Fall 2023

Invasive Plants in
Canonchet Farm

View Canonchet
Farm Video

Plans for the
Linear Park

Save the Date: May 11 when we gather at the South County Museum
to celebrate the life of Kathie Kelleher


Map of Canonchet Farm Property

Trail Map


Trail Map


Trail Guide

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 2020

Narragansett Chamber of Commerce


Posted November 20, 2021. Updated December 22, 2021.

The Woodlands in December
with Scott Turner

Sunday, December 5, at Canonchet Farm

We are delighted to host naturalist and storyteller Scott J. Turner and share Scott's enthusiasm and curiosity about the natural world as he led us to explore the Canonchet Farm Trail in early December.

The former nature writer for the Providence Journal is the author of Beauty in the Street: Nature Tales from the Neighborhood, which contains a chapter on Canonchet Farm!

"Turner's engaging prose reminds us how important it is to pay very close attention to nature and appreciate the lessons it can teach us."
-- Frederic Reamer, host of "This I Believe: New England"

"His observational intensity and precision energize us to appreciate the wonders all around us."
-- Robert Whitcomb, President of The Boston Guardian

Posted October 28, 2021; Update November 20, 2021

November Events

Canonchet Farm History
Talk and Walk
with Jim Crothers

Saturday, November 6
1:00 p.m

Jim Crothers, former Executive Director of the South County Museum (and accomplished blacksmith!) brings entertaining anecdotes and a wealth of knowledge to his presentation about the long and interesting history of Canonchet Farm. Following his talk, Jimwill lead us on a guided trail walk. Meet at the South County Museum, 115 Strathmore Street in Narragansett. This is a free program, sponsored by Friends of Canonchet Farm. Don't miss this chance to learn about local history and lore!

Frosty Drew Presents
Stargazing in

Saturday, November 13 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Join Frosty Drew on the lawn outside the South County Museum for an outdoor talk and telescope viewing of the night sky. We will see Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and a 72% waxing gibbous moon! This free event is presented by Frosty Drew Observatory and is open to the public. Bring your blanket and a chair and come on out!Meet on the lawn outside the South County Museum for a telescope viewing of the night sky. Here is a great opportunity to stargaze with the Frosty Drew Observatory staff.

Posted October 1, 2021

Read our Fall Newsletter

Posted September 28, 2021

Native Plants Through the Years

Saturday, October 2 at 1:00 p.m. South County Museum

Friends of Canonchet Farm is pleased to host David Vissoe, URI Master Gardener and Project Leader for the Kettle Pond Visitor Center. David will present a colorful and informative video program inside the South County Museum and then will lead a walk around the Native Plant gardens on the Museum grounds. He will share his extensive knowledge of the growth cycle of plants from initial planting to developing a mature garden. Meet at the South County Museum, 115 Strathmore Street in Narragansett.

Click on this link to register for this FREE program:  


Posted July 1, 2021

Town Council Approves Ten-Year Agreement
with Friends of Canonchet Farm

At its regular meeting on June 6, 2021, the Narragansett Town Council approved a ten-year extension of the co-operative agreement between the Friends of Canonchet Farm and Narragansett Parks and Recreation for the maintenance and improvement of Canonchet Farm.

View Tom Hoagland's presentation to the council at the begining of the meeting.

Watch a new video about removing invasive plants at Canonchet Farm.

Posted July 1, 2021

New Map of Canonchet Farm

In cooperation with Narragansett Engineering Department, Friends of Canonchet Farm now has a comprehensive, up‐to‐date map of the Canonchet Farm property at trail kiosks next to the Community Canter and at the West Beach Parking Lot on Anne Hoxsie Lane.

Posted June 18, 2021

Removing Knotweed

In three work sessions this spring, Friends of Canonchet Farm volunteers uprooted this year's growth of Japanese Knotweed from the southern edge of Lake Canonchet along Narragansett Avenue, and carted away multiple truckloads of the inavsive bamboo-like plant. Work will continue throughout the summer along Lake Canonchet including maintenance of the previously restored area across Boston Neck Road from the Narragansett Town Beach. You are welcome to join us; email Tom Hoagland for more information. (Photos by Amanda Moss)

Read the Friends of Canonchet Farm
Spring 2021 Newsletter

Posted April 18, 2021

Watch the 2021 On Pettquamscutt Presentations

Coastal Defenses
in Narragansett

The Stories of Point Judith's Commercial Fisherman Ospreys of
Narrow River

Posted February 28, 2021

Register now for the March 28 On Pettaquamscutt presentation when Craig Wood of the Narrow River Preservation Association and the Narrow River Land Trust will use footage from the live osprey webcam at Garrison House Acres to tell us about The Ospreys of Narrow River. The presentation starts at 1:00 p.m. The registration confirmation will include your link to the presentation via Zoom.

Posted January 8, 2021

Remembering Mike Lapisky

The Friends of Canonchet Farm mourns the loss of long-time member, Trustee and great friend Mike Lapisky, who died on January 4, 2021, at the age of 76. Mike shared his encyclopedic knowledge of plants and wildlife, offered wise council always with good humor and inspired us with his dedication to protecting the natural habits of Canonchet Farm and all South County.

