New nature reserve opens in Lincoln | New
LINCOLN – A new nature reserve has opened in Lincoln, providing access to land that was previously difficult to access and enjoy.
The Nature Conservancy has opened its 25th nature reserve in Rhode Island, located next to the Fairlawn Golf Course and behind the MacColl YMCA.
The new Moshassuck River Preserve offers 3 miles of freshly marked trails through the former Camp Conklin on over 200 acres of forest.
The Nature Conservancy, whose mission is to “protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends,” said in a statement that increased public interest in outdoor recreation was one of the main factors at the origin of the decision to open the reserve.
Part of the reserve once belonged to Conklin Lime, who hosted a scout camp for Troop 64, Pack 1, Saylesville. The former scout camp is owned by TNC and has been protected from development since the 1990s, and was recently managed as a wildlife habitat.
Until last month, there was no official parking lot or trailhead providing public access to the area.
The trail to the Moshassuck River Preserve is near the first tee of the Fairlawn Golf Course.
The so-called Blue Trail follows the Moshassuck River before rising up and over a slope through a field of boulders. The yellow trail crosses several tributaries of the Moshassuck and passes a historic cemetery, with graves marked by simple fieldstones.
“We are thrilled to open the Moshassuck River Preserve to the public,” said Scott Comings, associate state director for the Rhode Island chapter of TNC. “TNC maintains approximately 90 miles of trails in Rhode Island, and visitor numbers are on the rise on all of our reservations. We are excited to be able to offer the community a new place to enjoy nature.
Abutters was credited with helping to resolve potential obstacles to opening the reserve. Fairlawn Golf Course volunteered to build the new 15-car parking lot for the reserve, with a shared entrance located off Sherman Avenue. The course also provided machines and personnel to install the signage.
In addition, the MacColl YMCA welcomed the existing trails that leave the reserve and cross YMCA property, agreeing to add signage instead of relocating the trails. Parts of the Yellow Trail are on YMCA property.
“The Fairlawn Golf Course and the YMCA have both been great partners to work with,” said Cheryl Wiitala, TNC Director of Reserves. “We couldn’t have done it without them, and we can’t wait to do more together.”
The Nature Conservancy has protected over 35,000 acres of wildlife habitat in IR since 1964, including the Aust Family Preserve at Lime Rock. The Moshassuck River Reserve was established with the support of the Open Space Program of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the Champlin Foundation, the Bafflin Foundation, the AMICA Business Foundation and donors. individual TNCs.
Strengths of the reserve
The reserve will be open all year round, during daylight hours. Dogs are allowed on the reserve but must be kept on a leash at all times.
Parking is on Sherman Avenue near the Great Road intersection. There is an orange and white sign next to the fairway (next to the Fairlawn Golf Course Clubhouse, Bogey’s). If this lot is full, parking is permitted in the Fairlawn lot.
There is a kiosk at the trailhead that showcases the new 3 mile trail system. To enter, hikers must descend the path between the first tee and the woods, crossing the Moshassuck. There is a stone dam and a small mill ruin to the right.
The reserve has two trails, one circling north and the other south.
As the reserve is brand new, some sections of trail and stream crossings are “still under evaluation” for future peat bog bridges and footbridges. For now, visitors are advised to dress for potentially muddy conditions.