On October 27, 2015, a group of Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association (WHPA) Board Members, Rockingham Conservation Commission (RCC) members, and other interested residents from Rockingham and Westminster met at Main Street Arts in Saxtons River to discuss the potential for a new trail to connect the Pinnacle ridgeline trail to WHPA’S Bald Hill Preserve. This is a long-term vision which would benefit trail users and local communities by connecting trails and by providing greater access to the outdoors for the community of Saxtons River. If implemented, Saxtons River residents would be able to walk out their doors to many destinations…some as close as the hill overlooking the village and others, such as the Pinnacle, many miles away. It's an exciting vision!
At the meeting, a committee was formed which included four WHPA Board Members (Tony Coven, Rick Cowan, Elaine Gordon, and Paul Wilson), three RCC members (current committee Chair Peter Bergstrom, Mike Ghia, and Paul Wilson), as well as Bob Gay (Saxtons River). The first goal was to explore landowner interest in a trail following the existing VAST (snowmobile) trail from Sleepy Hollow in Rockingham along the Saxtons River (more or less) to the Westminster West Road in Saxtons River village. From there, the proposed trail would go from near the Warner Center, over the Hartley Hill ridge, to Westminster.
In November, the committee obtained landowner permission for a hike on the Warner Ridge. Thirteen people attended and enjoyed exploring the forest and seeing a good view of the village. The next step is to contact landowners along the VAST trail to learn if they will allow the trail to cross their property. If they are willing, great! If not, alternative routes will be explored. But the pursuit of this new trail has begun.
Almost 50 interested area residents met at the third floor of the Rockingham Public Library on Wednesday March 29, 2017 to learn about the combined initiative by members of the Rockingham Conservation Commission, Bald Hill Conservation Committee, and Pinnacle Association and to help plan a trail system branching from the existing trail at the Bellows Falls Historic Riverfront Park up to the Bald Hill Preserve thence to Saxtons River and ultimately to the main WHPA trail from Putney Mountain to Grafton. Participants received map handouts of the large area involved and contributed information to larger maps to help determine a possible route.