Watch a short film on Habitat Restoration at Lake Canonchet

On Protecting Canonchet #1
The Master Plan

On Protecting Canonchet #2
Appropriate Uses

On Protecting Canonchet #3
Management of the Park

On Protecting Canonchet #4
Finance Issues


Cleanup at Lake Canonchet
September 10, 2011

Charlie Lee Remembrance
February 6, 2011

Canonchet History
Who was Canonchet?
by Richard Vangermeersch

Canonchet Farm Master Plan
Town Council Holds Workshop on Planning Board Report

Our Response
October 21, 2010

Our Vision and Recommendations for Canonchet Farm
April 2009

Guided Walks Fall 2010

Beech Grove Cleanup Complete
Cleanup - Day 4
October 31, 2009

Beech Grove
Cleanup - Day 2
October 9, 2009

Tom Wessels
Guided Walk
October 10, 2009

Other Links
Narrow River Preservation Association

South County Museum

On Pettaquamscutt 2017

Narragansett Chamber of Commerce


On Pettaquamscutt 2018 Winter Speaker Series, Posted January 2, 2018

January 25: The Sampler, A Young Lady's Education
in the 18th & 19th Centuries

Blaire O. Gagnon, Associate Director
South County Museum
Sunday afternoon, January 28, 1:00 to 3:00
Maury Loontjens Memorial Library
Seating is limited. So please click the Register button to reserve a seat.

Please join us on Sunday afternoon, January 28 for the first presentation in the 2018 On Pettaquamscutt Winter Speaker Series, when Blaire O. Gagnon will present "The Sampler - A Young Lady's Education in the 18th & 19th Centuries" at the Maury Loontjens Memorial Library, 35 Kingstown Road, Narragansett. Blaire, who is the Associate Director of the South County Museum, will focus on the role of the sampler and embroidery as the main form of education for young ladies during the 18th and 19th century. Part of her presentation will discuss the role of the Sampler Initiative in documenting samplers and embroideries currently held in museums and historical societies as well as in private collections. She will include samplers created by young ladies in South County.

On Pettaquamscutt: Presentations on the Environment and the History of the Narrow River Watershed, now in its seventh season, is a collaborative project of Friends of Canonchet Farm, Narrow River Preservation Association, South County Museum and the Maury Loontjens Memorial Library with generous support from Trio Restaurant.

The presentations are on three Sunday afternoons, from 1:00 to 3:00, at the Maury Loontjens Memorial Library, 35 Kingstown Road, Narragansett. All events are FREE and open to the public. After each talk, continue the conversation next door at Trio Restaurant, 15 Kingstown Road.

Seating is limited as the presentations usually fill the library to capacity, so please click the Register button to reserve your seat for the January 28 presentation.

Visit the On Pettaquamscutt website to the speakers and presentations in the first six seasons.

Trail Work Schedule Posted October 23, 2017

Improving the Canonchet Farm Trail

Friends of Canonchet Farm volunteers have returned to working along the Canonchet Farm Trail, removing invasive vegetation and making the trail safer and more enjoyable. But more needs to be done and volunteers are always welcome for the seven Saturday morning work sessions we have scheduled from now until the end of the year:

October 28 November 4 December 2
November 18 December 9
December 16
December 30

Please meet at the Friends of Canonchet Farm trailer located on the grounds of the South County Museum at the end of Strathmore Street, which is off Kingstown Road in Narragansett. We will gather at 9 a.m. and walk to the area of the trail where we will be removing privet, multiflora rose, bittersweet and other invasive plants.

As always, we provide tools, snacks, drinks, gloves, instruction and fun. You'll meet wonderful people who share your concern for the preservation and improvement of Canonchet Farm. For more information, contact Kathie Kelleher at

November Events Posted October 23, 2017

November 19: Salt Pond
Preserve Update

Join us on Sunday afternoon, November 19, from 1:00 to 3:00 at the Maury Loontjens Memorial Library when archaeologist Jay Waller presents a Salt Pond Preserve Update with new information on an archaeological site of great importance right here in Narragansett. He will describe the site's content, explain why it is important, and what it tells us about ancient Native American use of the natural resources from the Point Judith and Boston Neck areas of Narragansett. This presentation is cosponsored by the Friends of Canonchet Farm and the Narragansett Historical Society. The library is located at 15 Kingston Road in Narragansett.

