WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Bearhole in West Springfield is a popular place that attracts people from all over, known for its beautiful trails and scenery, but the West Springfield Town Council has an important vote coming up on the future of the watershed.

"Bearhole is a really special place for a lot of people," West Springfield resident Jenny Koonz tells us.

Bearhole in West Springfield is a one of a kind place for people in western Mass.

"There aren’t a lot of areas for dog walkers, bikers around here for people to enjoy. For the last five years, we’ve probably used this area five times a week to get out here," explained Koonz.

But on Tuesday, town council has a final vote to permanently protect the land, something that West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt says has been a long time in the making.

"Really this is a culmination of over ten years of effort from interested parties in the community to get Bearhole protected for ever, long after we’re gone," says Reichelt.

Councilors will be voting on if there will be a conservation restriction for Bearhole and whether or not there will be legislation to protect the land forever.

Mayor Reichelt tells Western Mass News, as a West Springfield native, Bearhole is important to him and he wants it to be protected.

"Look at the national parks. If you’ve been to one, you know how beautiful they are and how sacred that land is. It was over 100 years ago the decision was made to protect those. For us to look at Bearhole and make sure it stays protected forever, we need to make that decision now so from 100 years from now, our children's children's children can walk through and see the reservoir and the great biodiversity we have here," continued Reichelt.

A spot where some say you can find your friends and neighbors no matter the time of day.

"It’s a very large area so there's plenty of spots to go, miles of trails, and it’s just a mile from our house, so you can come out right from work and get out and have some peace and quiet, but also be out here with other residents in the area and not feel totally isolated," said Reichelt.

Mayor Reichelt says it’s important to protect the land now so future leaders can’t change it.

"When money gets tight, you don’t want to increase taxes. It’s always easy to sell off land," added Reichelt.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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