WESTMINSTER >> On the western boundary of Westminster lies the Pinnacle overlook. A cherished piece of land that spent much of its history privately owned. In 1991 a dedicated group formed and sought to acquire the land for public use.
In 2007 the group had formed to be the Pinnacle Association Board of Trustees and they began the process of acquiring the 55-acre parcel near Bald Hill, Bellows Falls Union High School, and Windmill Ridge. There was a hiking gap between Bald Hill and the Windmill Ridge trails and eventually 55-acres became 200 due to the help of various conservation groups in the area working with the Pinnacle group, which became the Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association.
The original cabin at the top of the Pinnacle overlook was built in 1964. It was then bought in 1987 by the Littman family of Westminster and eventually fell into disrepair. In 1997 it was donated to the Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association along with 47 acres of land. The WHPA received a grant from the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation to cover enough restoration costs to turn the cabin into a lean-to for hikers and families to camp and gather in along the trail.
"The Pinnacle Cabin is the jewel in the crown of our nearly 2,000 acres of preserved land and the most popular destination for thousands of people who hike our 23 mile trail system every year," said Richard Cowan, chairman of the board of the WHPA.
After 17 years the volunteer built lean-to began to get weathered and the WHPA decided it was time for a make over.
Planned work includes rebuilding the west stone wall and two corner foundations, re-framing and replacing all windows, welding steel patches into the fireplace insert, affixing a ladder to the east wall as a fire escape from the loft window; and removing and replacing the roof of the nearby outhouse.
The WHPA will have help from various gracious donors and volunteers. Various grants have also been applied for. They will be starting work immediately under the supervision of Phil Pellerin, a master builder who has already done some work on the overlook area. And for once, this dry summer will do a little good. Their goal is to raise $31,000 for renovations and repair.
The cabin can be accessed by traveling up Holden trail. It is a perfect spot to take a rest, do some meditation, have a group meeting, even camp for the night.
"We have been able to renovate this beloved building thanks to gifts from scores of individuals and grants from the Mascoma Savings Bank Foundation and the Windham Foundation," said Cowan.
The WHPA is looking for volunteers to help in the rebuild and donations. Board member Vanessa Stern of Westminster leads the fund-raising effort.
For more information on how to contribute, visit at www.windmillhillpinnacle.org. Checks can be mailed to PO Box 584, Saxtons River, VT 5154. Reservations can be made to stay at the cabin by calling 802-463-9226
James Mosher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.