at Bald Mountain is the largest and most ecologically diverse natural area managed by The Nature Conservancy in Vermont.
Buckner Preserve at Bald Mountain is the largest and most ecologically diverse natural area managed by The Nature Conservancy in Vermont. © Dylan O'Leary

Places We Protect

Helen W. Buckner Memorial Natural Area

Vermont

Peregrine falcons, rare snakes and Vermont’s only lizard live in this quiet corner of the state.

The Helen W. Buckner Memorial Natural Area at Bald Mountain is the largest and most ecologically diverse natural area managed by The Nature Conservancy in Vermont. It is home to 65 rare or uncommon plant and animal species, and 20 distinct natural communities. Peregrine falcons nest on the cliffs of Bald Mountain and the area includes floodplain and upland forests, marsh habitat, three miles of undeveloped Lake Champlain shoreline, and wetlands along the Poultney River.

From the fields of the old Galick farmstead, there is a sweeping vista of mountains, wetlands and the southern end of Lake Champlain. Bald Mountain rises out of the hayfields like a whale emerging from the deep. The river-like southern end of Lake Champlain and its wetlands trail below, while the South Bay and Saddles Mountain in New York lie beyond the mountain.

Why TNC Selected This Site

The Helen W. Buckner Natural Area at Bald Mountain has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the state. Many of the natural communities here are in excellent condition. In fact, conservation has been so successful at this site that it is now host to the largest population of Golden-winged Warblers in New England. 

 

Trails

There are two main trails here - the Susan Bacher Memorial Trail (2.5 miles) and Tim's Trail (2.8 miles), with a one-mile trail that connects the two. Brochures are available at the trail kiosks. Please wear boots and long pants and watch out for snakes. 

Hikers can now track their position while exploring our trails using the Avenza Maps app on their smartphones. To learn how to track your route, drop placemarks, and more using the Avenza Maps app, please see our Avenza How-to Guide and download the natural area's trail map

Come check out the new, VYCC constructed, stone staircase on Tim's Trail!

Hunting

Hunters use the natural area during the month of May and from October 1 to December 31. If you visit this natural area during hunting season please wear bright clothing. To hunt here, please be sure to obtain permission.

Please read our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.

What to See: Plants

On the trail, you'll pass through a northern hardwood forest. In the spring, wildflowers such as columbine, hepatica, spring beauty, bloodroot, early saxifrage, and trillium abound here.

In the upland forest you'll see chestnut oak, which is at the northernmost edge of its range here; it's a tree more commonly found further south.

The predominant natural community type at Bald Mountain is the dry oak-hickory-hophornbeam forest. The tree species characteristic of this forest type, white and red oak, shagbark and butternut hickory, and hophornbeam are adapted to the warmer conditions more common in this area of Vermont.

Bald Mountain has several cliff communities and talus slopes, which are piles of rock that have accumulated where a rock face has gradually given way.

What to See: Animals

If you're patient, you may glimpse a peregrine falcon soaring from the cliffs of Bald Mountain, or come across one of the eight species of amphibians that live here. The natural area is also home to Vermont's only lizard, the five-lined skink, as well as black bears, bobcats, coyotes, wild turkeys, porcupines, bald eagles, ospreys, and rabbits.