Why You Should Visit
This preserve is one of the few examples of an unspoiled bog that can easily be visited. A mat of consolidated peat 30 feet thick floats on the open water of a deep glacial depression and supports an unusual community of plants. Adjacent to the site is the historic Hawley Town Common which has additional walking paths and historic information.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Hawley Bog is a regionally important example of an intact New England bog.
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 completed a 700-foot boardwalk. Partially made from non-toxic recycled plastic, the boardwalk forms a trail over the floating bog mat. It replaced boards which had been placed directly on the bog mat, which threatened the bog's sensitive community of plants. In 2012 the boardwalk was extended and portions were replaced.