New hiking trails open at TNC Moshassuck River Preserve – ecoRI News
By ecoRI News staff
The Nature Conservancy recently opened its 25th nature reserve in Rhode Island, the Moshassuck River Preserve in Lincoln. Formerly a Boy Scout property called Camp Conklin, the new reserve features 3 miles of marked trails, laid out on 210 acres of southern New England deciduous forest.
The increased public interest in outdoor recreation was one of the main factors behind the decision to open the reserve, according to The Nature Conservancy (TNC). 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.”
TNC thanks neighboring landowners for their help 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 MacColl YMCA on Breakneck Hill Road 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 resolved through signage rather than relocation of trails.
The Moshassuck River Preserve features a shaded canopy of hickory and oak trees, glacial boulders, a meandering river and small streams.
The trailhead for the 3 mile trail system is near the first tee of the golf course. The Blue Trail follows the Moshassuck River, then climbs to higher ground 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 in complete safety.
TNC established the Moshassuck River Reserve with support from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Open Space Grants program, the Champlin Foundation, the Bafflin Foundation, the AMICA Business Foundation and individual donors.