Graffiti problem on Mt. Tom’s hiking trails

Multiple owners of structures make coordinating cleanup efforts difficult.

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The graffiti is everywhere and turning scenic hiking paths into eyesores. From the minute you turn onto Mt. Tom access road, you see it on road signs and guardrails, all the way up to the dilapidated ski shack at the top.

Climbing even higher, the radio and cell antennas and rock faces are tagged with political expressions, swear words, sexual depictions and racist and anti-Semitic symbols. Inside the old ski shack, there’s empty alcohol bottles and evidence of vandalism and partying.

DCR park superintendent Brian Jurkowski told 22News he knows the graffiti is a problem. They’ve met with environmental and Holyoke police and discussed possibly installing more cameras and increasing patrols. 22News saw both Holyoke and Easthampton Police on the mountain on Friday.

Hikers told 22News it ruins their experience. “It’s a place where a lot of families go to enjoy nature and get out for a hike and enjoy time together,” Brett and Christine Foley told 22News. “If little kids are seeing these things, there are questions that are going to pop up about inappropriate things and things that kids shouldn’t be seeing or even needing to be talking about.”

When it comes to cleaning up the graffiti, the problem is that the land on Mt. Tom has multiple owners. DCR, Holyoke Gas & Electric, the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, reservation trustees and and private land owners are own various acres of land.