Spring 2024

Invasive Plants in
Canonchet Farm

View Canonchet
Farm Video

Plans for the
Linear Park


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 October 21, 2022; Updated October 23, 2022

Canonchet Farm Trails: A Treasure in the Heart of Narragansett

Master Gardeners Tom Hoagland and Alan Woodmansee
Saturday Morning, October 29 at 11:00

Don’t miss this chance to discover our woodland trails right across Boston Neck Road from the Town Beach! Tom Hoagland and Alan Woodmansee, Master Gardeners and respectively President and Trail Manager of Friends of Canonchet Farm, will engage your love of nature and history with this trail walk through the woods. Meet us at the parking lot at the South County Museum. This event is free and open to the public.

For more details and to register for this event, click this Eventbrite link:


Finding Your Niche in Nature,
A Walk with David Gregg

Saturday Afternoon, November 5 at 1:00

Why and how do we study animals and plants? A walk on the Canonchet Trails can teach you a lot about Rhode Island’s natural history. David Gregg, Executive Director, Natural History Survey, will begin with a brief talk at the South County Museum and then lead us on a trail walk. He will explore diverse ways of learning about the world around us as we tackle issues like invasive and rare species, ecosystem services and climate change.

Friends of Canonchet Farm is delighted to host this engaging and knowledgeable advocate.

For more details and to register for this free event, click on this Eventbrite link:


Beth Laliberte says, "Canonchet Geology Rocks!"

Saturday, November 12, Starting at 1:00

You bet it rocks, especially when seen through the eyes of Dr. Beth Laliberte, Teaching Professor in the Geosciences Department at Unibersity of Rhode Island. Beth will give a brief presentation and then lead an engaging tour of the Canonchet Farm Geology Trail. Along the way, you’ll learn about sheep rocks, puddingstones, and other natural and man-made rock formations.

Meet inside the South County Museum’s Metz Building, 115 Strathmore Street in Narragansett. This guided walk is sponsored by Friends of Canonchet Farm and is free and open to the public.

For more details and to register for this event, click on this Eventbrite link:



Posted October 8, 2022

Audubon at Canonchet

Lauren Parmelee to Lead Birding Hike
Sunday Afternoon, October 16, 1:00 to 2:00

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island comes to Canonchet Farm!  Meet us inside the South County Museum’s Metz Building for a brief introductory talk, followed by a birding hike on the Canonchet Farm trails.

Lauren Parmelee, Audubon’s Senior Director of Education, will share her knowledge of local birds and tips for learning how to identify them. Bring binoculars if you have them or borrow a pair from Audubon.

This guided walk is sponsored by Friends of Canonchet Farm and is free and open to the public.

For more details and to register for this event, click the Register button.

Posted September 14, 2022; Updated September 27, 2022

Canonchet Farm:  400 Years
in Just Over a Mile

A Walk and Talk with Tim Cranston
Sunday morning, October 9 from 10:00 to Noon

Join acclaimed local historian Tim Cranston for the launch of our Fall 2022 trail walks. Tim will guide us through Canonchet Farm and explain changes that were made to the land by former users and owners. Tim has a wealth of knowledge of southern Rhode Island history, which he has shared through many articles and presentations.

Meet Tim in the Anne Hoxsie Lane parking lot, directly across Boston Neck Road (Scenic 1-A) from the Narragansett Town Beach South Pavilion. This guided walk is sponsored by Friends of Canonchet Farm and is free and open to the public.

We will be walking on trails, so appropriate footwear is suggested. Click the Register button to sign up.

Posted August 9, 2022

Remembering Jim Kowalski

Jim Kowalski, a true friend of Canonchet Farm, who loved to walk the trails, volunteered often and joyfully to remove invasive vegetation from the coastal ponds and the trails, served the Friends of Canonchet Farm as a Trustee and as the Secretary, passed away on Monday, August 1.

Read Jim's obituary.


Jim, equipped with binoculars on the right, shared his extensive knowledge
and love of birdsong with naturalist Scott Turner on a walk in May 2015.

Jim, shown here clearing bittersweet vines on the Canonchet Farm Trail with
John Miller (left) in November 2016, was a regular volunteer in the habitat
restoration effort at Canonchet Farm until a rare
autoimmune disease drove him to the sidelines.

Posted June 23, 2022

The Power of Five

It took just two and a half hours for five volunteers – Melissa Crawford, Tom Hoagland, Marcia Izzi, Amanda Moss and David Smith – to clear half of the knotweed from the stand between Lake Canonchet and Narragansett Avenue. Think what ten could do.

June 23, 2022; 9:00 a.m.

June 23, 2022; 11:45 a.m.

Learn how you can help remove knotweed and other invasive vegetation from the Lake Canonchet shoreline – email Tom Hoagland.

Posted May 25, 2022

Jay Waller Leads a Walk into the Past
at the South County Museum

Sunday, May 29, 1:00 p.m.

Before Europeans settled “Kings Towne,” the Narragansett Indian people knew this area as Namcook. Rhode Island archaeologist Jay Waller will lead a trail walk and discuss how an archaeologist “reads” the modern landscape to interpret its past use. He will point out cultural, environmental, and topographical features and discuss how local archaeological evidence suggests the Narragansetts occupied and used such places over thousands of years. We’ll start at the trail head at Anne Hoxsie Lane.  Join us for this free event, sponsored by Friends of Canonchet Farm.  For more details and to register, click on this button:

This is our last walk for the spring. We will not be scheduling Frosty Drew again until autumn because Nature has not been cooperative for stargazing this Spring.


