WESTMINSTER WEST, Vt. (AP) — A group is hoping to buy 615 acres of land in three southeastern Vermont towns to protect views, trails and wildlife ranging from wood turtles and herons to bears and moose.

The Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association hopes to close on the purchase of land from the heirs of longtime Westminster West resident Edwin “Jim” Massey by the end of the month. Massey died in 2017 at age 77.

The association’s Libby Mills said the Massey land had been on the association’s radar for years.

The association hopes to raise $700,000 to buy and support the land. Mills says the group has raised $325,000 in two months.

The Brattleboro Reformer reports the Massey land is in the towns of Athens and Brookline, with a small sliver in Townshend, and lies on the western side of Grassy Brook Road from the group’s current holdings.

The Brattleboro Reformer reports Massey’s two nephews, who inherited the land, said they were pleased that the land would be preserved, something their uncle would support.

“Our alignment with the WPHA’s vision for this property really allowed us to be able to come to an agreement,” the two said in an email.

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