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

2019 On Pettaquamscutt
Winter Speaker Series

October 2018 Newsletter



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



Habitat Restoration Case Study, Posted December 28, 2018

Before and After on the
Canonchet Farm Trail

Many thanks to Melissa Crawford for sharing a PowerPoint slide show that documents the progress made in the restoration work along the Canonchet Trail.

Click to view a PDF of the slides (.pdf).

More Help from the URI Rowing Team, Posted November 20, 2018

URI Rowing Team

Despite a cold rain on Saturday, November 3, the URI Rowing Team once again pitched in to improve safety and the walking experience on the Canonchet Farm Trail. With characteristic team work and enthusiasm, the women distributued this pile of gravel along the trail firming up low spots and covering roots.

URI Master Gardeners Honor Kathie Kelleher, Posted November 16, 2018

At its annual awards meeting on September 22, the URI Master Gardener Program named Friends of Canonchet Farm President Kathie Kelleher the 2018 Honorary Master Gardener. Here is a write-up from the The Dirt, the URI Master Gardener Program Online Newsletter, submitted by Rosemary Smith, URIMGP Class of 2008:

2018 Honorary Master Gardener:
Kathie Kelleher

When Kathie Kelleher moved to Narragansett, she loved walking the trails of her neighboring 170-acre Canonchet Farm. When a group tried to develop a polo field in the farm by tearing down trees and stonewalls, Kathie went into action and helped establish the not-for-profit Friends of Canonchet Farm which is dedicated to protecting and improving the area. Purchased by the Town of Narragansett, with Federal Open Space Funds, Canonchet Farm’s potential was yet to be realized.

Kathie KelleherKathie works with the Narragansett Parks and Recreation Department and the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), securing applications and permits to remove invasive species from the coastal ponds and the walking trails. The CRMC approved the Friends of Canonchet Farm plan six years ago and the URI Master Gardeners were welcomed to the project to help train the volunteers in the best practices of removing invasive plants and planting native species. There are more than 100 volunteers who have worked this project and 40% of them are Master Gardeners.

The Canonchet Farm Habitat Restoration Project became a model and Canonchet Farm is used by many URI classes. Members of the URI CELS/CRMC Invasive Plant Management Program use the site as a field trip for its yearly class. Other URI faculty and their students use the coastal ponds and trails for the study of invasive plants, restoring habitat, vernal pools and geology.

Every organization needs a lead person and Kathie Kelleher is that. She communicates to all the needs of Canonchet Farm and keeps volunteers informed of work project goals, tours of trails, and Sunday afternoon themed walks. Kathie Kelleher deserves recognition for her service to Canonchet Farm, the statewide invasive plant initiative, the MG Land Stewardship focus, and her personal dedication to educating the public and Master Gardener volunteers about restoring the native environment.

Note: You can congratulate Kathie when you take a walk with her along the Canonchet Farm Trail on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (November 25).

Guided Walks and Trail Work, Posted October 31, 2018

This November Along
the Canonchet Farm Trail

Tree Planting on November 1 and 2

We are planting trees along the eastern half of the Canonchet Trail in two work sessions:

The trailer is located on the grounds of South County Museum at the end of Strathmore Street, which is off of Kingstown Road in Narragansett. Drinks, snacks, gloves will be provided. We will be keeping an eye on the weather both for Thursday and Friday; for an update, email Kathie Kelleher at events@canonchet.org.

Guided Walk Through Colonial Times November 4

Sunday afternoon, November 4 from 1:00 to 3:00: Jim Crothers, Director of South County Museum, will lead a walk along the trail at Canonchet Farm exploring evidence of usage of the property from Colonial times to the Governor Sprague era.  We will explore an old cemetery, stone bridge over Crooked Brook, salt marsh, and the museum area.  We will begin and end at South County Museum, 115 Strathmore Street, Narragansett. All walks are free and open to the public.  For information, email Kathie Kelleher at events@canonchet.org or call 401-783-3951.

Walk to Relax November 25

Sunday afternoon, November 25, from 1:00 to 3:00: Guided walk led by Kathie Kelleher, president of Friends of Canonchet Farm, a relaxing stroll through this beautiful natural area. Bring a friend or family member and just enjoy a few moments away from the hustle and bustle of this active season. Join Kathie in the Ann Hoxsie Lane parking lot directly across from the Narragansett Town Beach South Pavilion, 39 Boston Neck Road (Route 1A). All walks are free and open to the public.  For information, email Kathie Kelleher at events@canonchet.org or call 401-783-3951.

Improving the Canonchet Farm Trail, Posted October 23, 2018

Alpha Volunteers

On Saturday, October 20 Alpha Phi Omega, a service organization of URI students and some of our more faithful volunteers did a great job clearing invasives in front of one of the beautiful stone walls along the Canonchet Farm Trail. The area's native species had been tagged so that the volunteers could work quickly removing invasive plants only since they were not tagged. It was amazing. Many thanks to all of you!

Photos by Bob Stepanian

We plan to work on the trails each Saturday from 9:00 to 12:00. We meet at the trailer in the South County Museum parking lot at the end of Strathmore Street. We are happy to supply snacks, water, instruction, and good people. For information, email Kathie Kelleher at events@canonchet.org or call 401-783-3951.

