Rhode Island Land Trust Council is coordinating Land Trust Days August 8 through October 4. Land trusts around the state are hosting activities to:
- celebrate the wonderful open space lands that they are protecting, and
- help Rhode Islanders to discover the special places in our communities where you can spend time outdoors enjoying our natural world.
Land Trust Days are chock full of activities for everyone, at every age, to enjoy. Check out the guided hikes, hot dog roasts, community festivals, full moon walks, farm tours and a whole lot more at the calendar of events or roster at our website: LandTrustDays.org.
Join us for the Blue Moon kick-off celebration on Friday, July 31 beginning at 7:00at the South Kingstown Land Trust's Weeden Farm for a full moon walk, pot luck dessert and bonfire. Loren Spears, Executive Director of Tomaquag Museum will talk about the importance of the moon and skies to Native American culture both historically and now. Several astronomers from Astronomical Society of Southern New England will be on hand with telescopes to give you an expert glimpse into the night sky. They'll be on the lookout for certain features that are only seen from southern Rhode Island. Click here for details and directions.
Today is the second full day of summer. As a rather stubborn Nordic weather aficionado, I am pleased Spring has not produced many days over 75°F here in Rhode Island. I find myself slightly out of shape after a strong, viable local x-country skiing season left me in pretty good shape coming into Spring. The weather was wonderful in April and May but I did not get out as much as I would have liked. Work has a funny way of distracting me from outdoor plans all too often.
But, not to worry. Today is a day my wife and I look forward to every year. The day we choose to do an annual paddle to the sea on the Narrow River in Narragansett. We have a tandem kayak and it's all cleaned out for the start of paddling season. We have never started off the paddling season with the Narrow River paddle but the tides are in our favor today. The tide chart suggests that high tide crests at 12:51pm in the afternoon. We can use the outgoing tide in our favor to make our way south with the tide. We're keen to actually do a healthy amount of paddling so we enter the water at 1:20pm; just a half hour after crest, and we barely notice any assistance from outgoing current.
Long, long ago, in a far-off land (South County), while attending college at the University of Rhode Island, I had an opportunity with fellow members of The Wildlife Society to do an overnight canoe trip down the Pawcatuck River. It was my first trip down this beautiful river, and two things about that experience stick in my mind.
First, I was astounded at the beauty and expanse of Worden Pond and the Great Swamp that make up the headwaters of the Pawcatuck. It was truly like canoeing in a wilderness, with very few signs of human intrusion.
Second, soon after exiting the swamp, was the reality of canoeing in Rhode Island as the world of man emphatically put its stamp on our journey. Starting in Kenyon, over the distance of a little more than a mile, we had to portage the canoes and all of our gear (and beer...it was college) around three separate dams.
First was the Kenyon Dam at Kenyon Mills, which we skirted on the left over a rocky, rooty path. A short distance downstream from there, as we entered the village of Shannock, we had to get around the Horseshoe Dam, also on the left. That walk was easier, but required a scamper across a road. Finally, a little further downstream, we exited river-right by the abandoned, crumbling buildings of Knowles Mill and walked down a road to get around Lower Shannock Falls...but not before seriously considering somehow just canoeing down it. Fortunately common sense prevailed. It was a tough stretch of river, and our "fun" levels definitely took a hit, but if you think we had it hard, I'm sure you can just imagine how impossible it was for spawning fish to get UPstream. For close to a century, no upstream fish passage was possible above the Stillman Dam in Westerly, Gradually, with the collapse of Stillman, and the breach of a mill raceway that allowed the river to bypass White Rock Dam, and finally, the 1970's-era construction of a couple fish ladders around two other dams, fish passage improved. But until just recently, the end of the line remained the Lower Shannock Dam.