Two swimming areas in Amherst closed due to high bacteria levels

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Swimming areas at Puffer’s Pond and Wentworth Farm are closed to swimmers until further notice after high bacteria levels were found in the water.

The water quality test came back Tuesday to be higher than acceptable levels during routine water samples, according to the Town of Amherst as of Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. Results from the swimming areas at Puffer’s Pond, Summer (north) Beach and State (south) Beach and Wentworth Farm on Stanley Street came back with elevated bacteria levels.

Puffer’s Pond, also known as Factory Hollow Pond, is approximately 11 acres in size with an average depth of 5 feet and a maximum depth of more than 20 feet. It is the largest open water body in Amherst that allows fishing, canoeing, and swimming.

Puffer’s Pond rules and regulations when swimming resumes, include the following:

  1. Puffer’s Pond hours are from 6:00 a.m. until dusk.
  2. Swimming is allowed but no lifeguard is on duty – swimming is at your own risk.
  3. The area around the dam and cliff are off limits. Insurance regulations require no trespassing, and trespassers will be prosecuted. Cliff jumping is prohibited.
  4. No alcoholic beverages or smoking. 
  5. No glass containers are allowed anywhere around the pond.
  6. Children under 12 must have adult supervision.
  7. Dogs are not allowed on the North Beach or South Beach or in the water itself. Dogs may swim upstream in the Cushman Brook or downstream in the Mill River. Dogs must be leashed at all times.
  8. Fishing on shore is permitted – but people are encouraged to fish away from swimming areas. Fishing from canoes & kayaks is prohibited.
  9. Non-motorized boats are allowed on the pond from 6:00am until dusk.
  10. Parking is permitted as posted in parking areas and along the roadside. Parking is prohibited in front of gates as these entrances are for emergency vehicles and must be left clear. Parking is also prohibited between 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. Parking is not allowed on the south side of State Street between Sand Hill Road and the main entrance gate.
  11. Stay on marked trails.
  12. Please stay out of the water if you have any open cuts or wounds.
  13. Skinny-dipping is prohibited.
  14. No fires are permitted around the pond (including grills).
  15. Group use of conservation land, for weddings or other functions, may be allowed with prior approval of the Conservation Commission.

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