From coastline panoramas of the ocean to hidden hiking paths, Rhode Island is unique in its diversity of environments in such a small space. However, untouched open spaces can be hard to come by, which is why the non-profit South Kingstown Land Trust is actively working to preserve them for the community.
Operating since 1983, SKLT most recently completed two land acquisition projects in the areas of Yawgoo Pond and Middlebridge. On Yawgoo Pond, the Land Trust acquired 33 acres of land from the Littlefield family, who had previously worked with the Trust in 2001 to prevent a subdivision. The 22 acres in Middlebridge were similarly acquired from the Smith family and both projects were funded by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the Bafflin Foundation and private donors.
The benefits that land preservation provides to the community are unending. The Yawgoo Pond property alone plays a crucial role in protecting local groundwater quality and allows for the extension of the already existing hiking trail, thanks to support from the Town of South Kingstown. According to SKLT executive director Julia Fry Landstreet, the hiking trail extension is set to be completed within the next twelve months.
“I think that getting people out into nature where they live is the most important thing we can do,” says Julia. “It doesn’t matter how much we’ve put easements and protections on [the land] unless people have a relationship with it.”
With eight hiking trails and more to come from the South Kingstown Land Trust, there are more good reasons than ever to get outside.