Without Trails

Cleanup event to kick off development of Westcott Park



An aerial view of Westcott Memorial Park shows it tucked behind houses off Waterman Avenue in North Providence. The park will feature a kayak launch, as well as hiking trails, parking spaces, and a park bench. On Saturday, Aug. 28, the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council and North Providence are holding its first event to clean up the trails and surrounding area.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The newly acquired Westcott Park off Adams Lane will be an integral connecting piece for canoes and other paddlers along the Woonasquatucket River, said Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council Director Lisa Aurecchia, who is hoping to gather volunteers this weekend for the park’s first cleanup event.

On Saturday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, the WRWC invites members of the public to assist in the first round of cleanups at the park, located at 7 Adams Lane.

The event will entail removing brush, overgrowth and invasive species as well as clearing potential hazards such as hanging limbs and fallen trees. Aurecchia said much of the group’s work will focus on cleaning up existing trails and possible seeding.

“The idea is to make it usable for now while we looking into funding options for more projects,” she said.

North Providence is teaming up with the WRWC along with local scout troops to get as much initial cleanup done as possible on Saturday, There are existing trails on the site, but the Land Trust and WRWC hopes to install a better trail system.

Future projects may include creating a better trail system, putting in a small parking lot, installing a trailhead with signage and a kiosk. Aurecchia said area scout troops are interested in becoming the stewards of the park and may install areas for overnight stays, as well.

The North Providence Land Trust secured the property in the fall of 2020 for $300,000 from the Octeau family, a purchase that was funded in part by a $150,000 matching grant from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. At the time, the organization anticipated using it for passive recreation, including river access including a kayak launch.

The Land Trust formally voted in

Aurecchia said will serve as North Providence’s only “real access” to the Woonasquatucket River for paddling. She said acquiring the land links North Providence along the river to many other cities and towns, including Smithfield and Providence.

“It becomes a real state asset. This park is a beautiful little open space,” she said.

She said she recently paddled along the nearby portion of the river and described it as a “peaceful, lovely spot that links spaces along the river.”

Clare Brown of the WRWC said linking North Providence residents to the river will also educate them about how the river connects communities throughout northern Rhode Island.

“It’s an important piece of land, especially for this area,” Brown said.

The land addition also helps fulfill a goal in North Providence’s comprehensive plan to provide an adequate amount of open recreational space to the community.

According to Aurecchia, Westcott put in a significant amount of effort to acquire the 2.75-acre lot. The property is especially important to North Providence, as it is one of the most densely populated towns in Rhode Island, she said.

“He was interested in making sure North Providence has more access to the river and more open space in the town. He really worked with the Land Trust to get this,” she said.

Donations in Westcott’s name for the development of the site can be made to the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council at 45 Eagle St., Suite 202, Providence, Rhode Island, 02909, or online at https://wrwc.org/ways-to-give/donate/.

For more information on the cleanup, visit www.wrwc.org.


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