Geographics

Regional Context

Shutesbury is a "Hill Town" located on the eastern rim of the bowl that forms the Pioneer Valley.  It is bordered on the north by Wendell, on the east by New Salem and the Quabbin Reservoir, on the south by Pelham, on the southeast by Amherst, and on the northeast by Leverett.  Shutesbury Center is about 10 miles from downtown Amherst, 90 miles from Boston, and 175 miles from New York City.

 

per Open Space and Recreation Plan Update (2015)

Topography —

The Town of Shutesbury sits astride a north-south ridge whose slope extends to Lake Wyola on the north and to Pelham on the south, forming a watershed divide between the Connecticut River Watershed on the west and the Chicopee River Watershed (and Quabbin Reservoir) on the east.

Unlike that of neighboring towns, Shutesbury's topography is characterized by hills and steep-sided stream valleys.  Elevations vary from the lowest of 350 feet above sea level in the southwestern corner of Town near Atkins Reservoir, to 1,225 feet at Town Hall, to the highest of 1,305 feet at a location 2 miles north of the town center on Wendell Road.

 

Total area within Town bounds = 17,408 acres (27.2 sq mi)

Land area = 17,024 acres = 26.6 sq mi (97.79%)
Water and wetlands area = 384 acres = 0.6 sq mi (2.21%)

Forested areas (in both uplands and wetlands) cover approximately 90% of the Town's total acreage, wetlands cover approximately 6% of the land surface, and pasture and crop land occupies less than 1% of Town land.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife's Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) has certified 14 vernal pools and has identified another 32 as 'potential vernal pools.'

 

Infrastructure —

Shutesbury has 42 miles of roads, of which 31 miles are Town-maintained:  15 miles of paved roads and 16 miles of unpaved (gravel) roads.  A number of roads, especially around Lake Wyola, are private gravel roads