Great Brook Farm is a former estate and current state park in the towns of Hadley, South Hadley, and Mount Holyoke, Massachusetts. The 1,070-acre (430ha) property was once owned by the Agawam Manufacturing Company, which made buttonhole spools there from about 1891 to 1919. In 1920, it became part of the Mt. Holyoke Range Forest Reserve until its sale in 1950 when it became a public recreation area known as Great Brook Farm State Park. It features approximately 20 miles (32km) of hiking trails including an 11-mile (18km) stretch of the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, mountain biking facilities, and extensive picnicking areas with access to two private lakes.
The park’s main entrance is located at 49 Pittsfield Rd., Hadley, MA 01054; additional entrances are located on Rt 2, Rt 47, and at the intersection of Rts 2 & 5. Parking fees are no longer charged for day use or camping/picnicking at this popular park. There is ample parking for many more people than what is actually taken up during daytime hours. On weekends, overflow crowds can be seen standing along the roadways waiting their turn to enter the park. Due to the large amount of people trying to get into the park, there has been some controversy regarding traffic jams forming outside the park due to drivers taking advantage of the free parking to go elsewhere.
This problem seems to have been exacerbated over the summer of 2012. Although signs were posted notifying drivers that the park had reached full capacity and that they should find alternate routes, thousands of cars continue to jam the roads surrounding the park seeking an entry point. A similar situation occurred in 2007 resulting in hundreds of vehicles being left on the side of the road. To alleviate this issue the town of Hadley implemented a $200,000 parking fee for those who wish to park in the town. Fees will be waived for residents of Hadley, South Hadley, and Mount Holyoke if you register your car in any way with any state. These fees will also apply to visitors using a permit issued by the state. The only persons exempt from these fees are children under 14 years old and disabled veterans. Passes good for three days or a week are also available; annual passes good at all five municipal parks charging fees are offered at a cost of $75 for out-of-state visitors or $60 for local residents.