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Whiting Reservoir Study Committee 3-16-21

Mar 16 2021

5:00 pm Remote by Zoom

,

Holyoke Massachusetts

Notice of Committee Meeting

There will be a regular meeting of

The Whiting Reservoir Study Committee

 

Meeting to take place remotely on Zoom Meetings on Tuesday 3/16/21 5:00PM

*** Meeting can be accessed via www.zoom.us Meeting ID: 213 224 4596 Meeting Passcode: 771059 or by call in at 1 (646) 558-8656 with the same Meeting ID and Passcode. ***

 

Agenda:

Review and approval of minutes

Discussion with abutter (name TBA)

Discussion of next neighbor to be invited

Review of prior guest’s information to start preparing items for a future Public Meeting

Other

Whiting Street Reservoir Committee Meeting

March 16, 2021
5:00 pm Zoom Meeting
Minutes

The Meeting was called to order by Sue Ellen Panitch at 5:03 pm

Committee Members in attendance were:

Marlene Connor Harry Craven Kip Foley
Jeff Horan Kate Kruckemeyer Sue Ellen Panitch
Dave Moore

Committee Members absent:

Terry Sheppard

Community members present:

Elbert Bowler

Continuing our efforts to speak with all the abutters to the WSR, today
the committee spoke with representatives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
property which encompasses most of the ski slope of the former Mt
Tom Ski Area. This property is part of the Conte National Wildlife
Refuge, which encompasses numerous parcels up and down the
Connecticut River Valley. Joining us for this discussion were: Dean
Rhine, the Deputy Refuge Manager, and Dave Sagen, the Refuge
Operation Specialist.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife acquired the 141 acre parcel in 2002, but public
access to the land was proscribed until the quarry ceased operating.
They have a “Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP)” for the property
written in 2017 which is available on their website. Currently allowed
on their land are “the big 6” activities which can be approved for
wildlife refuges: hunting, fishing, environmental education, wildlife
observation, photography, and interpretation. Hiking is permitted as it
supports these uses. Additional uses (for instance biking) can be
permitted through a determination process; they do not envision
expanding use unless in concert with nearby State properties, in part
because they do not have staffing resources to expand access on their
own. They could envision working with the city to do things like fishing
events.

They highlighted for us the importance of reaching out to the National
Park Service, given that the New England Trail runs through the WSR
and adjoining properties. There is an initiative at NPS to increase access
to the NET. Potentially significant resources would be available for, e.g.,
trailhead work and amenities (restrooms?) where the NET enters WSR
property at 141. This would benefit access to their property as well.
They provided contact information for Andrew Long at the NPS.

Other points of discussion with Mr. Rhine and Mr. Sagen included:

-Access to their property (and WSR) via Mountain Road. If filling of the
quarry proceeds, truck traffic would likely preclude recreation on their
land for the duration. Also, restricting access on the road has been
problematic as contractors for the communications towers need
emergency access; controlling access to parking may be more efficient.
-There is potential funding available when projects of this nature
address environmental justice. They noted work done increasing access
at the reservoir in Ludlow. Also noted, Conte has an Urban Wildlife
Refuge partnership at Fanny Stebbins.
-Potential models of cooperation among multiple landowners: Conte’s
“Friends” group is a network of 70+ organizations; they suggested
something similar may be of benefit here.

Other Committee business:

-Inviting representatives from the Golf Course to our 4/6 meeting.
-City Council would like a representative from our committee to attend
DGR Committee meeting on March 29 th to report on our progress.

Acceptance of Minutes: The WSR Committee unanimously accepted the
minutes from the March 2, 2021 meeting as presented.

The meeting adjourned at 6:20pm.


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