Hinton Woods will support wildlife, recreation, and climate resilience

Thanks to our partner, the Putney Mountain Association (PMA), a key parcel along Windmill Ridge has been conserved. The 140 acres connect trails and other public lands, including the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge (Conte Refuge) to the south and the Putney Town Forest to the north. The newly protected land sits within a block of over 1,000 acres of protected land.

Known as the Hinton Woods, after the Hinton family who owned the property for decades, the land is accessible from a trailhead across the road from the main Putney Mountain parking area.

Putney Mountain Association worked with the Hinton family to develop a public trail in 2012, connecting PMA’s trail system from the south to the north. This trail section will be called “Libby’s Way” in honor of Libby Mills, longtime PMA board member.

“Some dreams do come true!” said Libby Mills. “Thirty years ago, a few PMA board members talked informally with one or two Hinton family members who wanted their Putney Mountain property to be conserved and joined to the original Putney Mountain land across the road. We shared the dream together, but it took decades for the pieces to fall into place.”

The land, rich with wildlife, will now be open to all for non-motorized recreation. This includes bird watching, cross-country skiing, hiking, hunting, snowshoeing and wildlife observation, and for educational activities.

Efforts to protect Windmill Ridge span decades

The project was funded by the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), Open Space Institute, Davis Conservation Foundation, William P. Wharton Trust, and many generous private donors.

Gus Seelig, Executive Director of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, said, “VHCB has been proud to work with the Putney Mountain Association to conserve six properties over more than 20 years, protecting wildlife habitat and permanent public access to 842 acres. The Hinton Woods acquisition fills in an important piece of the puzzle.”

Hinton Woods is the fifth Windmill Ridge property protected with funding from OSI, and the second supported by OSI’s Appalachian Landscapes Protection Fund (ALPF). The $18 million ALPF, made possible thanks to major support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, seeks to respond to habitat loss and climate change by investing in the conservation of Appalachian Mountain forests.

“The conservation of Hinton Woods marks yet another important milestone in OSI’s long-term efforts to protect the forests of the Northern Appalachians in the face of climate change,” said Joel Houser, OSI Field Coordinator. “We applaud the Vermont Land Trust and Putney Mountain Association for their efforts to protect the land, which will provide long-term benefits for generations of people and wildlife.”

Photo: Ezlerh Oreste