feet (with 15% slopes) in the southwest corner of the meadow and flattens into a rounded knoll. Steep slopes form an embankment along a section of the northern boundary, limiting sightlines into the property along Bay Road. Sloping topography and sandy soils ensure good drainage of this site; no drainage issues have been noted.

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The soils on Ricci are Hinckley loamy sand and Merrimack fine sandy loam. Contaminants may be present in the soil due to the site’s history as an orchard and the historic use of lead and arsenic in orchard pest management.

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Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

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Spring 2018

Topography & Ecology !

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180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Circulation & Views

Bay Road

Parking

Spring 2018

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Bollards

There are no sidewalks along this section of Bay Road and traffic may discourage walkers from traveling long distances on the shoulder.

Extending mowing to the top of the knoll and mowing an area at the top would draw visitors up the knoll and decrease contact with poison ivy. Extending the mown path around the perimeter of the meadow could create an attractive walking loop.

Baby Carriage Brook

Views The small but beautiful sloping meadow surrounded by mature, deciduous trees offers gorgeous views from many points on the property. Views toward the meadow are framed by tall trees and other vegetation. Bay Road is screened from view in from the meadow by vegetation and elevation change. Visitors enjoy a long view over the historic farmhouse and barns northeast to the Pelham Hills from the vantage point of the knoll. The trail along the forest edge provides access to and views of the wetland vegetation around Baby Carriage Brook.

Property boundary Vehicular Traffic Foot Traffic Stream

Developing access to the knoll and providing resting places or picnic opportunities in this scenic area would enhance the property as a destination and as a lovely place to start a hike on the Holyoke Range and NET.

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

The visibility of the Ricci access point is constrained by the embankment, tall vegetation, and the absence of a visible sign. These factors limit a visitorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to see the turn and may increase the possibility of accidents involving vehicles. Off-street parking with a clear entry-exit point would make the trailhead more welcoming, and accessible for trail users. A safe loading and unloading zone away from the busy street can help to reduce anxiety and increase the likelihood that people will read the site as a trailhead and use it as a destination or starting point for a longer hike on the range.

Improving Access to the NET

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Circulation The current access point from Bay Road for vehicles and pedestrians is in the northeast corner of the property, adjacent to a narrowing in the road where Bay Road crosses Baby Carriage Brook. Somewhat heavy traffic flow travels over 40 miles per hour past the site. Pull-off space is available for about two cars on the side of Bay Road and the town mows a single parking space up the embankment just off the trail. The Town currently mows walkable paths from this access point to where the trail enters the woods in the southeast corner of the meadow.

parking on road shoulder and just inside property

Ricci meadow, looking south.

Ricci Analysis

Ricci meadow, looking north.

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Context The trailhead on Mechanic Street Extension, east of the site, connects to a network of trails and eventually to the NET; however, parking is no longer available here. A trail on the Ricci property currently connects to this network. Improving the quality of the trailhead here and increasing parking could ensure continued access to the trail network for users traveling to the area by car.

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Design Directives Visitor Experience: An adequate amount of parking with turn-around space and increased visibility at the entrance and exit point will greatly improve the arrival experience of users of this property. When siting parking outside the buffer, close attention must still be paid to slopes, drainage, and sightlines to create safe, driveable, and welldraining vehicle access. Steep slopes limit the feasibility of creating an accessible trail throughout, but are appropriate for sledding. ! (

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Ecological Integrity: Though the site offers rich habitat, steps can be taken to improve the ecological function of the site. Moving the parking area outside the perennial stream buffer will reduce the interrelated impacts of compaction, erosion, and runoff on the stream.

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Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

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Old orchard knoll The orchard knoll is located in the southwest corner of the meadow and provides several lovely views out over the meadow and towards the Pelham hills. The steep, north-facing slopes are perfectly located for sledding and the surrounding meadow buffers the sledding zone from the heavy traffic on Bay Road. However, the slopes of the knoll are heavily colonized by poison ivy and dotted with brush and vinecovered trees. If the views from the knoll are to be maintained and sledding encouraged, a management plan will need to be developed for the vegetation in this area.

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Spring 2018

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Ricci Analysis

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Meadow The five-to-six-acre central meadow provides a beautiful, expansive view. Too small to provide critical nesting habitat for meadow bird species, the old hay field still provides important habitat and forage for many species. An old hay field, the meadow is dominated by cool-season grasses. However, poison ivy is prevalent throughout the meadow. The current trail skirts the eastern edge of the meadow before entering the forest and climbing up to the range. It may be possible to mow a loop trail around the meadow to take advantage of the beautiful views and provide a shorter walk for those who may not make it all the way up to the trails on the range.

Mechanic Street Ext.

Swale Meadow

Baby Carriage Brook

The most appropriate location for parking is between the perennial stream buffer and the property line to the west. Siting parking in this area would avoid disturbance and non-point-source pollution within the stream buffer. The relatively long sightlines along this stretch of Bay Road could provide increased sight-stopping-distance and improved safety for those entering the property to use the trail. There are several relatively level areas in this zone where parking could be installed with minimal grading. However, there is also a large natural swale that appears to stay fairly wet throughout the year. Siting parking in the swale should be avoided as this would disturb the natural hydrology and create on-going maintenance problems in the parking area.

Existing parking

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Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Along the road The current informal pull-off parking is located inside the perennial stream buffer. The area is not clearly delineated, but can accommodate one to two cars. Parking cars along a busy road, combined with low visibility, can be a safety hazard for those attempting to enter or exit the flow of traffic along Bay Road. Increasing parking capacity in this area could have negative impacts on water quality in the stream due to polluted runoff from the parking area entering the stream directly.

Potential parking

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Site Summary

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The Ricci Conservation Area trailhead has improved legibility and now matches the visitor expectations of the class 3 trail it leads to. Improved legibility and increased off-street parking improves safety and creates a more welcoming experience for new and current users.

Elements: • Shaded seating • Trail 3 - 5-feet wide at entrance

Off-street parking Trees planted to close old trail

Parking is moved out of the brook buffer, decreasing the impact of cars on this sensitive water body. The new access point has improved sight lines and sight-stopping distance. The lot accomadates five cars and includes turn-around space. See following sheet for details.

The original access point is revegetated to discourage informal parking and continued disturbance. This vegetation can help to reduce surface water runoff and species such as white oak provide valuable forage for birds and other wildlife in this area.

The orchard knoll is managed to maintain views of the Pelham hills and create a sledding zone in the winter months. Creating the sledding zone extends the seasonal use of the site and could potentially engage new users with the Holyoke Range and its associated conservation areas and trails. Two alternative trail configurations are included for the meadow. Both the spur and the loop take advantage of the orchard knoll with its beautiful overlook and potential for sledding. The spur concentrates foot traffic along the brook and away from the neighboring properties on the north and west sides of Ricci. The loop alternative provides a short walk around the meadow for those who aren’t able to do a longer hike up to the range. It takes advantage of the many beautiful meadow views, the brook, and the long view towards the Pelham hills. The loop does pass close to several neighboring properties and responsible trail layout and good neighborhood communication will be necessary to prevent potential conflicts between trail users and residents.

