Help Protect Bear Hole in West Springfield & Holyoke, MA

Great Blue Heron flying over a river in Holyoke, MA © Gregory Kucinski
Great Blue Heron © Gregory Kucinski

Give Today >

Mass Audubon has an opportunity to protect a spectacular 1,500-acre property in West Springfield and Holyoke. Bear Hole Landscape boasts an extensive and beautiful intact forest, a wide range of rare plants and animals, miles of trails, and hundreds of thousands of people residing in close proximity. 

No longer used for the purpose for which it was acquired (a public water supply), this vast property is now vulnerable to sale and/or development. But today, we have an opportunity to protect this land forever.

The City of West Springfield has agreed to sell a permanent Conservation Restriction (CR) on the property to Mass Audubon and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), ensuring that the land is never developed. A total of $1,150,000 is required to complete this deal and protect and care for the land. After a generous commitment from DCR, we now need your help to raise the remaining $450,000 by June 2020.

Why This Matters

Paucatuck Brook at Bear Hole property
Paucatuck Brook at Bear Hole

Bear Hole is one of the single most important land conservation opportunities remaining in Massachusetts. Here's why:

  • Carbon Storage: The extensive forest will continue their important job of storing vast quantities of carbon, combating the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.
  • Flood Water Storage: The reservoirs on the property will store massive volumes from increasing extreme rain events associated with climate change.
  • Wildlife Corridors: The property serves as a critical link in an expansive wildlife corridor reaching from central Connecticut all the way to the Holyoke Range.
  • Map of Bear Hole's location in West Springfield
    Rare Species: The Bear Hole Landscape is home to dozens of species of plants and animals that are no longer common in Massachusetts.
  • Recreation/Community Health: With miles of trails already on the site, and additional trail creation envisioned, protection will ensure expanded access for visitors.

Make an Impact

We can't do this without you! In order to make this happen, we must raise $450,000 by June 2020.

Please consider making a gift today to ensure this land is protected and open to the public for generations to come.

Donate Online >

To make a gift, or for more information, please contact Liz Albert at 781-259-2104 or by email.