Fall 2020

View Canonchet
Farm Video

Plans for the
Linear Park


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


Read 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.

Posted March 16, 2020

On Pettaquamscutt March 29 Presentation Canceled

"The March 29 On Pettaquamscutt Winter Speaker Series presentation at the Maury Loontjens Memorial Library in Narragansett has been canceled out of concern for public health and to blunt the spread of the COVID 19 virus. Our plan is to postpone the topic, Camp Varnum and Rhode Island Coastal Defenses, to our 2021 season. In the meantime, stay healthy and thank you for your support of our Winter Speaker Series."
David and Rosemary Smith, 401 783-5344, info@onpettaquamscutt.org

Posted February 28, 2020

Canonchet Farm Events
This Spring

Every Saturday is Trail Improvement Saturday

Now through April 26

Become a member of the volunteer team at Canonchet by signing up via email (events@canonchet.org).

We work any Saturday morning when the temperature is above 20 and it is not raining. Please join us at 9 a.m. at our trailer which is located on the grounds of South County Museum.


On Pettaquamscutt, March 29
Camp Varnum and Rhode Island Coastal Defenses

It was disguised to look like a traditional New England fishing village, but Master Sergeant James Loffler, recently retired from the R.I. National Guard, will explain how Camp Varnum near the mouth of Narrow River played an important role in the defense of the Rhode Island coast during World War II. Sgt. Loffler's presentation is sponsored by the South County Museum.

Guided Walk with Nancy Karraker, April 5

Join amphibian expert and URI professor Nancy Karraker as we explore the wonders of frogs and other amphibians on Sunday afternoon, April 5. This program is geared toward children and the child in each adult.

The size of the group is limited to 40 and advanced registration by email is required. Click this link to sign up: Registration for April 5 walk with Nancy Karraker. Please include your phone number. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please meet Nancy at 1:00 p.m. at the South County Museum, 115 Strathmore Street, Narragansett.

Annual Meeting, May 10

Join us on Sunday, May 10, 1 p.m. for the Friends of Canonchet Farm Annual Meeting (open to the public) at South County Museum, 115 Strathmore Street, Narragansett.

Following a short meeting, Jim Crothers, Director, South County Museum, will make a presentation on the History of Canonchet Farm. Jim can always be counted on to teach and entertain.

Scott Turner Returns, May 17

Take a walk with the ever-popular Scott Turner, former nature writer for The Providence Journal, on Sunday, May 17 as he shares his wealth of knowledge about the natural world and causes us to chuckle at his wonderful stories.

Meet Scott at 1:00 p.m. in the Anne Hoxsie Lane parking lot directly across Boston Neck Road from the Narragansett Town Beach South Pavilion (39 Boston Neck Road), Narragansett.

Archaeologist Jay Waller, June 7

Don't miss a walk with Jay Waller on Sunday afternoon, June 7. Jay is the lead archaeologist for the Native American site at Salt Pond in Narragansett (RI 110). He will discuss how Native Americans would have used the natural resources found at Canonchet Farm as well as how an archaeologist surveys an area to determine the possibility of cultural remains.

Meet Jay at 1:00 p.m. at the South County Museum, 115 Strathmore Street, Narragansett.

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
Send e-mail to FriendsCanonchet@aol.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2007 - 2020 Friends of Canonchet Farm
Last modified: October 18, 2020