Gansett Days Event, Posted September 10, 2018

Play in a Park To Be

Come celebrate Gansett Days with us on Saturday, September 15, from 1;00 to 3:00 on the shore of Lake Canonchet. That's directly across Boston Neck Road (1A) from the Narragansett Beach South Pavilion, where free parking is available.

Play a little bocce, maybe croquet and enjoy a scoop of Brickley's Ice Cream.

The Friends of Canonchet Farm is developing a park along Lake Canonchet and Little Neck Pond to the north. That's the "Park to Be."

Review plans by a landscape architect for a park on the eastern shores of the two coastal ponds.


Raymond Stuart Kagels (1948-2018)

We Have Lost a Good Friend

On August 26, Ray Kagels, a true Friend of Canonchet Farm, died after a long battle with cancer. Members of the Friends of Canonchet Farm extend their sympathy to Joyce and all the Kagels family.

Here is a link to Ray's obituary: Raymond Stuart Kagels


Guided Walk, Posted 22, 2018

Tim Cranston Covers 400 Years
in a Little More than a Mile

It was a beautiful spring day (at last) on Sunday, April 22, when 57 visitors walked with Tim Cranston along the Canonchet Farm Trail and heard Tim's stories about Canonchet's "best time to die," Algonquin descriptive place names, vernal pools, sheep walls and cow walls, invasive critters and plants, and 18th century South County plantations as the "bread basket for the Caribbean." And that's just a partial list. Here are some photos of the guided walk. Click a photo to enlarge it.

Photos by Rosemary Smith

Habitat Restoration at the Coastal Ponds, Posted April 18, 2018

April 21 is Opening Day at Lake Canonchet

Saturday, April 21 is Opening Day for the seventh season of habitat restoration along the two coastal pond across the street from the Narragansett Town Beach, Lake Canonchet and Little Neck Pond. We will work from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. We will be clearing debris from winter storm damage, checking for emergent knotweed and other invasive plants (the invasives always show up early) and maintaining the progress we have made along the two ponds. Volunteers old and new are always welcome. As always, Friends of Canonchet Farm provides tools, snacks, drinks, instruction, lunch (weather permitting) and the best gloves you will ever use. Meet in the Anne Hoxsie Lane parking lot directly across Boston Neck Road (Scenic 1A) from the Narragansett Town Beach South Pavilion.


Notice posted April 18, 2018

Notice of Annual Meeting

Notice is hereby given that the Annual Meeting of Members of Friends of Canonchet Farm will be held on Sunday, May 20, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. at the South County Museum, 115 Strathmore Street, Narragansett, R.I., for the following purposes:

 ♦ Presentations by the President, Treasurer and guest speaker

 ♦ Election of Trustees for terms ending at the Annual Meeting in 2018 and new Trustees

 ♦ Transaction of such other business as may properly come before the meeting or any adjournment thereof.

PRESENTATION BY: A Landscape Architect from Beta Group will present information on the landscape plan being prepared for the eastern shores of Lake Canonchet and Little Neck Pond.

Kathie Kelleher, President

Guided Walks Posted April 9, 2018

Tim Cranston to Lead Walk April 22

Join us on Sunday afternoon, April 22, from 1:00 to 3:00 when local historian Tim Cranston searches for changes made to the land by former users and owners of Canonchet Farm.

Tim has a wealth of knowledge of the history of South County which he has been sharing for many years through articles and presentations.

Please meet Tim in the Ann Hoxsie Lane parking lot directly across from the Narragansett Town Beach South Pavilion on Boston Neck Road (Route 1A.)  This guided walk, cosponsored by Friends of Canonchet Farm and the Narragansett Historical Society, is free and open to the public.

For more information, call 401 783-3951.

Three Stories, Posted February 26, 2018

Click these links for a bit of Canonchet Farm history:

Flying and Riding
at Canonchet

How Canonchet
Got its Name

Canonchet Farm
in Colonial Times

Trail Work Continues, Posted February 26, 2018

Volunteers Making a Difference along the Trails

"I am always surprised when I walk the trail after a session to see the work we've accomplished," wrote Friends of Canonchet Farm President Kathie Kelleher in a recent e-mail to volunteers who have been removing invasive vegetation from the Canonchet Farm Trail on many Saturdays since late October. "Somehow, the day of the work I don't notice it as much. Thanks to all you volunteers over this winter who have given me so many 'Wow!' moments. I recently walked with a large group from OLLI and they were quite impressed with the trail. I was proud of you all."

Work on the trails continues through March and new volunteers are always welcome. The sessions run from 9:00 to noon on Saturday mornings; gloves, tools, snacks and training provided. For information e-mail Kathie (events@canonchet.org) or call 401-783-3951.

On Pettaquamscutt 2018 Winter Speaker Series, Posted February 26, 2018

March 25: Narrow River and its Watershed:
Twenty Five Years in Review

Linda Green, Director
URI Watershed Watch
Sunday afternoon, March 25, 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, March 25 for the third and final presentation in the 2018 On Pettaquamscutt Winter Speaker Series, when Linda Green, URI Watershed Watch Director, will present "Narrow River and its Watershed: 25 Years" at the Maury Loontjens Memorial Library, 35 Kingstown Road, Narragansett.

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.

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

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