In order to foster habitat conservation, watershed integrity, education and the enduring connection of people to the natural world, we acquire and provide access to lands along the Windmill Hill Ridgeline and nearby areas.
Join us for Accessibility Day on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, where adults who have difficulty walking are invited to get a ride to the Pinnacle ridgeline for a picnic lunch. Hikers are also welcome to join the picnic. Or, join us for an autumn walk on Bald Hill along the gorgeous Saxtons River on Saturday, Oct. 21 (RSVP to Vanessa Stern by email or call 802-463-4948.) And join us for a fall hike on Athens Dome on Saturday, Nov. 4 (email Camilla Roberts to register, or call 802-869-1388.) More details on our upcoming events are available here.
Check out our spring 2023 newsletter to read about the latest Pinnacle news, upcoming events, facts about spring peepers, a remembrance of Libby Mills, and more. Sign up here to get our twice-yearly newsletter by email, plus occasional updates about hikes and other events. You can also read our past newsletters online.
Reserve your copy of the book The Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association’s Story: How did they get all that land?, written by Rosalyn Shaoul and Libby Mills, by making a donation of $25 or more.
The Pinnacle is the highest and most scenic peak (about 1,683 feet) in Westminster, Vermont. It is located on the Windmill Ridge, straddling the Brookline/Westminster line. The view from the Pinnacle overlooks Hedgehog Gulf in Brookline and westward to Mount Snow and Stratton Mountain, over 20 miles away.
With the help of our dedicated supporters and partners, The Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association has purchased and signed a conservation easement on an important parcel of wild forest and ponds in southern Vermont. The Lily Pond Highlands covers 615 acres in Brookline, Athens, and Townshend, Vermont, just west of the Pinnacle ridgeline and directly within view from the Pinnacle summit.
This land is important to conserve because its forest offers habitat for bear and moose, and its two pristine ponds are home to beaver colonies, a heron rookery, and several species of ducks. Its wetlands and vernal pools support the endangered Northern bulrush and other uncommon plants. Development was already encroaching into the adjoining valley and ridge, and acquiring the property has permanently protected it from being developed.
The entire property is part of a priority habitat block for the state, and it connects to another large conserved area to the south. Allowing the trees to continue to grow on this tract will capture carbon from the atmosphere to help mitigate the effects of climate change. Next steps include securing a conservation easement and establishing a trail for low-impact public access.
The dream of conserving the Pinnacle developed as a use of the Jamie Latham Memorial Fund, established in November 1991 to honor a young man who had loved this beautiful spot. From this beginning, the Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association was formed. It is a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation that has expanded its land-conservation efforts, linked and extended trail systems, inspired dedicated volunteers, and fostered effective partnerships.
Pinnacle lands—with the inclusion of the Bald Hill and Athens Dome areas—now consist of more than 2,700 acres in Rockingham, Athens, Grafton, Brookline, Townshend, and Westminster. These publicly accessible lands include a 27-mile hiking trail system and wildlife sanctuary.
We invite you to experience these beautiful places, help us protect these special habitats, and introduce these lands to others through our recreational and educational programs. As you learn more, we hope you will become an ardent supporter of the Pinnacle Association and our important conservation work.