Retiring Massachusetts Congressman John Olver led Congressman Jim McGovern and representatives from regional land conservation groups up the ridge of Mount Holyoke in Hadley this morning. The trek was part of McGovern’s ongoing efforts to learn about the Western Massachusetts communities he’ll be representing — starting in January — as part of the newly configured second congressional district.
With his walking stick in hand, Olver kept a brisk pace up the Metacomet-Monadnock trail. And McGovern was just steps behind him all the way up to the summit house, which before now, he says, he’d only seen from the road.
“When I grew up we always went east. We went to the cape or we went maybe up to Hampton beach. We spent very little time out here in the Pioneer Valley. And I’m kind of sad about that now that I’m appreciating how wonderful it is. One of the things I want to do is figure out how to preserve open space for farming. And to preserve these incredible trails.”
McGovern says he wants to develop a multi-media strategy to better highlight outdoor recreational opportunities like the Metacomet-Monadnock trail — which is part of the New England Trail stretching from Long Island Sound to the New Hampshire boarder. McGovern also promised Olver and the group of hikers he’ll further the work of the soon-to-be retired congressman — by advocating for land conservation in Washington.
Olver says he’s happy part of what was his district will now be represented by McGovern, who he says has already proven his commitment to conservation related topics.
“I’m sure he will work with our land trusts. We have two really major land trusts. He is very well attuned to the sorts of things that are so much in the minds of people in this area.”
As for Olver, he says he’ll continue hiking once he’s retired. And he’ll also finish his milkweed garden so by next summer his yard will be filled with monarch butterflies.