Loop Trail Alternative

Mowed knoll Spur trail

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Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

Exploration Improving Access to the NET

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Restoration

Spring 2018

Arrival and Transition

Vehicle Access: • Off-street parking with turnaround space • Parking for 5 - 10 cars • Aggregate surface • 50-foot sightlines to entrance • Vegetation 3 feet high or less in 25-foot visibility triangle at entrance • Accessible van parking marked (optional) • Parking lot delineated by fencing or vegetation (optional)

Signs: • Blazes • Trail or property name • New England Trail

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

The trailhead design for the Ricci Conservation Area allows for more cars to park safely at the site, away from the stream, and reroutes the trail to frame beautiful views and more fully take advantage of the knoll.

Criteria for a Class 3 Trailhead

Ricci Site Design

Final Design

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Trails leading from the Ricci Conservation Area are Class 3 trails, but the site currently only meets Class 2 trailhead standards. The design proposes closing the current point of access and constructing a class 3 trailhead outside of the buffer zone.

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Bay Road

Infiltration basins

Arrival

Property sign

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A clear sign perpendicular to the road increases the visibility of the trailhead from the road. A smaller sign located at the trailhead provides information on the connection to the NET, pertinent trail condition and safety information, maps, and/or distance and destination information.

Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)

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Transition

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A lovely existing gateway created by several trees on site frames visitors’ first view of the meadow and anchors the start of the trail.

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Improving Access to the NET

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

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Parking Infiltration basin

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

An infiltration basin captures and infiltrates runoff from the parking area before it reaches the road. Vegetation in the basin contribute to water infiltration and provides forage for pollinators and other species. An old apple tree smothered by invasive vines is removed and serviceberry and redbud trees are planted on each of the north corners of the driveway.

Amelanchier canadensis (Serviceberry)

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Bay Road

Section A-A’ illustrates the transition from the trailhead to the meadow, facing west.

A conceptual rendering of the Ricci trailhead. A large sign signals arrival at Ricci from a distance and flowering trees frame the parking area.

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

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Ricci Site Design

Five parking spots are provided, just outside the perennial stream buffer. A backup space allows for easy turn-around. Split-rail fence delineates the parking area and frames the natural gateway into the meadow.

Spring 2018

Arrival Detail

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

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Entire Sweet Alice Property (60 acres)

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Sweet Alice Analysis

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Five rows of pear trees remain from an old orchard in this meadowed northern portion of the property. Three narrow, north-south-oriented trails run through and on each side of the orchard. The town mows these trails intermittently in the summer. The utility company Eversource has access to power lines running north-south along the eastern boundary of the property. A small stream runs southeast to northwest in the wooded area just west of the meadow before flowing into Sweet Alice Brook and under Bay Road. A small Town of Amherst sign, aligned parallel to the road, identifies the property. There is informal shoulder and pull-off parking on both sides of Bay Road for about eight cars. These three small trails that start on Bay Road are currently the only trailheads on Sweet Alice directly connected to a road and parking options, and so this part of the property will be the focus area on the site for analysis and design.

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The bulk of the property, located behind residences along Bay Road and Route 116, is forested. The unnamed stream tributary to Sweet Alice Brook separates the property’s open northern extent from the rest of the property. From the trailhead on Bay Road, it is an approximately 30-minute hike to the NET on the ridge. A trail named the Sweet Alice Trail arches from the property, partway up the ridge, and back to another DCR-owned property on Bay Road (Trailhead 5 on sheet 25). The trail itself is class three, according to the DCR standards, although it had a low legibility score of 8 (see sheet 25) and the trailhead currently ranks as class two according to the trailhead standards on sheet 7.

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

3 cars

Improving Access to the NET

The Sweet Alice Conservation Area is a 60-acre town-owned parcel on the south side of Bay Road in south Amherst. The Conservation Area was gifted in parts the town by the Epstein family over several years (with the help of Kestrel Land Trust). Sweet Alice takes its name from Alice Epstein.

5 cars

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Existing Conditions

Northern portion of property (60 acres)

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180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

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Mt. Norwottuck Mt. Norwottuck

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Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

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Improving Access to the NET

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Atkins Farms Atkins Farms Country Market Country Market

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The neighborhood surrounding Sweet Alice is both densely populated and heavily visited. Improving the visibility of and access to the trails at Sweet Alice could draw these people onto the range and increase the visibility of the NET. Improving parking availability and pedestrian access from the multi-use path on Route 116 would provide more direct access to trails on Sweet Alice for neighborhood residents. More parking at a clearly legible trailhead on the Sweet Alice Conservation Area would provide much needed overflow space and welcoming access for when the Notch Visitor’s Center or Kestrel Land Trust’s parking lots are full (if offices are relocated).

Sweet Alice Sweet Alice Trailhead Trailhead

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The Town of Amherst is in the process of acquiring two parcels west of Sweet Alice that will most likely be incorporated into the conservation area: a 30-acre parcel off of Bay Road that includes Epstein Pond, and a 6-acre parcel back lot with a right-of-way from Route 116. The town is currently planning to develop a trailhead with parking for six cars on the 6-acre parcel, and if safe pedestrian crossing is provided, the network of trails on Sweet Alice could be easily accessed by pedestrians from the wide sidewalk on the western side of Route 116. Kestrel Land Trust is acquiring the Epstein house and plans to explore the possibility of moving their offices to the site. If the office does move, there is a state-owned conservation restriction across the property that separates the two sites that would allow safe pedestrian access between the Epstein property and Sweet Alice. Kestrel and the town have agreed that Sweet Alice would be the ideal location for overflow parking for twenty cars if it were to be needed.

Kestrel Kestrel Land Trust Land Trust acquiring acquiring house house

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Sweet Alice lies just to the east of the intersection of Bay Road and Route 116, an area anchored by Atkins Farms Country Market, Hampshire College, the Eric Carle Museum, and the Applewood Retirement Community, and surrounded by pockets of residential development. Atkins Farms, the retirement community, and the college attract a diverse population to the area.

Applewood Applewood Retirement Retirement Community Community

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The Notch Visitor’s Center, DCR’s primary facility on the eastern half of Mount Holyoke State Park, sits off Route 116, just over a mile from Sweet Alice. The Norwottuck Fish & Game Club operates a shooting range along Route 116 north of the Notch. Public bus stops at the Notch and adjacent to Atkins Farms Country Market, as well as a wide sidewalk running along the western side of Route 116, provide alternative access to and within the area.

EricEric Carle Carle Museum Museum

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180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Topography & Ecology

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An old, 5-row pear orchard bisects the meadow north-south beginning at Bay Road. Old orchards were historically a common feature of the rural New England landscape and the remnant pear trees on Sweet Alice remind visitors of that history. Several pin oaks dot the eastern half of the meadow near the Eversource power lines. The meadow is currently mowed every two to three years in the late fall to protect the endangered Eastern box turtles on the site. Much of the meadow is covered with sumac, low coppiced trees, and bramble scrub, especially in the west. Poison ivy is prevalent on the site. Some invasive plants, including multiflora rose and bittersweet, have colonized the forest edge.

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abundant cover—attract a large number of species. Sweet Alice is a popular site for birders in the area and 96 species of birds have been sighted on the property (eBird). It is also known as a location for finding a variety of butterfly species.