Space is limited, so please reserve a place by registering at the library website. Click this link to register online: Salt Pond Preserve Update

November 26:
A Walk with Friends

Nobody loves walks at Canonchet Farm more than Friends of Canonchet Farm President Kathie Kelleher, who will lead "Just a walk with My Friends" at Canonchet Farm on Sunday afternoon, November 26 from 1:00 to 3:00. Here's how Kathie describes the event: "It is an opportunity to recharge our batteries at a hectic time of year. Bring a friend, make a friend, and enjoy the serenity of this special place. We will walk to all the unique places that I would like to share with you." Please meet in the Anne Hoxsie Lane parking lot directly across Boston Neck Road (Scenic 1A) across from the Narragansett Town Beach South Pavilion.


Events posted October 2, 2017

Trail Work Starts October 14

October 14 is the first Saturday of fall trail work. Meet at the Friends of Canonchet Farm Trailer at 9: a.m., at the South County Museum. Trail work is held every Saturday except when the temperature is below freezing or if it is inclement. For more information, contact Kathie Kelleher at

Fall Comes to Canonchet

On Saturday, October 14, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. see the arrival of fall at Canonchet Farm through the eyes of Tom Fortier. Tom will lead a walk starting in the Anne Hoxsie Lane parking lot across from the Narragansett Town Beach South Pavilion.

Whether it is the reflected color of leaves at Little Neck Pond or the golden grasses of the marsh on the edge of Pettaquamscutt Cove, we are sure you will agree that you have to go no further to enjoy fall vistas. Tom is a poet and a naturalist who will bring a special way of seeing as he walks with us.

See other Friends of Canonchet Farm events.

Shoutout posted October 2, 2017

URI Rowing Team Returns to Canonchet

Many thanks to the 55 enthusiastic, hard-working members of the URI Rowing Team who returned to Canonchet Farm on Saturday morning, September 30, to work on the Canonchet Farm Trail, distributing gravel along the path to cover roots and fill holes.

Events posted September 6, 2017

Park Designs, Tool Tips and
a Scoop of Brickley's

Come celebrate Gansett Days with us on Saturday, September 16, from 9:00 to 2:00 with our "open house" at Lake Canonchet directly across from the Narragansett Town Beach South Pavilion. Join Friends of Canonchet Farm volunteers as we wrap up our habitat restoration work on the coastal ponds for the year. See how well our two-year-old plants are doing and learn how this project prepares the way for a linear park. Read more...

July 25, 2017

Turk's Cap Lilies, Marsh Mallow Return to Canonchet

Take a stroll along Little Neck Pond and Lake Canonchet to see the Turk's Cap Lilies, Rose Mallows and other mid-summer delights now in bloom along the ponds.

Click the thumbnails below to view more July and August blooms at Lake Canonchet and Little Neck Pond.

Park Designs, Tool Tips and a Scoop of Brickley's

Come celebrate Gansett Days with us on Saturday, September 16, from 9:00 to 2:00 with our "open house" at Lake Canonchet directly across from the Narragansett Town Beach South Pavilion. Join Friends of Canonchet Farm volunteers as we wrap up our habitat restoration work for the season. See how well our two-year-old plants are doing and learn how this project is in preparation for creating a linear park, and have a scoop of ice cream. See times and other details.

April 17, 2017
Habitat Restoration at Lake Canonchet and Little Neck Pond

Tuesday Evening Work Sessions
Start June 6

In seven scheduled work sessions on Tuesday evenings, we will be clearing invasive vegetation from the edge of Lake Canonchet and Little Neck Pond and promoting the re-growth of native species in this wonderfully diverse habitat. New and returning volunteers are always welcome. We meet at the end of Anne Hoxsie Lane across Boston Neck Road from the Narragansett Town Beach at 4:00 p.m. and work until about 7:00, when we enjoy some pizza and other refreshments. We provide gloves, tools, instructions and plenty of encouragement. The work dates are:

June 6, June 20 and June 27
July 11 and July 25
August 8 and August 22

The Tuesday works session run from 4:00 to 7:00. Parking is available in the West Parking Lot on Anne Hoxsie Lane. Stop at the Friends of Canonchet tent for a parking pass.

Note: A great deal of progress was made last season with suppression of the phragmites at Lake Canonchet and we are now removing the dead plants from the water's edge. Please bring waterproof boots or shoes if you want to join in that task. If not, there are plenty of dry feet jobs to be done.

Starting in September, the work sessions will be on Saturday mornings.

