By ecoRI News staff
RICHMOND — The state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has acquired 84.5 acres of land along Arcadia Road to add to the state’s 16,000-acre Arcadia Management Area. The property includes more than three-quarters of a mile of frontage on the Wood River and Frying Pan Pond. Its preservation will allow for increased public access to the Wood River and shoreline fishing access to Frying Pan Pond.
The property is vegetated with mature white pine forest stands, as well as wetland shrubs and grasses, according to the DEM. There are several existing trails that traverse the land that will now be accessible by the public. An existing house on the property will be retained by the landowner, and the remainder of the land will be incorporated into the state management area.
The state acquired the property from Audrey Greene, Priscilla Winsor, June Winsor, Franklin Winsor and Carolyn Smith for $600,000. Funding was provided by a combination of state open space bond money and federal funds allocated to the state Department of Transportation from the Federal Highway Administration under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act. The property will be incorporated into the Arcadia Management Area and will be managed by DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.
“DEM is delighted that we have been able to secure this valuable property that will help safeguard the ecologically diverse Wood River and wetland system adjacent to Frying Pan Pond,” DEM Director Janet Coit said. “This acquisition also adds additional lands to the Arcadia Management Area and will enhance recreational opportunities for the public in southwestern Rhode Island.”
Arcadia Management Area is the most heavily used public access area under state ownership. In addition to providing for habitat management and wildlife preservation, Arcadia provides opportunities for the public to engage in a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, mountain biking and equestrian use.
Residents and tourists spend nearly $380 million annually in Rhode Island on trip and equipment-related expenditures for fishing, hunting and wildlife-watching activities, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.
During the recent February school vacation period, nearly 400 Rhode Island children and their families enjoyed a variety of hikes and guided tours offered by DEM at three natural resource areas, according to the state agency.