For decades, Mount Tom, Massachusetts served as a local ski area for the residents of Holyoke and Springfield. Since 1998, the site has remained derelict except for hikers and a quarry, and multiple fires have resulted in the demolition of many structures. Masslive.com reports that the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is buying the former ski area and quarry for a total of $900,001. They buy the ski area for $300,000, the quarry for $1, and $600,000 will go to “taxes, penalties and interest due on the quarry to the City of Holyoke.” The previous owners filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and property taxes. Closing of the properties is set for today, June 28.
For years, the main question regarding ownership has been what to do with the huge quarry. In 2012, the quarry had its final year of operation due to the state of Massachusetts adding a grandfather clause to the quarry in 2002 to allow the site to operate for only ten years. what’s more. In 2020, Matthew L. Donohue and Timothy P. Kennedy of Mount Tom Companies purchased the quarry, and they eventually purchased the ski area as well. Their plan was to fill the quarry with leftover soil from construction sites, and “the slope of the mountain would be returned to its original state.” A group called No Dump on Mount Tom opposed the plans, as they believed the presence of trucks on the narrow road would destroy the plants, frogs and salamanders that are now part of the quarry. The state will maintain the site as is, prevent vehicles from entering the quarry, and add a guardrail around the quarry to prevent guests from falling.
Could it reopen as a ski area? It would be a challenge, because abandoned videos on Youtube show the ski resort in poor condition. Millions of dollars would be needed, and with climate change impacting the length of a winter season in the mountains of Massachusetts, this would make a profitable winter operation difficult. Some options the state should consider include making it a hiking destination, just like they did at nearby Mount Tom State Reservation, or adding a network of mountain bike trails.
Picture credits: Masslive.com, Skimap.org