“The mission of the Open Space Committee is to use the Open Space Plan as a guide to work with residents, other committees, land trusts, conservation groups, state offices, local officials and state officials in preserving vital land in Shutesbury through education, conservation awareness, conservation restrictions, development restrictions and/or purchase; to work with the above mentioned organizations to seek out funding sources; to revise the Open Space Plan as needed through an open process, subject to review by the Conservation Commission; to help the Town find land that is on the market that would be of interest to the Plan; and to work with the Town in helping to review a town-wide Master Plan.”
— Revision of 2000 Statement approved by Select Board 8/21/2007
Here is the 2022 Open Space and Recreation Plan, approved by the Department of Conservation Services on June 10, 2022, making the Town eligible to apply for DCS grants through May 2029.
As part of updating the Plan, last summer 186 town residents completed Open Space Surveys. A key take-home message is that residents want more information on places where they are welcome to walk or hike. To that end, the OSC plans to highlight places in town where you can get outside and enjoy the beauty of Shutesbury. Our first featured spot is Ames Pond.
Ames Pond, located in the northeast corner of town on the unpaved portion of Wendell Road, is well known to those who live nearby as Julian's Bower. Purchased by Julian Janowitz in the 1960s, this unique property features a spectacular mix of wetlands and forest, traversed by several miles of trails leading to a dramatic cliffside overlook. The property includes the 22-acre Ames Pond and its adjoining bog with a thousand-foot-long boardwalk — lovingly built by Julian. The land is also dotted with large sculptures created by Julian during his 50+ years of owning the property (photo left by Susan Loring Wells). Upon his death, he bequeathed the 143-acres to Kestrel Land Trust. The new conservator has plans to improve access and make the site more welcoming to all (excerpted from Kestrel’s recent blog article, Building Trails that Welcome You.
Work has begun on the 5-mile trail system — upland trails are being blazed and debris is being cleared— and more work is planned. The first phase will provide expanded parking and create a universally-accessible meadow trail to a platform overlooking the Pond. Shutesbury Community Preservation Act funds for this first phase were approved by vote at the May 2022 Annual Town Meeting. The second phase would replace the deteriorating boardwalk with funds provided by a grant that has been submitted to MassTrails.
The Open Space Committee is excited about Kestrel's plans to make this spectacular spot accessible to all!