BOSTON (WWLP) – Poisonous reptiles could be placed on a popular Holyoke hiking spot. After strong pushback from residents in the Quabbin, a working group is now considering Mount Tom as a possible location to breed the timber rattlesnake. The mountain is already home to as many as 24 timber rattlers.
State Senator Eric Lesser is calling on the state to look at other locations outside of Western Massachusetts.
The Longmeadow Democrat told 22News, “You know, frankly, I think they sometimes want to throw things in Western Mass because it’s far away from where a lot of the decision makers live, so that’s something that we always have to be careful about.”
Top environmental officials apologized for the poor rollout of the rattlesnake plan last year, after residents and lawmakers criticized the state for their lack of transparency.
Holyoke state Representative Aaron Vega told 22News he first learned that Mount Tom was being considered as a rattlesnake site from the news, rather than from the Baker administration.
“I don’t like finding out things via the news when things happen in my district. I absolutely found about this proposal via the news,” said Rep. Vega.
Wildlife experts say there could be as few as 200 timber rattlesnakes left in Massachusetts.
The Rattlesnake Review Group is also looking at locations in southern Berkshire County and the Blue Hills south of Boston.