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The gentle slopes underneath the meadow lack sufficient elevation change to create prospect and long views, but could allow parking to be installed with little regrading and open up the possibility for an accessible trail on the site. However, short, steep sections of trail along the small stream could limit pedestrian access to the meadow from the remainder of the property, accessed from Route 116 to the west. Slopes pose no obstacle to maintaining the early succession meadow habitat which is currently enjoyed by local naturalists. The sandy soils are ideal for infiltrating water,

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Soil, Slopes, Drainage Hinckley loamy sand dominates the soils of the focus area within Sweet Alice. Lead and arsenic may contaminate the soil around the historic pear orchard, although soil testing would be necessary to confirm this assumption. The site is well drained and slopes very gently down to the northwest corner of the property on Bay Road. Most of the slopes are between zero and ten percent with the steepest bands in the eastern field. There are no apparent ponding or drainage issues in the focus area, though the site is bordered on the west by an intermittent stream which flows into Sweet Alice Brook. The intermittent stream and wetland, protected by a 100-foot wetland buffer, diversifies the habitat available adjacent to the meadow.

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Improving Access to the NET

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The old orchard creates edges and gateways that help to move people through the landscape. Planting a few young fruit trees could preserve the character of the site as the older trees die. A mowing schedule for Sweet Alice to preserve the meadow would need to take into account the needs of the birds, wildlife, and birders who currently use the site. While low-frequency mowing is important for maintaining the early successional growth that is important habitat, selectively mowing more frequently could provide some habitat variation and create a more welcoming and cared for feeling for visitors and new trail users. ! (

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Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Circulation The primary access point to the Sweet Alice property lies on Bay Road. Traffic moves quite fast along the road which has a posted speed limit of 40 miles per hour. There is informal pull-off parking for approximately five cars on the shoulder across the road from the property, and two on the property side. One trail runs straight down the middle of the pear tree rows. A second trail serpentines through the property to the west, and a two-wheel grass track parallels the middle trail just east of the allée. The eastern and center trails meet where they enter the forest on the southern meadow boundary—where the first sign appears for the Sweet Alice Trail. The trail crosses a bridge over the tributary stream, beyond which the trail is eroding around stream’s small valley. Although there are plans for a new trailhead where Sweet Alice will be expanding on its western boundary, the six-car parking proposed in that plan may not be able to accommodate the number of visitors the property itself could support. The need for enough parking to accommodate a class 3 level of trail use up the range, Kestrel’s potential overflow parking (20 cars), and new visitor’s driven by the meadow’s allure as a place for passive recreation and nature study all make the argument for expanding parking within the focus area. Creating off-street parking with a clear entry-exit point may make the trailhead more welcoming and accessible for

View of Mount Norwottuck with orchard trees in foreground

current and new trail users. Providing a safe parking area away from the busy street can help to reduce anxiety and increase the likelihood that people will read the site as a trailhead or a stopping place unto itself. Providing a safe pedestrian crossing from the sidewalk near Atkins Farms would allow those living in the neighborhood to the west without access to a car to enjoy recreation opportunities on the eastern Holyoke Range and in the Sweet Alice meadow.

Views There is a lovely view of Mt. Norwottuck upon arrival from Bay Road. However, the mountain is hidden by vegetation as you travel south into the site. Large overhead wires dominate the property’s eastern half, interfering with any medium or long-range view. There are several lovely views down the old orchard alleys and an overlook to the stream at the edge of the meadow brings in the interest of a water feature.

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The long view of Mt. Norwottuck helps to anchor the arrival experience and connects the relatively flat meadow to the range, signaling that the mountain can be accessed from this site. The beautiful meadow views and the distinctive old orchard character of Sweet Alice make the site a destination in itself. Preserving both the views and the meadow orchard may be important for getting new users to stop, and for drawing them up into the property and onto the range.

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Spring 2018

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Circulation & Views

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180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

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Visitor Experience: Site designs for this area should address the need for safe, off-street parking and general trail legibility. It will be important to design an arrival sequence that creates a sense of welcome and highlights the valuable natural features on the site. Trails created on the rise in the southeast corner of the meadow and the trail around the bridge would need to have switchbacks and careful trail placement to accommodate a 5% grade for ABA accessibility.

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mixed early succession vegetation. A careful mowing plan ! ( (see sheet 23 for further direction), containment of users to the trail, and visitor education !(may help preserve the valuable habitat while making it easier to walk through and appreciate. Careful grading of the parking lot and trail around the stream ! ( will help protect water quality. ! (

Maintenance: Frequent mowing of paths will be necessary to minimize exposure to poison ivy and ticks. Mowing paths and planting orchard trees will provide “cues to care,” letting visitors unfamiliar with the site’s unruly vegetation know that its management is purposeful.

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Overall, the meadow area along Bay Road is a valuable natural area with opportunity for increased recreational use. Creating a more welcoming arrival experience that better invites people onto the property may increase public appreciation of the site’s ecological and scenic value, but keeping this ecological system intact means restricting use to passive recreation on pathways.

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Eastern open meadow and oaks The open, oak-tree-dotted meadow to the east of the orchard rows provides a modest view over the site, but the overhead wires detract from the scenic nature of this area. Though this area contains the steepest slopes on the site, they are moderate enough to still be easily walked.

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Western meadow area and orchard rows Existing trails take visitors through the flat, more heavily vegetated western half of the focus area. Views, edges, and gateways reinforced by vegetation and topography create an engaging experience for visitors, but the narrow width of trails and the prevalence of poison ivy currently discourages trail use. Slopes around the orchard are predominantly 5% or less; new trails here could accommodate ABA accessibility without regrading. A possible destination in this area, the overlook to the stream, is obscured by brushy invasive species. The pear allée creates a beautiful place to travel through and the sometimes dense, often dead trees and shrubs characteristic of this area create important habitat, but vegetation may also be perceived as neglected and therefore uninviting to some users.

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old pear orchard

unn

Along the road Sweet Alice’s meadow provides the only view along Bay Road of the eastern Holyoke Range and helps signal to passersby the property’s connection to the range. Fast traffic along this straight stretch of road makes the northern edge of this property feel noisy and unsafe. Currently, visitors park in pull-off areas along the road. Moving parking into the site, away from the road, could increas safety while maintaining visibility from a distance. While the entire northern boundary is flat enough for installing parking with minimal grading, the area west of the orchard trees is more visible from both directions (there are no obstructions for drivers headed east and drivers headed west have a good sightline coming around the curve) and has the best long-distance views to the range. In addition, the northwestern corner is closest to the potential future location of the Kestrel Land Trust office.

6 6

To potential Kestrel office

Improving Access to the NET

Context The Sweet Alice Conservation Area’s location makes it a strong candidate for trailhead development. The property is situated behind residential parcels close to Route 116 on its western side, but the boundary along Bay Road is the property's only direct road frontage. The possibility that the town may connect the property to the Atkins Village via a crosswalk and trailhead on the Route 116 side opens the property up to increased use as a connector to DCR trails and as a destination. But there is an opportunity to develop a larger, more visible trailhead on Bay Road. The 30-minute moderate hike to the NET may be a more desirable alternative for the trail’s less experienced hikers than the many other longer NET connector trails.