Posted April 7, 2022; Updated May 2, 2022, May 14, 2022

Stargazing in May at Canonchet
With Frosty Drew

Saturday, May 21, 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Meet us on the lawn outside the South County Museum for a telescope viewing of the night sky. This free event is sponsored by Friends of Canonchet Farm and is great for all ages. We will see binary stars, open star clusters, globular star clusters, galaxies, and much more! Here is a great chance to stargaze with the Frosty Drew Observatory staff. For more details and to register for this free event, click the Register button below, or search "Frosty Drew" at Eventbrite.com. See you there!

Posted March 23, 2022

Vernal Pool and Amphibians
at Canonchet Farm

A Walk with Nancy Karraker
Saturday, April 2, 1:00 p.m.

Catch the activity in these small wetlands before they dry up!

We are delighted to begin our Spring Trail Walks with a return visit by Nancy Karraker, Associate Professor at URI’s Department of Natural Resources Science. She will lead us on a tour of Canonchet’s vernal pools, host to spring-breeding for amphibians, reptiles, and aquatic insects. Canonchet Farm has a large number of these “puddles” that play a crucial role for amphibians, such as wood frogs and spring peepers.

For more details and to register for this free evenc, click the Register button. You don't need to print a ticket. Just register and come! 

Posted January 17, 2022

Our Continuing Stewardship of the Land

With Tom Hoagland and Alan Woodmansee
Sunday, January 23, 1:00 p.m.

Join us for The Friends of Canonchet Farm: Our Continuing Stewardship of the Land is the final 15th Anniversary Month trail. Meet up with Tom Hoagland, President of the Friends of Canonchet Farm, and Alan Woodmansee, Chair of the Trails Committee, at the Narragansett Town Beach North Parking Lot directly across Boston Neck Road (Scenic 1A) from Anne Hoxsie Lane.

From this vantage point, we’ll learn about the proposed Linear Park around Lake Canonchet. We’ll cross Boston Neck Road and proceed along the Nature Trail to the South County Museum.Tom and Alan will highlight the evidence of habitat restoration and invasives removal. We’ll see examples of the extensive restoration by Friends of Canonchet volunteers that have cleared historic stone walls, introduced native plantings, opened up views of the Narrow River, and removed thousands of invasive plants along the Nature Trail.We will return to our starting point via Anne Hoxsie Lane with views of the magnificent trees in the upper meadow.

Participants will receive a copy of our 15-page illustrated guide to the most common invasive plants in South County. Don’t miss this fitting wrap-up to our January Anniversary programs! Click the green button to register for this free event:

Posted January 7, 2022

A Talk and Walk on the Canonchet Farm Geology Trail Remembering Jon Boothroyd

Sunday, January 16, 1:00 p.m. with Beth Laliberte

Join our celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Friends of Canonchet Farm!  Dr. Beth Laliberte, Teaching Professor in the Geosciences Department at URI, will give a brief presentation about the geologic history of Rhode Island and then lead a walk along the Canonchet Farm Geology Trail.  The trail was initially developed by Dr. Jon Boothroyd (1938-2015) an acclaimed field geologist specializing in coastal geology, braided river processes and glacial environments.

Posted December 22, 2021.

The 2007 Fight to Save Canonchet,
A Walk with Bill Bivona

Sunday afternoon, January 2 starting at 1:00 

Join Bill Bivona for the fascinating background story of the fight he and others waged to preserve the natural beauty of Canonchet Farm. Bill was awarded "Man of the Year" by the Narragansett Times for his dedicated efforts to protect this land.

He will start with the background story of how Canonchet avoided becoming, among other things, a polo field -- the equivalent of three football fields!  He will then re-create the same walk he led 15 years ago, guiding the Narragansett Town Council and others on the trails he fought to save.

July 23, 2011 - Bill Bivona of the Narragansett Tree Society cuts the ribbon (re)opening the Canonchet Farm Trail, after work by Troop 1 Narragansett Boy Scouts and the Tree Society restored an existing trail that had become overgrown.

(Photo by Ashley DiMeo as seen on Patch)

This free event meets at the Narragansett Community Center on Mumford Road. Yes, there will be coffee and donuts! So click the Register button and join us on January 2.

Posted December 28, 2021

Woodlands in the Heart of Narragansett
A Walk with Tom Fortier

Sunday, January 9, 2022, 1:00 p.m.

Join naturalist Tom Fortier for a trail walk starting near the orchard at the South County Museum in Narragansett. Tom was instrumental in the fight to keep Canonchet Farm a natural preserve. In 2015, he and Kathie Kelleher were recipients of the Independent Spirit Award for their efforts to organize volunteers and clear the Canonchet trails we enjoy today.

As he leads us on the trails, Tom will point out the features that show how this area, once farmed, has struggled to return to natural woods.

This free event begins at the South County Museum parking lot. And, yes, there will be coffee and donuts! Click the Register button today to sign up for the walk and join us the 9th. See you there.

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

Read our Fall Newsletter

. See the Friends of Canonchet Farm Home Page in 2020-2021

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.

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: June 22, 2024