“The water is safe,” officials say after a body was found near a reservoir

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HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP)- Holyoke Police and the Holyoke Water Works Department want to reassure people that the water is safe after a body was found on a trail behind the Ashley Reservoir Thursday night.

There’s about 1400 acres around the reservoir that is hard to police, because there are so many access points and trails.

At around 7:45 p.m. Thursday night, 83-year-old Herve Alfred, of Amherst-who had been missing since Sunday-was found dead on one of the trails used for off-roading in the area of the Bear Hole watershed.

His body was found floating next to his car partially submerged in water that had ponded up across one of the trails, Holyoke Police Lt. Isaias Cruz said.

The muddy trails are why some people go out to the wooded area to go off-roading in their ATV’s or Jeeps, but it’s not necessarily legal.

Elba Fontanez, of Springfield was out filming her friends off-roading Friday and told 22News, “I’m not sure if we can I just know there’s 23 of us in the crew. So we are pretty big, so I don’t know if we do. There are other woods we go to too.”

You can access the trails from Millville Road, but a sign says certain off-roading is not allowed.

Marie Nato, of West Springfield said, “I do see patrols coming through the area and it’s a very popular place for dog walkers, and hikers and mountain bikers.”

Lt. Isaias Cruz said it was someone on a four-wheeler who found Alfred’s body.

“Our Jeeps or our Banshees, motorcycles, dirt bikes, it’s fun we do it for the summer. We’re out here just to see what we’re going to expect before we come out here for the summer,” Fontanez said.

People who use the trails were relieved to hear police say Alfred’s death was not  the result of a crime.  However, the medical examiners office is still working on the circumstances that lead to his death.

Police and the water works department have received many calls from concerned residents about their water, and again the body was found nowhere near a water supply source.

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