! (


• •

A large parking lot situated in the northwest corner of the property provides 19 parking spaces for the site’s many user groups. From the parking area one first moves through a vegetative gateway to a transitional space, where a small bench sits under a tree and an informational kiosk orients the visitor to the range, the trail system, and the site’s rich ecology.

Parking

Off-street parking with turnaround space Parking for 20+ cars Aggregate surface 100-foot sightlines to entrance Vegetation 3 feet tall or less in 25-foot visibility triangle at entrance Accessible van parking, marked Parking lot delineated by fencing or vegetation

The narrow mown oak trail weaves between the oak trees and provides visitors with a more open experience and views of the whole meadow. Brush hogging the invasive shrubs that currently obscure the view of the stream and continuously mowing a wider area where a bench is installed in the shade creates a nice destination for users in need of a rest or wanting to enjoy this small vista.

Accessible loop trail

Pinch between trees

• • • •

Shaded seating Trail 5 - 8-feet wide at entrance Bike rack (optional) Pedestrian crossing (optional)

Western oak trail

Improving Access to the NET

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

The point at which the trail enters the forest and continues onto the range is a four-way intersection from which one can continue to experience the meadow by walking back between orchard rows, or continuing east to the oak trail which weaves between existing oak trees. The trail through the orchard is accessible, and loops back to the parking area 80 or so feet in from the road. Three new orchard trees planted in the space where the orchard trail once continued to the road help to discourage the use of the road for parking.

New orchard trees

Elements:

From the four-way intersection at the forest edge, the trail narrows and becomes muddy on both sides of the approach to the bridge over the tributary stream in the forested area. Regrading and other trail work would have to be done around the stream to create a less steep, well draining path with adequate tread width to match the trail class just beyond it. Reducing erosion along this stretch of trail, some of which is inside the wetland buffer, would help to protect water quality by decreasing erosion.

Exploration Beyond the transition zone a new mown path with slopes and surface that meet ABA accessibility standards, meanders through the western portion of the property, through a newly planted orchard. These trees create a gateway and a destination, while also contributing to the character of the site and creating more bird habitat. Beyond the small grove, the path joins an existing trail which moves back toward the orchard rows, through a pinch between small trees, and along the forest edge near the stream.

Blazes Trail name New England Trail Property or location name

Restoration

New orchard trees block access between the trail and road

Stream overlook and bench at forest’s edge

Trail area in need of improvement

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

• • • • •

• • • •

Spring 2018

Vehicle Access:

Signs:

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Arrival and Transition

Criteria for a Class 4 Trailhead

N

The first view when turning into the Sweet Alice parking lot is through the two gateways to the kiosk and trails beyond.

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

The trailhead design for the Sweet Alice Conservation Area preserves its essential qualities — trails that wander between pear trees and the meadow’s layered vegetation before funneling walkers into the forested trail — while also adding an enhanced arrival experience in the northwest corner.

Alice Site Design

Final Design

Trails leading from the Sweet Alice Conservation Area are Class 3 trails, but the site’s trailhead currently only meets Class 2 standards. Developing the trailhead following Class 3 guidelines would align the trailhead with the number of users and user levels the trail supports. However, if the site is to be used in the future for parking by Kestrel Land Trust, parking meeting the standards of a Class 4 trailhead would be necessary to accommodate the number of parking spots requested. Because there are two potential future scenarios for this site, and because the site’s ecology makes a strong case for using it for educational purposes, it is likely a good idea to design the site as a Class 4 trailhead.

22


Transition

Arrival

F

A Vegetated infiltration swale

D B

C

Van parking

F

E

C

G

Canopy tree

Cars needing to back out of the farthest west parking spaces will have space to back into before meeting a fence that delineates the parking lot’s transition to a path to the Kestrel offices (if necessary). The path is wide enough here for pedestrians to walk around the 4-foot-wide fence barrier.

G

A

Bike rack

Transition zone

H

Kiosk

H

A kiosk is visible from first entry into the transition zone, and oriented so Mount Norwottuck is visible just beyond.

Bench

N

D

Because surface runoff from the property flows toward the parking lot area, a vegetated, 10-foot-wide infiltration basin sits 5 feet from the parking lot on the northern and western sides to catch water before it reaches the road. The basin traps and infiltrates water coming off the parking lot, preventing it from flowing onto the road and into the brook. The vegetation in the basin also helps to delineate parking, so cars don’t park off the parking lot surface.

0

20

40 Feet

E Fencing lines the entrance drive to the parking lot to the

Bay Road

Parking lot

Section A-A’ illustrates the transition from Bay road through the transition zone, facing east.

Mown path

If Kestrel Land Trust does not need the overflow parking, the same parking design can be installed with fewer parking spaces simply by truncating the western end of the lot. Alternatively, this parking lot could be installed in phases, installing the western end of the lot and the vegetated infiltration basin at a later time. If a trail to future potential Kestrel offices is not necessary, the vegetated basin can wrap around a 10-foot deep back-up space.

Improving Access to the NET

east and delineates the southern limit of the parking area. A single length of fence sits perpendicular to the trail to Kestrel to prevent cars from driving down the trail. Fences are 4 feet from the edge of the parking lot to ensure adequate space for snow removal.

Facing east 0

5

10 Feet

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

A’

Stone dust path

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

A canopy tree suited to the site’s sandy soils, such as a red maple, scarlet oak, or white oak, provides shade to those who wish to rest on the bench while they wait for a friend, tie their shoes, or enjoy the view. The tree and fence separate the bench from the parking area and the bench faces the meadow, creating the feeling of being in the meadow rather than a parking lot.

Spring 2018

B

Together the canopy tree and the smaller tree or shrubs create two gateways to a transition zone that separates the parking lot from the trail system. The unloading area for the van parking is adjacent to the transition zone, with the surface material of the transition zone coming right up to the van parking space. A 5-foot-wide bike rack sits under the tree along the eastern edge of the transition zone.

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Cars pulling into the parking lot pass by the transition zone before finding a parking spot, helping orient them and giving a brief preview of the trail’s path.

Alice Site Design

A

A parking lot for nineteen cars, oriented lengthwise along Bay Road, is sufficient for increased regular use of the trail as well as overflow parking for Kestrel Land Trust next door. Parking spaces are sized to 9 feet wide by 18 feet long, with an accessible van parking space 11 feet wide by 18 feet long near the entrance to the trail. The 18-foot-wide driveway requires the removal of a large, dead, outlying pear tree. The parking area is graded to about 4% slope so that surface water will drain from it but the lot remains compliant with ADA accessibility standards for running slope. The driveway has an approximately 4% slope.

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Arrival Detail

23


180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Preliminary Grading Plans Both parking lots are graded between 2 and 5% to ensure adequate drainage and access by people using wheelchairs. An infiltration basin is located downslope from each parking area to capture and treat runoff from the first inch of a rain event. The first inch of runoff is often considered the most polluted, containing a high amount of hydrocarbons from parked cars, and is consequently most important to treat before the water reaches streams or other water bodies. The basin allows sediment to settle and filters pollutants out of runoff, improving the quality of water leaving the site. These basins remain dry for much of the year.

Spring 2018

Bay Road

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Bay Road

The parking lot at Sweet Alice will require limited grading, as existing slopes are currently mostly between 2 and 5%. Small berms on the south and east sides will help keep water off the parking lot and direct it around the sides to the infiltration basins. Infiltration basins on the west and north sides will catch and filter the majority of runoff that reaches the parking lot. Runoff coming from the parking lot will drain to the northwest corner of the property, where the it will be retained and absorbed without leaving the site.

