SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Barbara Hendrick and her husband, John Hendrick Jr., wanted their land on Glen Rock Road in West Kingston to remain a special place where they could continue to grow hay, walk in the oak forest by Glen Rock Reservoir, or watch wildlife along the Queen River.
After several years of work, the couple has reached an agreement where the land — approximately 9.5 acres — will be protected through a conservation easement with the South Kingstown Land Trust.
The land trust announced the agreement earlier this month. The easement means that the Hendricks will continue to own the parcel, and even still grow their hay there. But development of the land is now limited to one house.
“I am overjoyed that it will be preserved for my lifetime and the lifetime of my children and grandchildren,” Barbara Hendrick said. “The Queens River is a rejuvenating place to swim or kayak, and the vernal pool provides countless amphibians a welcome home. Preserving this land, which has been in my family for generations, and the many creatures that reside here is something I am proud of and I’m grateful to the South Kingstown Land Trust.”
Work to preserve the Hendrick Peckham Farm land began in 2019, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service awarded the land trust initial funding from its Agricultural Conservation Easement Program to cover half of the land’s appraised value. Rhode Island taxpayers, through the Rhode Island Agricultural Lands Preservation Commission, funded another third, and the Hendrick family contributed the remainder at what the land trust described as a “bargain sale.”
With the conservation of the acreage in perpetuity, farmland and a drinking water recharge area will be protected, as well as various wildlife habitats within the wetlands area.
Also included is about 290 feet along the Queen River, which is designated a National Scenic River.
The newly conserved land also contains the active hayfield of more than 4 acres, an oak forest along the Glen Rock Reservoir portion of the Queen River, a shallow pond near Glen Rock Road, and important farmland soils.
“DEM is pleased to support the conservation of the Hendrick property,” Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit said. “This important project has it all – prime farmland soils, frontage on the pristine Queens River, and it’s located in an important conservation corridor.”
The pond is a breeding ground for salamanders, various frogs and toads, and turtles, according to a study done as part of the easement. Other wildlife such as fox, deer, coyote, rabbit, beaver and birds such as hawks and owls call the area home as well.
Also within the land is South Kingstown Historical Cemetery 1, the Moses Barber Lot. It has 48 burials with 18 inscribed stones and 23 fieldstones, according to a book on the town’s historical cemeteries.
“We’re pleased to have partnered with the South Kingstown Land Trust and the R.I. Agricultural Lands Preservation Commission on the preservation of nine and a half acres of farmland owned by the Hendrick family in South Kingstown,” R. Phou Vongkhamdy, state conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, said. “By providing funding through the federal Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, we were able to help the landowners and our partners protect working agricultural lands and prime farmland soils, a drinking water recharge area, wildlife habitat, and wetlands, which provide many environmental benefits for the Ocean State. Thank you to the Hendrick family, SKLT and the ALPC for your commitment, hard work and partnership.”