Letter: Aquidneck Land Trust trails, parks are still open
To the editor:
The value of public open space is made clear, now more than ever, by the many physical and mental health benefits of time spent in nature. On behalf of the Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT), I invite all Islanders and visitors to enjoy the 12 miles of free ALT nature trails, which have been permanently conserved thanks to 30 years of support and generosity from the community.
ALT trails are open daily, dawn to dusk, and provide a rich resource for hikers, runners, bird watchers, dog-walkers, and even horseback riders. We do ask visitors to practice social distancing and respect trail boundaries, as many trails cross private lands. If parking lots are full, we suggest visitors return at another time, so that the trails do not become crowded.
The 10-mile Sakonnet Greenway Trail crosses forestland, fields, and farmland as it winds down the center of the island. Newly conserved Spruce Acres Farm features the 1.5-mile Gewirz Trail, picnic tables, park benches, and colorful signage with information about the site’s wildlife, agricultural history, and plant species.
Oakland Forest offers a short, .6-mile loop trail through an old-grown beech forest, believed to be nearly 300 years old. The new Little Creek Preserve trail is a half-mile of loops that is great for bird-watching. Information on location and parking for each is available on our website (www.ailt.org). All trails are dog-friendly with leashes, with the exception of Oakland Forest.
Many other publicly accessible trails and parks on Aquidneck Island are conserved by ALT in partnership with the municipalities and other non-profit organizations: Rovensky, Braga, Morton, King, Spencer, Coggeshall School, and Miantonomi Parks in Newport; Kempenaar/Middletown Valley, Paradise Valley, and Demery Parks, Albro Woods, and the Wyatt Road soccer fields in Middletown; and Mt. Hope Park and Town Pond in Portsmouth.
Although playgrounds may be closed at this time, the parks remain open. We are grateful to the municipalities and the community for ensuring that present and future Islanders have access to the beautiful vistas, wildlife habitat, and healthful benefits that conserved trails and parks provide. We encourage everyone to pull on their boots, dress warmly, and rediscover the beauty of the island we call home.
Charles B. Allott
Aquidneck Land Trust