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

The driveway is graded to a mazimum of 10% in the steepest section. The driveway is <5% when meeting grade at Bay Road to provide a level resting place for cars waiting to turn out. This helps to ensure that cars will not inadvertently slide or roll out into the flow of traffic.

Design Details

Sweet Alice

Improving Access to the NET

Ricci

24


Iris Joe Pye weed Swamp milk weed Butterfly weed Cardinal flower Bee balm Spotted bee balm Seaside goldenrod

Iris cristata Eupatorium dubium Asclepias incarnata Asclepias tuberosa Lobelia cardinalis Monarda didyma Monarda punctata Solidago sempervirens

A petite iris that flowers in early spring. A lovely structural plant that enjoys wet feet and has great pollinator value. This species of milkweed prefers wet conditions. This species of milkweed has lovely bright orange blooms and thrives in a variety of soil conditions. Bright red flowers are a favorite with hummingbirds and other pollinators. This plant likes wetter conditions. This hardy plant blooms in late summer. A lovely, light pink bee balm. This species has been identified as an important food source for native bees. This salt-tolerant species does well along roadsides. Attractive fall flowers provide late-season forage for pollinators.

Grasses

Northern sea oats Soft rush Little bluestem

Chasmanthium latifolium Juncus effusus Schizachyrium scoparium

This species has masses of attractive seed-heads. This hardy, dark-green rush tends to migrate to the wettest areas. A versatile and attractive grass.

Shrubs

Red chokeberry Winterberry Dwarf fothergilla

Aronia arbutifolia Ilex verticillata Fothergilla gardenii

This shrub has beautiful fall foliage and showy berries. A good food source for birds. A showy, low-growing shrub and an important winter food source for birds. A compact, low-growing shrub with white, feathery blooms.

Seaside goldenrod

Managing the meadows

Growth

Meadows are open fields of grasses, sedges, and forbs. Many plant and animal species are dependent on meadows, an ecosystem in decline in the re-foresting New England landscape. In the proposed design, Ricci’s meadow is mowed approximately once a year, in the fall, encouraging the warm-season grasses and create the softer texture signature of a hayfield.

2nd year

Sweet Alice is currently mown every two to three years in order to preserve the current earlysuccessional habitat and prevent reforestation. East of the orchard forbs dominate, but west of the orchard coppiced trees and shrubs reaching 15 feet or more are prevalent. This storied, earlysuccession “forest” is also highly valuable as wildlife habitat. Regular mowing or brushogging ensures that meadow and early successional habitats don’t transition to forest. There are many ways the town can vary this routine in order to protect the essential qualities of the meadow and the endangered species on site, several of which are illustrated at right. Edges should be mown in a curving manner, rather than straight, to increase the edge perimeter, providing more habitat for creatures who depend on edges for feeding and cover. An ecologist could be consulted to identify the best time of year for mowing.

1st year

3rd year

Mow uniformly. This strategy requires less planning and time. There is no evidence that the small meadow acreage at either Ricci and Sweet Alice can support grassland bird species, so mowing for grassland may not be important at these sites.

Mow a different third of the property per year to create meadow in varied succession. This strategy could diversify and increase the number of pollinator plants in bloom at one time.

Mow one area, such as the area around the parking, once a year to create softer look, encourage different grass varieties, and ease visitors from a more managed are to a less managed area.

Vegetation and sledding Regular management of the Ricci hillside will be necessary in order to create a suitable sledding area. The existing vegetation helps to stabilize soil on these steep slopes and provides food and habitat for birds. Care should be taken to preserve some of this vegetative cover and avoid erosion on the hillside. Clearing brush and trees and mowing in selected areas can provide improved sledding and preserve some of the long views from the knoll while still leaving the majority of the vegetation in place. The town could employ a few different strategies, as illustrated at right, to broaden the available sledding area while still maintaining the structural and ecological integrity of the slope.

Select for canopy trees and clear understory. This would require mowing of most of the slope.

Clear broader areas between natural clumps, selecting for steepest slopes. This strategy would preserve the dense cover enjoyed by birds.

Spring 2018

Flowering Forbs

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Spotted bee balm

Notes

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Joe Pye weed

Latin Name

Design Details

The detention basins in the Ricci and Sweet Alice designs catch and infiltrate water flowing off the parking areas, allowing sediment and vehicular pollutants to be filtered out before the water reaches sensitive streams or wetlands. Because the soil type at both properties is a loamy sand, plants in these basins should be able to withstand a wide range of conditions, from drought to periodic flooding. The plants suggested here are hardy native species that, once established, require little care. These beautiful plants also provide valuable habitat and forage for many birds and pollinators.

Common Name

Improving Access to the NET

Planting an infiltration basin

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Planting & Vegetation Management

25


Materials

Compacted Gravel (TRG) pulloff parking area at Graves Farm, Williamsburg.

Wooden split rail fence and stone dust pathway.

Design Cost The following spreadsheets are rough cost estimates for each of the final designs, with all features included. Cost estimates are based on installed costs.

Item

Unit

Unit Cost

Quantity

Cost

Demolition Tree removal Fill removal

each cu. yard

$250.00 $25.00

1 14

$250.00 $350.00

Subtotal

sq. foot sq. foot sq. foot sq. foot cu. yard

$5.00 $0.20 $6.00 $0.20 $12.00

2700 2700 200 200 10

$13,500.00 $540.00 $1,200.00 $40.00 $120.00

each each cu. yard cu. yard sq. foot

$500.00 $35.00 $25.00 $50.00 $4.00

6 10 4 3 450

$3,000.00 $350.00 $200.00 $150.00 $1,800.00 $5,500.00

Amenities & Other Fence: split rail Picnic table: wood Signs sm. Signs lg.

linear foot each each each

$25.00 $400.00 $250.00 $400.00

45 2 1 1

$1,125.00 $800.00 $250.00 $400.00 $2,575.00 Total

Unit Cost

Quantity

Cost

Demolition Tree removal Fill removal

each cu. yard

$250.00 $25.00

1 50

$250.00 $1,250.00

Subtotal

Site Improvements Parking lot: TRG Parking lot: grading

sq. foot sq. foot

$5.00 $0.20

7,000 7,000

$35,000.00 $1,400.00

Path: stone dust Path: grading Swale earthworks

sq. foot sq. foot cu. yard

$6.00 $0.20 $12

340 340 33.5

$2,040.00 $68.00 $402.00 $38,910.00

$15,400.00

Landscaping Trees 3-4” cal. Shrub (1 gallon) On site top soil 3” depth Soil amendments 3” depth Seeding, plant plugs, etc.

