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.
Read our fall 2022 newsletter to learn about the conservation easement protecting Lily Pond Highlands, facts about porcupines, news from our board of directors, 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.
We have sad news to pass along about a loss in the Pinnacle community. Libby Mills, a driving force in so much of what we have accomplished, died on Jan. 12, 2023, after a brief illness. Read a remembrance here about her remarkable contributions.
In May 2022, the Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association signed a conservation easement with the Vermont Land Trust and the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board on the ecologically diverse 615-acre parcel known as Lily Pond Highlands. Located in the towns of Athens, Brookline, and Townshend, Vermont, the land was purchased in 2021 by WHPA. This is the final step in the conservation of this land. Read more here.
Pinnacle trails are open for visitors, with the Pinnacle cabin open for day visitors and overnight reservations. Please observe social distancing and other safety measures. People who are not fully vaccinated should wear masks while in the cabin.
Reserve your copy of the book The Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association’s Story: How did they get all that land?, written by board members Rosalyn Shaoul and Libby Mills, by making a special donation of $25 or more here.
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.