SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — The South Kingstown Land Trust announced Tuesday that it has closed on the purchase of 43 acres of wooded property on the south side Worden’s Pond Road that previously was owned by the Boy Scouts.
The land trust and the Boy Scouts reached an agreement in March 2018 where the trust would buy the land.
The sale price is listed as $767,500, according to the deed recorded July 17 at Town Hall.
Partial funding of $205,000 was awarded to the project by the state Department of Environmental Management in spring 2018, with funds from the 2012 Open Space Bond fund.
The South Kingstown Town Council approved $382,000 in additional funding for the project in summer 2018.
The funding from the town came from a $3-million bond for open space protection approved by South Kingstown voters in 2006.
In January, the land trust received a grant from the Bafflin Foundation, followed by grants in March from The Nature Conservancy and Champlin Foundation.
“This property provides many public benefits – protection of drinking water recharge area, wildlife habitat, wetlands protection, and, soon, public access trails,” the trust said Tuesday. “These benefits are magnified as the property abuts other protected open space.”
The property is located between four existing open space parcels: two Audubon Society of Rhode Island parcels, a DEM parcel and Tuckertown Park, resulting in a combined 167 acres of protected land. Across the road to the north is the Boy Scout’s Camp Aquapaug, an additional 193 acres.
The land trust said the resulting 360 acres of undeveloped land provides a haven for diverse forms of wildlife. It contains mixed hardwood forest, a wetlands stream complex, statewide important farmland soils and scenic views along two roadways. Alewife Brook, flowing from Tucker Pond to Worden Pond, forms the property’s southern boundary.
“The property is a fine example of a typical forest in our area,” the trust said. It features blueberry bushes, mountain laurel thickets and other varieties of brush. The forest canopy is a mixed hardwood forest common in southern Rhode Island and includes scarlet, black and white oak, red maple, white and pitch pine, hickory, beech and gray birch. Animal trails, especially deer, crisscross the property.
The land trust said it has developed a management plan for the property and will start planning a trail system, including a parking area and informational kiosk, within the property in 2020.
It plans to ask for assistance from local civic organizations, private individuals and non-profit charities.
The nonprofit South Kingstown Land Trust was founded in 1983 to conserve the natural resources and landscapes of the town through preservation and stewardship of open space.
Since its inception, more than 2,800 acres of open space in more than 168 properties have been protected, according to the trust.
There was discussion in July 2018 Town Council meetings that the property could support up to 16 housing units if it were to be developed.