Unit

$1,500.00 $600.00

Site Improvements Parking lot: TRG Parking lot: grading Path: stone dust Path: grading Swale earthworks

Item

$24,075.00

Landscaping Trees 3-4” Shrub (1 gallon) Perennials On site top soil 3” depth Soil amendments 3” depth Meadow seed mix

each each each cu. yards cu. yards LS

$500.00 $35.00 $7.00 $25.00 $50.00 $50

5 4 20 17 5 1

$2,500.00 $140.00 $140.00 $425.00 $250.00 $50.00 $3,505.00

Amenities & Other Fence: split rail Bench Kiosk Signs lg. Bike rack: 5feet

linear foot each each each each

$25.00 $400.00 $1,200.00 $400.00 $600.00

50 1 1 1 1

$1,250.00 $400.00 $1,200.00 $400.00 $600.00 $3,850.00 Total

$47,765.00

Improving Access to the NET

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Ricci

Sweet Alice

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Stone bench and canopy tree, Mt. Pollux, Amherst.

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

Wooden kiosk and parking bumper at Mt. Pollux Conservation Area, Amherst.

Design Details

Local conservation areas serve as precedents for the kinds of elements and materials that are both durable and consistent with the regions character.

Spring 2018

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Materials & Cost

26


Blazes for

Seating

Width of trail entrance, clarity

Road type

Surrounding development

Discouraging signs

Legibility Visibility from road

Legibility Parking

Legibility - signs

Legibility - Kiosk

Legibility - trail width Entrance width

Legibility score

Strava heatmap shows use: H - High M - Medium L Low N - None

Visible landscape pattern

Views

Erosion

Drainage

Ownership

/

/

/

3’; not clear, trodden path in powerline cut

major state highway

res. & commercial

/

0

0

0

0

1

1

L

flat

/

Y, a few hundred yards into trail

?

private

DCR trailhead - corner of Route 116 and Bay Road

2

/

/

/

/

/

/

grown in

major town road

res.

/

0

0

0

0

0

0

L

slight rise

outer bank of pond

?

?

private

flat; meadow

great view of Norwottuck

Sweet Alice Cons Area - Bay Road 3

2 cars each Sweet Alice Cons Area (town) side of

DCR trailhead - Bay Road (not found)

did not visit …

Ricci Cons Area - Bay Road

Mechanic Street Extension

4

5

6

7

3

/

2

Ben & Virginia Ricci Cons Area

/

Janet & Toby Dakin Cons Area

/

/

/

/

/

(in a distance)

/

Y

/

Yellow 3 min walk into prop at forest line

/

Yellow; 3 minute walk into forest

/

/

/

/

5’

10’ road w/ gate

open field

10’

major town road

major town road

scattered res.

/

wooded med. dense houses

“Do not block drive” (gate) No Parking (road)

major town road

wooded med. dense houses

/

deadend dirt road

wooded med. dense houses

“No Vehicles Beyond this Point” “No Parking”

5

1

0

0

1

0

1

8

0

N

N

major invasives: honeysuckle

?

N

Amherst

1

1

0

5

2

0

1

3

1

0

0

0

5

3

5

12

9

6

H

M

M

flat meadow

/ over meadow to north

Good

Amherst Trail along east side meadow edge, blazes begin in forest

/

/

wooded, hilly

/

/

/

/

/

Amherst New homeowner adjacent; entirely unclear whether this is usable trailhead

private No visible sign of trail; have been told Canterbury there is a legal right of way between Farms houses Owners

Canterbury Lane

8

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

cul-de-sac

high-end suburban

/

0

0

0

0

0

0

N

hillside

Fortier Trail - Bay Road

9

/

David and Claire Fortier Trail

/

/

yellow

/

5’

busy town road

res. on other side of road

/

0

0

5

0

3

8

N

hillside

/

/

/

Amherst

Harris Mountain Road lots

10 16 + 6

Robert Frost; MMM

MMM

/

RFT; MMM

/

5’ + 10’ w/gate

quiet paved

none

/

5

5

5

5

5

25

H

flat then ascending

/

min

puddling

Granby

Private gate - Batchelor Street

11

/

/

/

/

/

/

calm res. street

low-dense res.

Private

3

0

0

0

5

8

N

slopes down

/

/

/

private

Red + black gate - Batchelor Street

12

/

13

Ridge Path Road

did not 14 visit …

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

10’

2’ brushy

calm res. street

calm res. street

low-dense res.

med.-dense res

/

/

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

3

6

3

L

slopes down

/

/

/

L

slopes down; adjacent pond/ wetland

/

/

/

Not public but used. V. close to subsequent 2 locations (see below)

Y

yellow; one trail w/o blazes

picnic table

DCR Trailhead - Batchelor Street

15

19

nothing!!!!

Unmarked path 2 - Batchelor Street

10’ (both)

16

/

/

/

/

/

/

4’

calm res. street

low-dense res.

/

0

0

0

0

3

3

M

Powerlines - Batchelor Street

17

6

/

/

/

/

/

10’

calm res. street

low-dense res.

/

3

5

0

0

3

11

N

Amherst Road near Route 116 Jct 18

2

/

/

/

/

/

10’ + 3’

busy town road

none

/

1

3

0

0

5

9

L-N

calm res. street

low-dense res. nearby

/

5

5

5

5

5

25

H

DCR

DCR DCR & private

M Mount Holyoke Range SP

flat initially

Aldrich Lake across the street

flat initially

/

No location or ownership ID, somewhat clear that it’s state park

/

puddling at entrance

DCR

/

/

DCR

steep slopes Views up and down / (new gravel up cut through parking and road)

/

DCR/ Eversource

steep; logged

/

DCR

Gap in stonewall forms entrance

Route 116 near Amherst Road Jct 19

/ = none

parking, trail entrances, and trail signs on each side of road; parking

Blue boundary markers make it look like state or municipal land

Unmarked path 1 - Batchelor Street

Big lot Route 116

pear trees, sumac and brambles; trail width through meadow 5’ fall through spring, 1’ or less in summer

Municipal water supply land Y soil eroding onto road at entrance

beautiful views north toward Amherst

/

could see where this trail possibly was

DCR slight incline, mature forest

20

4

30

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

blue

/

/

Associated with above trail and access to old trolley bed, but no trailhead near parking busy state highway

gate + 4’

busy state highway

/

/

Same Eversource lines that go through Sweet Alice Logging road not much evidence of use; packed trails opposite Appears to be parking near two ambigous trailheads (incl. above)

none

none

/

/

same as above

5

0

5

1

0

5

16

L-N (same as above)

hilly, forested

L

mountainous, forested

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Kiosk

/

Slight view of Bare Mountain

/

Puddling

DCR Bike lane along 116; trolleyline path connects to previous location

Bare Mountain

/ not obvious

Puddling

DCR

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Map for

/

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

Trail sign for

/

Trailhead Assessment

Parking for

1

Site # and address

Map symbol #

5) Width of trail entrance A 6’ + B 3’ - 5’ C 0’ - 2’

Spring 2018

2) Parking A Off road with turnaround B Pull-off, no turnaround C On road D None

Atkins - Route 116

Water tower entrance - 555 Bay Road

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

4) Kiosk (map + info) A Map with all trail names B Hiking information, no maps C No maps or hiking information

Improving Access to the NET

The following data on existing trailheads with access to range trails was gathered in April 2018 using visual survey methods and MassGIS parcel and open space data layers. This preliminary data can serve as a basis for further data accumulation and analysis, both of which together can inform a process of choosing which trailheads along the eastern Holyoke Range may be priority for development or closure (see sheet 26 for trailhead location map). The trailhead legibility scorecard at right was developed by the authors to measure how well an access point signals to a new user that it is a trailhead; the trailhead legibility assessment tool does not directly correspond with trail class.

