See unusual vegetation on this flat, but wet, trail. View All
Why You Should Visit
This preserve is an example of an unspoiled New England level bog within a deep glacial depression. A mat of consolidated peat 30 feet thick floats on the open water and supports an unusual community of plants.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Hawley Bog is a one of the few remaining examples of a New England bog in its natural state.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
The Nature Conservancy owns 25 acres of this unique preserve and the remaining acreage is owned by Five Colleges, Inc. (a consortium made up of Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire and Amherst Colleges and the University of Massachusetts). The entire preserve is managed cooperatively by The Nature Conservancy and is used as an outdoor classroom by the Five Colleges.
In 1997, volunteers and staff pulled together to complete a 700-foot boardwalk. Partially made from non-toxic recycled plastic, the new boardwalk forms a trail over the floating bog mat. It replaces boards which had been placed directly on the bog mat, which threatened the bog's sensitive community of plants. In 2004, crews worked to control the invasives in the area and trimmed vegetation along the boardwalk.
Daily, from dawn until dusk
What to See: Plants
Growing on the open water are bladderworts. At the periphery of the bog is a wooded swamp with wild iris surrounded by striking stands of hemlock and mountain laurel.
What to See: Animals
There are a number of fascinating ant species present on or around the bog.
All reasonable requests for special accommodations will be made with ample notice.
The short trail is flat but somewhat difficult due to its extreme wetness. It is very important to stay on the boardwalk (it is a floating mat and can break easily), which allows truly close-up views of an unusual community of vegetation.
Groups larger than 10 people are asked to coordinate their visit with our Western Massachusetts Program at (413) 229-0232 ext 232. Dogs are not permitted at this preserve due to the fragile habitat conditions and narrow boardwalk. If you have any questions while planning your outing, please contact Angela Sirois.