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River Island Park

41° 59.977' N    71° 30.814' W   See this location in: Google Maps   Map Server   Acme Maps

Google Maps is the mapping system used on the new ExploreRI mapper and shows the access site located on a terrain view, a street map or an aerial photograph. Clicking on this link will take you to the full Google Maps website, which is not part of ExploreRI.
Map Server shows a topographic map of the area. The Map Server website is not part of ExploreRI.org.
Acme Maps shows the access site located on a topographic map. The Acme Maps website is not part of ExploreRI.org.

This is a site for launching hand-carried boats and it is also a portage. This typically means that to continue paddling down the river past this site you will have to portage your boat around a dam or other obstruction.

Description & Overview:

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River Island Park is a good place to put into the Blackstone River for a paddle through Woonsocket and on down to Manville and beyond. Coming downstream from ABOVE here there is a 3/4 mile portage around the Thundermist Dam, this access site being the end of that portage, so there is little merit in putting in above here until you get above the Blackstone Gorge and into Massachusetts. Heading downstream from here there is a mix of flatwater and class I-II whitewater so this section is best for more experienced paddlers, especially at normal or higher river levels. At very low river levels (around 0.8 feet and below on the USGS Woonsocket River Gauge) the paddling is easier but so rocky that it is only suitable for tough, light boat such as small kayaks. Scenically, the first section of the river below here, through downtown Woonsocket, speaks to the industrial past and present of this part of Rhode Island, however once you get through downtown Woonsocket, which does not take long, the banks become tree-lined and the views more scenic. The first portage is just over 4 miles downriver at the Manville Dam, which can also be a take out.

This site provides access to the following water bodies in the Blackstone River watershed: Blackstone River.

Location:

Town: Woonsocket

Nearest Town Center: Woonsocket

Driving Landmarks: From Route 146 north, a little north of the junction with I-295 and just past the light at Sayles Hill Road, look for a fork to the right leading to 146A. Take the this fork and follow 146A north for 1.2 miles and turn right onto Park Avenue. Go 1.2 miles and turn left onto Bernon Street. In 1/4 mile, just after you cross the river, look for a parking lot on the left for River Island Park.

Access & Waters:

Water 'Features' At Site: whitewater, flatwater/slow moving river

Note: Because one boat launch can access, say, both a lake and a river or both the upstream and downstream portions of a river, not all paddling trips at a given site will necessarily encounter all of the features listed.

Type of Access: Boat launch for hand carried boats

ADA Accessible Boat Launch? no

Shoreline: Sandy

Float/Dock: no

Approximate Length of Carry between Car Access and Water: 100 feet

Portage Length: 4000 feet

Parking:

Parking: parking lot, 16 spaces, no overnight parking

ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? no

Sources for More Information:

Website: Blackstone Heritage Corridor National Park - Get On the River Page, with links to an excellent set of paddling maps and related information

Website: USGS River Gauge on the Blackstone River at Woonsocket

Photographs:

The boat launch at River Island Park

The boat launch at River Island Park

Photography by: Bruce Hooke

Date of Photograph: October 3, 2007

This is what the shoreline looks like at River Island Park when the river is low.

 
The Blackstone at River Island Park

The Blackstone at River Island Park

Photography by: Bruce Hooke

Date of Photograph: October 3, 2007

This is what the Blackstone River looks like at River Island Park when the river is low. This view is looking upstream and the boat launch is on the right where the people are standing on the shore.

 
Quickwater in Woonsocket

Quickwater in Woonsocket

Photography by: Bruce Hooke

Date of Photograph: October 3, 2007

Paddlers working through the quickwater in Woonsocket. This is what the river looks like when the water levels are very low.

 
Paddling past a Historic Mill in Woonsocket

Paddling past a Historic Mill in Woonsocket

Photography by: Bruce Hooke

Date of Photograph: October 3, 2007

 
The Blackstone River below Woonsocket

The Blackstone River below Woonsocket

Photography by: Bruce Hooke

Date of Photograph: October 3, 2007

Below Woonsocket the river becomes wider and quieter and the banks are wooded.

 

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The data on this website come from many sources, including volunteers and organizations across the state of Rhode Island and nearby parts of Massachusetts. We have done our best to make sure the data are accurate and up to date, but any information critical to the success of your trip should be confirmed before you start. The maps and information on this website should not be substituted for nautical charts, topographic maps, or other more detailed maps and guides. We welcome corrections and additions. To send a correction or provide other feedback, please use our feedback form (see link above).

This site report was last updated on June 17, 2008

Rhode Island Blueways Alliance • c/o WPWA • 203 Arcadia Road • Hope Valley, RI 02832