April 14, 2017

URI Class to Develop Plans for Linear Park at Lake Canonchet

At its regular meeting on April 3, the Narragansett Town Council approved a request from the Friends of Canonchet Farm and the Parks and Recreation Department to accept a proposal from a URI landscape architecture class to generate 15 conceptual plans for a linear park at Lake Canonchet for future consideration and development by the Town. (What is a linear park?)

Students in Professor Richard Sheridan's third-year Landscape Architecture course have already visited the site, discussed the project with town staff and Friends of Canonchet Farm representatives and began preparing conceptual plans for the park to be presented at the end of April. This partnership and project will provide the next phase to project a vision to the Town Council of a linear park that creates a link between active recreation at the Town Beach to passive recreation at Lake Canonchet and Little Neck Pond.

This project is based on the June 27, 2011 Town Council approval of the Canonchet Farm Master Plan Executive Summary including specific elements of the plan such as the linear park around Lake Canonchet. Portions of this work with CRMC assents have been accomplished to date with volunteer labor and financial resources from the Friends of Canonchet Farm. Examples of the work since 2012 are invasive vegetation removal, concrete and storm debris removal, elimination of employee parking in the southern extremity of the site, installation of native plants and trees, trail maintenance, general maintenance and care of the property. This partnership and project will provide the next phase to project a vision to the Town Council of a linear park that creates a link between active recreation at the Town Beach to passive recreation at Lake Canonchet and Little Neck Pond. The Friends of Canonchet Farm is funding projects related costs.

March 25, 2017

Youth Movement along the Canonchet Farm Trail

Seven members of the Alpha Phi Omega service group from URI pose for a team photo after clearing invasive plants from in front of a stone wall along the Canonchet Trail on Saturday, March 25. Meanwhile two other APO members who had no time for such photo ops were vigorously uprooting privet further down the trail. The APO members dropped the mean age of the group of 23 that worked the trail. Another work session is scheduled for next Saturday (April 1), and it is open to all ages. See the Habitat Restoration page for details.

Here are more some pictures from the work session. Click a picture to enlarge it and see the progress along the trail.

January 30, 2017

Maintaining the Canonchet Farm Trail, Volunteers Welcome

Work continues along the Canonchet Farm Trail every Saturday morning throughout the winter, with volunteers removing invasive species and improving the safety and usability of the trail.

The trail work sessions are scheduled for every Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the winter and are cancelled when the weather is prohibitive. Volunteers meet at the South County Museum parking lot, 115 Strathmore Street, Narragansett for sign-in, instruction, and tool distribution.

Please e-mail Kathie Kelleher at or call 401-783-3951 if you are interested in volunteering.

January 29, 2017
On Pettaquamscutt 2017

Join us on Sunday, February 26, for the second presentation in sixth season of On Pettaquamscutt Winter Speaker Series when Dr. Nancy Karraker, URI Associate Professor in the Department of Natural Resources Science, (shown on the right leading a guided walk in Canonchet Farm in April 2015) will describe the wide variety of amphibians and reptiles that thrive in the Narrow River Watershed.

Nancy's research has examined the impacts of habitat loss, pollution, climate change, invasive species and disease on biodiversity in North America and Southeast Asia. That research has included field studies with her students at Canonchet Farm.

For more about On Pettaquamscutt visit our Events page.

On Saturday mornings volunteers clear privet and other invasive plants from the Canonchet Trail.
More photos on the Habitat Restoration Page.

November 1, 2017
Thanksgiving Stroll, Sunday afternoon, November 27, 1:00 to 3:00

Please join us on our traditional after-Thanksgiving stroll to recharge our batteries before the December holiday rush. It is just a walk. Bring a special friend. Find peace and relaxation in a special and beautiful place.

We may visit the stone quarry or a scenic overlook to Pettaquamscutt Cove. We may travel over narrow pathways to new places.

Meet in the Anne Hoxsie Lane parking lot across Boston Neck Road (Scenic Route 1A) from the Narragansett Town Beach South Pavilion. The walk will be led by Kathie Kelleher, a Friends of Canonchet Farm Trustee.

This walk is free and open to the public. For information call Kathie Kelleher at 401 783-3951.

November 14, 2016

The URI Rowing Team takes a bow after completing four hours of work
on the Canonchet Farm Trail on Sunday, November 13, 2016.
More pictures on Trails Maps.

Scott Turner reflects on a walk at Canonchet Farm
The Providence Journal, November 11, 2016

Co-explorers of the world around us

An unconventional walk in the woods renewed my spirit near the end of a disagreeable election season.

