ATHENS -- There will be no public hearing about a permit requested by Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association unless one is requested by an interested party.

The WHPA, of 35 Sleepy Hollow Road, filed an application on April 18 for authorization to add to a public recreational trail system four trail sections for low-density, non-motorized uses within a 1,815-acre nature reserve, and to include four new footpath connections. District 2 Coordinator April Hensel told the Reformer a hearing will be held only if a request for one is received on or before May 8. An interested party must notify the District 2 Environmental Commission in writing as to why he or she wants a hearing and the request must also include a petition for party status. If no request is received by the deadline, a permit will be issued.

Requests can be mailed to April Hensel, District 2 Coordinator, 100 Mineral St., Suite 305, Springfield, VT 05156-3168. Hensel can be reached at 802-885-8844 or april.hensel@state.vt.us.

Adrienne Hitchcock, the wife of WHPA Act 250 Coordinator Raymond Hitchcock, said there is always a possibility someone will request a public hearing anytime a piece of land has multiple abutters, which this land does.

According to the public notice required by law, the project is located in the towns of Athens, Brookline, Grafton and Westminster. The first new section the WHPA wants to add is the Bemis Hill Trail, which consists of 4,540 feet of new trail in addition to a logging road. The main trail section connects to an existing road and a trail that belongs to the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers and heads north. The Sugar Grove Trail, including 950 feet of new trail as well as an existing road, is the second new section. A footbridge will be used to cross the brook, permitting a a loop connection byway of the Grassy Brook trail. The third new section is the Townline Trail, which consists of 8,135 feet of newly designated terrain. A footbridge will also be used to cross the brook at this spot as well.

The fourth new section consists of the Soapstone Quarry Trail and includes 900 feet of a new interpretative trail.

Adrienne Hitchcock told the Reformer the WHPA is made up of about 150 members dedicated to building trails along the ridgeline in southern Vermont. She said the members do that by purchasing property and securing easements and licenses in order to both move existing trails through land and conserve the land at the same time. The WHPA has about 1,800 acres of land and 25 miles of trail to its name at this point, according to Adrienne Hitchcock.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.