Key 5-mile link opens on Sakonnet Greenway

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A new 5-mile leg of the Sakonnet Greenway opened in Middletown Friday and there to celebrate were Governor Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit and Aquidneck Land Trust “ALT” Executive Director Ted Clement, along others.

The group gathered at the Wyatt Road soccer complex in Middletown and, after opening remarks, went on a short walk on part of the new trail segment to Newport Vineyards where refreshments were served.

The new segment of the Sakonnet Greenway Trail, all located on the west side of Mitchell’s Lane in Middletown, connects to the previously built 5 +/- mile segment of the trail that runs from The Glen in Portsmouth south to the Newport National Golf Course land on the east side of Mitchell’s Lane.  ALT’s Sakonnet Greenway Trail is now ten miles in length.

For about 10 years, ALT worked and negotiated with a number of landowners to secure 11 trail easements to lay the legal foundation for the greenway.  ALT publicly thanked those landowners: F. James Hodges and Sheila H. Hodges; Newport National Golf Club; Newport Vineyards; The Pennfield School; Town of Middletown; Town of Portsmouth; and the van Beuren family.

Many donors gave $20,000 or more to the project: BankNewport; Hope Goddard Iselin Foundation; Kathy and Pierre Irving; James and Susan Klau; The Nature Conservancy through a grant from The Champlin Foundations; Newport County Fund of the Rhode Island Foundation; Newport Harbor Corporation; Newport National Golf Course; Lisette Prince; Tiffany & Co. Foundation; and the van Beuren Charitable Foundation.

The Sakonnet Greenway Trail is a living classroom where students, teachers and the public can directly experience and learn about nature.   Trail lesson plans, which ALT developed with Salve Regina University, have been distributed to schools on Aquidneck Island to encourage students and teachers to get outside.

The trail is a free recreational and exercise resource for the public (it is used by many running clubs and cross-country teams).  It is the largest, safe pedestrian corridor connecting multiple municipalities on Aquidneck Island.  Portsmouth's main public recreation area, The Glen, is now connected via the trail to Middletown's large public recreation area/soccer complex on Wyatt Road.

The trail is also a resource for leashed pets, and horse riding is allowed on certain sections of the Sakonnet Greenway Trail.  Furthermore, the Sakonnet Greenway Trail serves as a valuable wildlife habitat corridor.

Many donors gave $20,000 or more to the project: BankNewport; Hope Goddard Iselin Foundation; Kathy and Pierre Irving; James and Susan Klau; The Nature Conservancy through a grant from The Champlin Foundations; Newport County Fund of the Rhode Island Foundation; Newport Harbor Corporation; Newport National Golf Course; Lisette Prince; Tiffany & Co. Foundation; and the van Beuren Charitable Foundation.  ALT publicly thanks all of our wonderful donors, large and small, to the Sakonnet Greenway Trail project.

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