My stroll was as leader of a publicized nature walk in South County, in which I learned as much from participants as they might have picked up from me.

(Read more...)


October 13, 2016
Maintaining and Improving the Canonchet Farm Trail

Well, Fall is here! and invasive remediation sessions around the coastal ponds are over for this year. Now we turn attention to Canonchet Farm Trail maintenance as soon as possible to get as much done before bad weather interferes. In fact, we have already had two work sessions this month and there is plenty of work to be done.

The next session will be on Saturday, October 22 from 9 a.m. to noon, and we continue every Saturday to the end of the year (weather and holidays permitting). Please plan to meet near the animal pens on the South County Museum property, at the end of Strathmore Street in Narragansett to pick up tools, and go to the selected work area. We may be headed into new territory - new privet to extirpate, new strangler vines to cut out, more stone walls to uncover. Or maybe we will do a quick refresh of last season's work to start.

Instruction, coffee, water, snacks, tools and gloves will be available. Hope to see you there!

Visit the Habitat Restoration page or call 401 783-3951 for more information.

An easy hike with gorgeous views

"If you think the only place to walk in Narragansett is the sea wall," advises Betty Cotter in a feature article about Canonchet Farm in the February 10, 2016 Narragansett Times, "you might want to take a detour into the woods behind South County Museum." Click the image to read the full article.

Download a map of Canonchet Trail.


The future of Lake Canonchet, as envisioned 41 years ago...
(click the image to zoom in)

October 20, 2014

New Sign Honors Charlie Lee, Celebrates Native Plants Along Lake Canonchet

The Friends of Canonchet Farm has donated the first in a series of interpretive signs on Canonchet Farm, this one describing the native plants that are thriving along the eastern edge of Lake Canonchet.

Installed near the intersection of Boston Neck Road and Anne Hoxsie Lane, the sign features an illustration by Frances Topping and honors the memory of Charlie Lee, founding member the Friends of Canonchet Farm.

COstal Rhode Ilsand Botanical Garden


THE FRIENDS OF CANONCHET FARM was created in 2007 by a group of Narragansett residents who recognized this forgotten parcel of land could be preserved as a natural space for the community to enjoy. The group has evolved into a partnership with the Town to provide funding and volunteers for enhancing the property. We are committed to help create a natural park for the enjoyment and education of Narragansett residents and visitors.

Today Canonchet Farm is a green space unlike any other in Rhode Island. Comprised of 175 acres of fresh and saltwater wetlands, forests,brooks, and ponds abutting Pettaquamscutt Cove on Narrow River, the land is habitat for a wide variety of birds, plants, animals, and insects. The John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge owns ten acres of the land, while the remaining 165 acres belong to the Town of Narragansett. The original open fields of farmland have, over the years, grown into a thick forest of native and invasive plants and trees. Visitors and members will enjoy learning about the area on our popular guided walks, led by experts in the fields of nature, culture, and the sciences. With 1.5 miles of walking trails and proximity to the South County Museum, Canonchet Farm is a perfect venue for a day's outing.


Canonchet Farm's earliest inhabitants were the Narragansett Indians, followed by the first colonial settlers and farmers of the area. In 1865 Governor William Sprague and his wife, Kate Chase Sprague, purchased the property and constructed a sprawling sixty-eight-room mansion. They called the farm"Canonchet" after the renowned sachem of the Narragansett tribe. In 1909 the mansion burned to the ground. Now,only the stone framework remains from the original stable, which burned in 1960's.


With the ongoing habitat restoration program, made possible by the support of donations and volunteers, the ponds are becoming visible from Boston Neck Road. A proposed linear park along the shores of both ponds with a landscape design of native plants begins to take shape. We also plan to install educational signage, offer programs for children, and hold courses in forestry management.


Whether your interest is a quiet walk through the forest or the hands-on experience of preserving the environment, we invite you to join Friends of Canonchet Farm, and help support the natural development of this unique place in Rhode Island.

photo by Bill Krul

Photos by Bill Krul

The mission of the Friends of Canonchet Farm
is to improve, manage and preserve Canonchet Farm
in partnership with the public for the enjoyment
of present and future generations.

Glacial Erratic

Map of Canonchet Farm
Shows trail heads and points of interest
Send e-mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2007 - 2018 Friends of Canonchet Farm
Last modified: January 2, 2018