Recreation - Accessibility to Protected Land
The Ag Trust protects land for the public good, helping to preserve our well water, ensuring the continuation of our agricultural heritage and our scenic vistas, and providing habitat for the plant and animal species that characterize our town.
While some of these purposes preclude public access, some Ag Trust properties are accessible to the public under conditions stipulated in the legal agreements drawn up to protect them. For example, the P.T. Marvell Preserve, located on the north side of South Shore Road just before you get to the beach, was jointly protected by the Ag Trust, the Sakonnet Preservation Association and The Nature Conservancy in 2005. Mowed trails on the Marvell property pass through open fields and coastal thickets and offer panoramic views out over the beach to the ocean. These trails are available to the public for wandering and exploring 365 days a year.
In another very different agreement, the conservation easements on 94 acres of the Sakonnet Vineyards stipulate that the public will have limited access forever for pre-arranged public gatherings at least four times a year.
Most Ag Trust property is not publicly accessible because it is actively farmed, it is habitat for wildlife, or its ownership has been retained by those who have protected it.
The Ag Trust is currently working with its partners on a trails project that would give residents and visitors access to some of Little Compton’s protected land. A trail feasibility study has been completed by a conservation biologist on Bumblebee Farm, a 169-acre parcel located near the headwaters of Dundery Brook just north of the town center. The town’s land trusts are working together with landowners and funding sources to design a trail system that would give the public access to the very heart of Little Compton.