Turner Hill Wildlife Management Area

Athens & Grafton; Windham County
610 Acres

Turner Hill WMA

For more information about this unit please visit the web page:

General Description:

The 599.57-acre (600 acre) Turner Hill Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located in Grafton and Athens, Vermont in southeastern Vermont. It is located in a rural area which features a primarily forested, undeveloped landscape.

As is typical of the Vermont landscape, the majority of the parcel is upland forest characterized by a mix of northern hardwood species and eastern hemlock. The high plateau on the southern portion of the parcel, however, contains a notable occurrence of Lowland Spruce-Fir Forest, which is typically found only in the coldest regions of the state. Wetlands comprise about 10% of the land area at Turner Hill WMA, yet are disproportionately responsible for species and habitat diversity on the parcel. Aside from vernal pools and seeps, almost all of the wetlands are influenced by beaver activity – the dynamic nature of these wetlands makes them especially valuable to the plant and animal species of the WMA.

Unique Features:

The bedrock underlying Turner Hill WMA is some of the oldest in Vermont with rocks formed 500 million to one billion years ago, during Precambrian times.

Turner Hill WMA is located within a 7,400-acre habitat block. At least 5,500 acres of that block is considered “core forest,” a biological term used to refer to any forested areas greater than 100 meters from human-created, non-forested opening. Almost all of Turner Hill WMA meets this definition, with the exception of areas within 100 meters of Turner Hill Road and historic house site. The WMA is also in close proximity to an 18,000-acre habitat block just to the west of the Grafton-Townshend Road, as well as a number of other large habitat blocks that eventually connect to the Green Mountains. Two species of very rare plants have been located within the WMA; neither of these species is listed as “threatened” or “endangered” by the Vermont state endangered species statute (10 V.S.A. 123). In addition, one uncommon species is located within the WMA.

1.     Pinxter-flower (Rhododendron periclymenoides) is a very rare (S1) species in Vermont.

2.     Inflated Bladderwort (Utricularia radiata) is a very rare (S1) species.

3.     Long Sedge (Carex folliculata), an uncommon (S3) species.

Recreation Overview:

Most recreational use occurs during the fall hunting seasons. There are no established trails on the property but hiking/walking is another popular activity. The WMA is located adjacent to the Townshend/Grafton Road, a scenic and popular foliage viewing road. All of the WMA is located within one mile of this busy paved road though due to the steep hills, most of the WMA is not visible from this road.

Access into the WMA is limited. The class 3 Turner Hill Road terminates at an extensive wetland on the property in the north although this is the primary access to the property for both public recreation and management activities. A right-of-way on the east side of the property is not currently usable due to extensive erosion. The class 2 paved Townshend/Grafton Road passes through the northwest corner of the property and due to the south branch of the Saxtons River and an extremely steep rocky slope, this access will be primarily for recreational use.

Planning Overview:

A draft Long Range Management Plan (LRMP) for the parcel is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

Any questions about this unit? Please contact:

Tim Morton

Stewardship Forester
100 Mineral Street, Suite 304
Springfield, VT 05156-3168
Work Phone: 802-777-6899
Fax: 802-885-8890
tim.morton@vermont.gov