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Howard Conservation Area Canoe Launch

41° 43.91' N    71° 27.619' 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 such as canoes or kayaks.

Description & Overview:

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NOTE: The dam at the mouth of the Pawtuxet has recently been removed. This has significantly changed the river conditions on the lower Pawtuxet River. The normal river level at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet has dropped 2 to 3 feet and there is more current in some areas that used to be nearly still water, such as under the Warwick Avenue Bridge.

NOTE: Recent storms have likely dropped some trees across the river. We do not yet have any reports on just how much of a problem this is and whether passageways have been cut through any downed trees.

NOTE: As of October 2, 2015 the work to fix the erosion damage to this parking lot and remove some downed trees that were blocking access to the river has been completed but the site is likely to be closed again sometime this fall or in the spring for some work to address the cause of the erosion damage.

This put-in, built in 2008 by the Pawtuxet River Authority, provides access to the Pawtuxet River 6 1/2 miles above Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, where you can take out. With the recent removal of the dam at the mouth of the river you can also paddle out of the river into Pawtuxet Cove, 1/3 mile below Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, as long as you time the tides right. For more very important details about the area at the mouth of the river see the description for the put-in at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet.

At normal water levels, the paddle from Howard Conservation Area to Rhodes on the Pawtuxet is a scenic paddle on a quiet, slow-moving river, with some occasional areas of slightly faster moving water and shallows if the river is low. A wide variety of wildlife has been seen along the river here, including herons, occasional osprey, red tail hawks, cormorants, turtles, river otters, and deer. The riverbanks are wooded the entire way and the river feels surprisingly remote for a river running through a dense suburban neighborhood.

We have received a report of a tree down across the river about a mile below the Howard Conservation Area put-in. It it is reportedly possible to slip by on the far left.

Floods have also reportedly left large quantities of garbage along the river.

If you want to, you can also paddle a mile upriver from the Howard Conservation Area put-in before you will be stopped by the dam at Pontiac Mill Falls.

2.6 miles below the put-in at Howard Conservation Area you will pass the mouth of the Pocasset River on the left. It is possible to paddle up the Pocasset for some distance.

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

Location:

Alternate Site Name: Knight Street Canoe Launch

Town: Warwick

Nearest Town Center: Pontiac

Driving Landmarks: From Interstate 95 north take Exit 14B for Route 37 west OR from Interstate 95 south take Exit 14 for Route 37 west. Once on Route 37 west, take Exit 3 for Pontiac Avenue. At the end of the ramp turn left onto Pontiac Avenue. Go 1 mile south on Pontiac Avenue and turn left to stay on Pontiac Avenue. In 0.3 miles Pontiac Avenue will turn into Knight Street. 0.2 miles ahead, Knight Street bends sharply to the right and the parking lot for the put-in is on the left at this corner.

From Interstate 295 north or south take Exit 3B for Route 37 east. Once on Route 37 east, take Exit 3 for Pontiac Avenue. At the end of the ramp bear right onto Pontiac Avenue. Go 1 mile south on Pontiac Avenue and turn left to stay on Pontiac Avenue. In 0.3 miles Pontiac Avenue will turn into Knight Street. 0.2 miles ahead, Knight Street bends sharply to the right and the parking lot for the put-in is on the left at this corner.

Access & Waters:

Water 'Features' At Site: 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: stone steps leading to a gravel shoreline

Float/Dock: no

Approximate Length of Carry between Car Access and Water: 25 feet

Parking:

Parking: parking lot, 6 spaces

ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? no

Nearby Amenities:

Public Restrooms: No

Outfitter: Both REI and EMS have stores nearby. Both sell a wide variety of camping and paddling gear. For more information see the outfitters page.

Sources for More Information:

Other Guidebooks: Paddle 22 in "Paddling Connecticut and Rhode Island"

Ecological, Cultural & Recreational Attractions:

This boat launch is on the Cranston/Warwick city line, in the Howard Conservation Area, a 50 acre property owned by the Pawtuxet River Authority. The Authority is planning to renovate and add walking trails throughout the property.

Photographs:

View up the Path to the Parking Lot

View up the Path to the Parking Lot

Photography by: Pawtuxet River Authority

Date of Photograph: November 22, 2008

The new parking lot at the start of the short path leading to the river.

 
View Down the Path to the River

View Down the Path to the River

Photography by: Pawtuxet River Authority

Date of Photograph: November 22, 2008

View of the path leading from the parking area to the Pawtuxet River.

 

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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 October 3, 2015

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