3) Park or trail sign A Trail or park name B Property owner name, no trail or park name C Blazes only D None

Notes

Trailhead Inventory I

Trailhead legibility scorecard A = 5 pts B = 3 pts C = 1 pts D = 0 pts 1) Elements visible from road (parking, trail sign, kiosk) A 100 ft away B 50 ft away C 10 ft away D You pass it before you see it

27


This map identifies the location of 22 trailheads of public trails along the range that score above a zero in trailhead legibility, regardless of whether they appear on the official DCR trails map or have parking. Each numbered trailhead corresponds to a site with conditions detailed in the spreadsheet on the preceding page.

Trailheads bordering the eastern Holyoke Range Amherst

Bay Road

7

9

8

10 10 22

d oa nR Mo un tai

6 te 1 1

20

Rou

rris

19 18

Ha

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

21

New England Trail All apparent trailheads

17

Public trails

16 11 12

15

Roads

13

Batc

helor

Structures

Stree

14

Town boundary

t

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

6

Trailhead Assessment

5

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

4

3

Improving Access to the NET

2

1

28

Granby 0

0

0.25

.5

0.5

Miles 1 1 Miles

Spring 2018

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Trailhead Inventory II


In April 2018, an inventory of locations formally recognized in DCRâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s public trail map as trailheads (on publicly-owned land) and areas that may be mistaken for trailheads was completed for the eastern half of the Holyoke Range, along Route 116, Bay Road, Harris Mountain Road, Batchelor Street, and Amherst Road in the towns of Amherst and Granby. The following analyses are derived from the visual and GIS data included on sheet 25.

Ricci

Amherst

High traffic road Very high traffic road 0

0.25

Miles 1

0.5

6

d oa nR tai un Mo rris

N

Batchelor Street

k#

#

#

Sweet Alice

#

#

Harris Mountain

New England Trail

Road

Mo

#

Structures

Ha

rris

#

#

#

#

ad Ro

High-use trailheads

tai n

#

Amherst

DCR Batchelor Street Trailhead

k

Data based on a density heat map from Strava.com, derived from data reported by trail users on GPS devices.

un

un

tai nR

Roads

Mo

oa

d

Big Lot

New England Trail

rris

Parking (largest = 50 spots)

#

k # k

# k #

Ha

Route 11 6

Structures

k

Route 11 6

#

#Road

#

Amherst

# k # k Ricci# k

Road

#

#

N

#

Notch Visitor Center

#

Miles 1

0.5

Amherst

Bay Road

#

Ricci

0.25

Legible and non-legible trailheads

#

Sweet Alice

Non-legible trailheads

0

Amherst

Bay Road #

#

Granby

DCR-recognized trailheads and road traffic intensity Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

#

Legible trailheads

Roads

Batchelor Street

Granby

New England Trail

k# k

#

#

# k k

DCR-recognized trailheads

k

DCR-recognized public trails Roads

Granby

Parking spaces

Batchelor Street 0

0.25

0.5

Miles 1

N

Trailhead use

Granby

Batchelor Street 0

0.25

0.5

Miles 1

N

Structures

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

Road

Ha

rris

Medium traffic road

See sheet 25 for details

Ha

Mo

un

tai

nR

Low traffic road

Route 11

oa

d

Route 11

6

DCR-recognized trailheads

#

# # # #

Road

New England Trail

Amherst

Sweet Alice

1) Visibility from road 2) Parking availability 3) Presence of park or trail signs 4) Presence of kiosk 5) Width of trail entrance

Ricci

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Sweet Alice

Trailhead Assessment

##

Amherst

Legibility assessment based on:

Amherst

Bay Road

Improving Access to the NET

Bay Road

Spring 2018

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Trailhead Analysis

29


Amherst

Bay Road

Visitor’s Center and the Big Lot on Route 116 in Granby are heavily used. Traffic is very fast along this road and there are no sidewalks, so walkability is poor if users need to along walk the road back to their vehicle.

k

3 k

k Ricci

k

Sweet Alice

2

k

Bay Road has high residential density in parts and a high proportion of trails and trailheads

k k

that are used but are not highly legible as trailheads. These trails are likely primarily used by locals. Sweet Alice is a medium legible trailhead that sees little use. Very little parking exists along Bay Road, and its walkability is poor due to fast traffic, a narrow shoulder, and no sidewalks.

Structures

The photos below illustrate different levels of trailhead legibility, scored 0 to 25. A highly legible trailhead communicates to new users that it is a public trailhead. For locations of each trailhead, see sheet 26. Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Roads

Batchelor Street

Granby

0

Legibility score: 12

3

Legibility score: 16

4

0.25

Miles 1

0.5

Legibility score: 25

5

Unmarked trail Batchelor Street #2 Batchelor Street, Granby

Clare and David Fortier Trail Bay Road, Amherst

555 Bay Road/Municipal Water Supply Land Bay Road, Amherst

Big lot Route 116, Granby

Notch Visitor Parking Route 116, Amherst

Present:

Present:

Present:

Present:

Present:

4’-wide trail entrance

Not present: • • •

sightline parking, sign kiosk

• •

sign 3’-wide trail entrance

Not present: • • •

sightline parking kiosk

Not present:

• • • •

• •

• • •

10’-wide trail entrance blazes 10’ sightline, pull-off parking sign kiosk

N

10’-wide trail entrance blazes 100’ sightline off-road parking

Not present: kiosk

• • • • • •

10’-wide trail entrance blazes sign kiosk with maps 100’ sightline off-road parking

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

ad

k

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

nR tai un Ha

t Ro

Town boundary

k k

2

Public trails

k1 k

1

Non-legible trailheads (all found)

rris

hers

each contain a single legible trailhead, with many poorly legible trailheads that are moderately used, likely by locals. The trailheads and parking near the junction of Amherst Road and Route 116 are not used.

Legibility score: 8

Legible trailheads

Mo

Am

Batchelor Street and Amherst Road

Legibility score: 3

High-use trailheads

oa

k4

Trailhead Assessment

road contains no other legible access options, but is also more remote with less residential development.

d

Ro ute 1

Harris Mountain Road contains one legible trailhead with 22 parking spaces. This

Improving Access to the NET

16

5 k

Spring 2018

Route 116 provides the most parking on the eastern Holyoke Range: the Notch

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Trailhead Analysis Summary

30


Vegetation • What vegetation covers the site? • What is the ecological value of this vegetation? Scenic value? • Does vegetation obscure a desirable view? • Would vegetation need to be removed to develop trailhead? • Would removal of existing vegetation be easy or difficult? • Would important individuals or habitat be lost in altering vegetation? Environmental Justice Populations • How close (walking and driving distances) is the site to Environmental Justice populations (as identified by MassGIS data layers, e.g.)? • How accessible is the site to these populations by public transit? • What other public access points are available to these populations?

