The Nature Conservancy: New Hiking Trails Open at TNC’s Moshassuck River Preserve


October 26, 2021

Perfect for family hikes, the new reserve offers a quick getaway into nature, with large hickory and oak trees, giant boulders and a meandering river.

The Nature Conservancy announces the opening of its 25th nature reserve in Rhode Island, the Moshassuck River Preserve. Formerly a boy scout camp called Camp Conklin, the new reserve features three miles of freshly marked trails, spread across 210 acres of southern New England deciduous forest.

According to TNC, increased public interest in outdoor recreation was one of the main factors behind the decision to open the reserve. Owned by TNC and protected from development since the 1990s, it was managed primarily as wildlife habitat, with no parking areas or trailheads until last month.

“We are thrilled to open the Moshassuck River Preserve to the public,” said Scott Comings, associate state director for the Rhode Island chapter of TNC. “TNC maintains approximately 90 miles of trails in Rhode Island, and visitor numbers are on the rise on all of our reservations. We are excited to be able to provide the community with a new place to enjoy nature.”

TNC thanks neighboring landowners for their assistance in resolving potential obstacles to opening the reserve. The Fairlawn Golf Course has voluntarily constructed a 15-car parking area for the reserve, with a shared entrance on Sherman Avenue. The course also provided machinery and three employees to help install new standby signage. Meanwhile, the MacColl YMCA was home to existing historic trails that leave the reserve and pass through YMCA property. The YMCA and TNC agreed that the issue could be addressed through signage rather than relocation of trails.

“The Fairlawn Golf Course and the YMCA have both been great partners to work with,” said Cheryl Wiitala, TNC Director of Reserves. “We couldn’t have done it without them, and we can’t wait to do more together.”

The trailhead for the Three Mile Trail System is located near the first tee of the golf course. The Blue Trail follows the Moshassuck River, then climbs to higher terrain before descending through a boulder field. The yellow trail crosses several tributaries of the Moshassuck and passes a historic cemetery, with graves marked by simple fieldstones.

Dogs are allowed in the reserve but must be kept on a leash at all times, for the good of the wildlife and the enjoyment of other visitors.

Since 1964, The Nature Conservancy TNC has helped protect over 35,000 acres of exceptional wildlife habitat in Rhode Island, including the Aust Family Preserve at Lime Rock, also in Lincoln. TNC established the Moshassuck River Reserve with support from RIDEM’s Open Space Grants program, the Champlin Foundation, the Bafflin Foundation, the AMICA Business Foundation and individual TNC donors.

This press release was produced by The Nature Conservancy. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

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