Mike Lapisky
Mike Lapisky shows pelts during his presentation on the
"Wildlife at Canonchet Farm" for the February 2012
On Pettaquamscutt Winter Speaker Series.

Read Mike's obituary at the Avery-Storti Funeral Home.

Read the Friends of Canonchet Farm
Fall 2020 Newsletter

New Trail Guide Highlights Eleven
Points in Canonchet History

Posted September 5, 2020, Revised September 24, 2020

View October 22 presentation about
the Native Plant Garden Project

New Planting Schedule:
October 5, 6 and 7

The region’s long dry spell makes for less than ideal planting conditions; therefore, the work days have been postponed until the grounds are more agreeable for the new natives plants that will put the finishing touches on the Friends of Canonchet landscaping project at the South County Museum. Basically, the dry weather rained on our parade….for now. NEW DATES: October 5, 6 and 7, from 9:00 a.m to noon. We do hope you consider digging in with us then! Send us an email at southcountymuseum@gmail.com if you would like to volunteer.

Friends of Canonchet Farm Volunteers Rehabilitate South County
Museum Grounds

South County Garden Club grant will fund
native plant renewal

The Friends of Canonchet Farm has been awarded a South County Garden Club grant to fund a major enhancement to the grounds of the South County Museum on Canonchet Farm this month. The grant leverages the work of volunteers to remove invasive vegetation and plant selected native plants.

This month, Friends of Canonchet Farm volunteers have been removing burning bush, Japanese barberry and other invasive vegetation from the museum grounds. Then, during the week of September 21 to 26 they will be joined by URI Master Gardeners and South County Museum volunteers to selectively re-plant native plants purchased with the South County Garden Club grant. Additionally, the long-neglected Native Plant and Moon Gardens to the east of the museum will be rehabilitated and replanted with colorful, pollinator-friendly Rhode Island grown native plants and flowers. When completed, signs will identify the new plants and the gardens will serve both as an exhibit for museum visitors and as a showpiece for the invasive removal and native plant replacement work performed by volunteers on the grounds of the museum.

Burining bush
Invasive burning bush in the South County Museum
parking lot will be removed.

Native Plant Garden
Volunteers will replant the now overgrown native plant garden
(circular garden adjacent to the Robinson Cemetery)
with Rhode Island native plants.

Project is part of a major restoration effort

Every winter on suitable Saturday mornings a hardy crew of Friends of Canonchet Farm volunteers load up at the tool trailer located on the grounds of the South County Museum and go to work clearing invasive knotweed, privet, bittersweet, porcelain berry, Japanese barberry and burning bush along the 1.3 mile Canonchet Farm Trail that connects Narragansett Elementary School and the Narragansett Beach west parking lot on Anne Hoxsie Lane. The trail winds through the woods behind the museum, sometimes only a few yards from the museum grounds.  Paradoxically, the landscaping along the lanes and next to some of the museum’s most-visited buildings includes more than 20 burning bush (euonymus alatus) shrubs and five Japanese Barberry (berberis thunbergii). These plants are native to Asia and are highly invasive in southern Rhode Island and trail volunteer work crews have removed many from the trail over the past four winters.

The Friends of Canonchet Farm volunteers are engaged in a multi-year effort to remove invasive plants from the trail.  When completed, an extensive and intricate system of colonial stone walls, farm roads, stone bridges, stiles and quarries will be revealed after many years of dense vegetative cover. Trail usage has been rising steadily as trail conditions improve. We want to provide interpretive education to our trail users about the landscape they are walking through and there are brochures available that describe both the history and geology of Canonchet Farm.

All the invasive plant removal work on the property is done by Friends of Canonchet Farm volunteers, many of whom are also URI Master Gardeners and Coastal Invasive Managers certified by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Council.

Removing Porcelain Berry, Posted March 24, 2019

Volunteers Make Quick Work of Invasive

On March 16, a crew of eight volunteers got to work removing a major infestation of porcelain berry from along the fence line behind the South County Museum, clearing vines that had grown through the fence, uprooting and removing the invasive plants, and completing what was expected to be a two-day task in a single Saturday morning session.

Trail Work, Posted January 30, 2019

Tap the picture to see what this crew has done.

Click the image to see their work

Nine of our volunteers came to work on a cold winter day last Saturday (January 26) What a great day it was. The difference is amazing! There is only a short way left to go to finish our goal for this winter. Don't worry; there are plenty of invasive plants located in other areas of the trail for us to work on. We plan to begin work an hour later this Saturday, February 2, to allow the sun to warm up the air. The forest is always warmer than cleared land. We will meet at the trailer on the grounds of South County Museum at 10 a.m.. There are things for people to do with all levels of ability. Work the whole two hours or more, or less. We are flexible and welcoming. If it is your first time to volunteer, we will team you up with one of our pros. If you have any questions, call Kathie Kelleher 401-783-3951 or 401-556-6036.

See the Friends of Canonchet Farm Home Page in 2018

See the Friends of Canonchet Farm Home Page in 2017

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
For more information about the Friends of Canonchet Farm,
email Tom Hoagland (tom.hoagland963@gmail.com).
Copyright © 2007-2024 Friends of Canonchet Farm
Last modified: April 9, 2024