(the following list is not comprehensive) Site conditions (trail system and region) • Slope • Soil • Drainage • Vegetation • Rare species and habitat of species of concern • Legal restrictions (zoning setback, wetland buffers, easement) • Circulation and visibility of trailhead on approach • Road type • Vehicular and pedestrian circulation on site • Views from trailhead and visible landscape pattern • Available parking • Legibility • Distances (public transportation, major road intersections, Environmental Justice populations) • Walkability to trailhead • Current trail class, intended use types, current trail use • Trail: distance to NET, to places of interest, route options Social conditions (neighborhood and region) • Trailhead land ownership • Neighborhood and regional population characteristics • Environmental Justice populations • Population density • The public’s recreation interest and needs • Local attractions, institutions, amenities • Potential for conflict between users, managers, owners

Conflicting Priorities Resolution of conflicting may follow from increased understanding of future conditions, further research, new information about technical solutions, etc, or from a return to the discussion of organizational values. The following examples illustrate instances where conflicting priorities require further problem solving. Example 1: Trailhead is the only trailhead in the trail system with potential for a universally accessible trail and parking lot; however, a sensitive wetland adjacent to the trailhead merits protection, suggesting increased use should not be encouraged. Example 2: Trailhead is walkable and located in close proximity to an Environmental Justice population, but access by car is confusing and parking is limited. Example 3: Trailhead is the most walkable in the trail system but population density around the access does not merit development to a higher trailhead class.

Spring 2018

Trail and Trailhead Class • What is the class of the trail leading from the trailhead? Or beyond this initial segment? • What is the class of the current trailhead? • Is there a discrepancy between trail and trailhead classes? • If there is, what are the consequences of this discrepancy for (a) user expectations and experience; (b) trail sustainability (erosion, maintenance, etc)?

Similar question could be applied to a variety of analyses at different scales:

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

Spatial analysis of physical and social conditions at different scales inform trailhead planners of the suitability of a site for a given objective. Depending on the desired outcome(s), a variety of questions might inform how each analysis is applied and interpreted, such as the examples below.

• A diversity of users have access to trailheads. • Natural resources and ecological functions are protected and improved where possible. • Visitation is decreased on overused trailheads • Trails are aligned, designed, and built to shed water and limit erosion. • There is a variety of trail types, trail experiences, and levels of difficulty available. • The New England Trail can be reached within 30 minutes from at least 6 different locations. • There is parking for at least 5 cars every 5 miles on the roads that bound the trail system.

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

Analysis

Analysis alone cannot be the sole basis for decisions about trailhead development. Self-conscious articulation of each stakeholder’s values and desired outcomes for the land and trail system is necessary for prioritizing trailhead development. For example, an organization might identify the following objectives:

Trailhead Planning

The following framework may be helpful to structure the initial investigations of sites and their relevant neighborhood and regional contexts; to begin the process of articulating the organization’s values, objectives, and priorities; and to recognize instances where difficult decisions must be made over conflicting priorities. Prioritizing trailhead development is a dynamic process in which organizations’ values and objectives for a trail system influences which analyses are conducted and the results of analyses can in turn inform values.

Values and Objectives

Improving Access to the NET

The analysis and design process shown in the preceding pages relies heavily on site and regional analysis, including factors affecting human experience, and results in recommendations for spatial designs that are appropriate to the particular conditions of the two sites studied. While this process is replicable to some degree for assessing and designing other existing or potential trailhead sites on the range and beyond, decisions cannot be made based purely on such analysis, and organizational values must ultimately be incorporated in the decision-making process. It is beyond the capacity of the model presented in this plan set to weigh conflicting priorities and organizational goals. In addition, the particularities of any existing or potential trailhead site preclude the creation of a checklist that can be applied uniformly, such as a numerical weighted system of scoring, across all sites.

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

Prioritizing Trailhead Development

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Information • ADA National Network. “Accessible Parking.” 2017. https://adata.org/factsheet/parking. Accessed June 2018. • eBird. “Sweet Alice Conservation Area hotspot map.” Web tool. https://ebird.org/hotspot/L1546849. Accessed June 2018.

Images All images were taken by the authors unless listed below.

• Kaplan, Rachel, Stephen Kaplan, and Robert L. Ryan. With People in Mind: Design and Management of Everyday Nature. Island Press, 1998.

Sheet 23

• Kestrel Land Trust. “Baseline Documentation Report and Land Management Plan: Ben and Virginia Ricci Conservation Area.” 2013.

• R obertson, D. Gordon E. Spotted Joe-pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum). 19 June 2018. Digital Image. Wikimedia Commons.

• — ——. “Resource Management Plan: Mount Holyoke Range Planning Unit.” Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, 2013.

• Silverira, José Luís Ávila Silveira. Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens L.). 19 June 2018. Digital Image. Wikimedia Commons.

• Smith, Duane. “Handbook of Simplified Practice for Traffic Studies, Ch. 4: Sight Distance.” Center for Transportation Research and Education, Iowa State University, Ames, IA. • Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program. BioMap2. MA Department of Fish & Game, Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, 2012. • National Park Service. “Metacomet Monadnock Mattabesett Trail System National Scenic Trail Feasibility Study & Environmental Assessment.” National Park Service, Northeast Region, 2006.

Spring 2018

• Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. “Trails Guidelines and Best Practices Manual.” 2014.

References

• MassGIS. “MassGIS Data Layers.” 2018. https://www.mass.gov/service-details/massgis-data-layers. Accessed May 2018.

Tamsin Flanders & Emmy Titcombe

• ———. “Ricci Conservation Area.” 2017. https://www.kestreltrust.org/places/ricci-conservation-area/. Accessed May 2018.

• R hododendrites. Eastern carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica) on spotted bee balm (Monarda punctata) in Brooklyn Botanic Garden. 19 June 2018. Digital Image. Wikimedia Commons.

• The Nature Conservancy. “Resilient and Connected Landscapes”. Web tool. http://www.conservationgateway.org/ ConservationByGeography/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/edc/reportsdata/terrestrial/resilience/resilientland/Pages/ Mapping_Tool.aspx. Accessed June 2018.

• Town of Amherst. Amherst Conservation Land and Trails. [ca. 1:15,000]. Amherst Conservation Department & Amherst Maps, 2015. Print. • ———. “Zoning Bylaw: Amherst Massachusetts.” 2017. https://www.amherstma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/42909/ BYLAW-MAY-2017-COMPLETE-PDF. Accessed June 2018. • Serril, Doug and Miranda Feldman. A New Gateway to the Catskills: Ashokan Station Trailhead Planning and Design. The Conway School, 2016. • State of Minnesota, Department of Natural Resources. “Trail Planning, Design, and Development Guidelines.” Trails and Waterways Division, Minnesota DNR, 2007. Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapine carolina)

• USDA Forest Service. Accessibility Guidebook for Outdoor Recreation and Trails. USDA Forest Service, Technology and Development Center, 2012. • Ziomek, David. Personal Interview. 8 May 2018.

Appalachian Mountain Club Amherst, MA

• Therrien, Larry. Personal Correspondence. 8 June 2018.

Improving Access to the NET

Not for construction. This drawing is part of a student project and is not based on a legal survey.

180 Pleasant St. | Suite 211 | Easthampton, MA 01027 413-369-4044 www.csld.edu

References

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Improving Access to the New England Trail (Spring Project)  

By Emmy Titcombe and Tamsin Flanders. Spring 2018.

Improving Access to the New England Trail (Spring Project)  

By Emmy Titcombe and Tamsin Flanders. Spring 2018.