Town of East Greenwich, DEM Partner to Preserve the Nearly 40 Acre Pine-Lister Farm at the Headwaters of the Hunt River for Wildlife Habitat and Outdoor Recreation

Published on Monday, March 25, 2024

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Town of East Greenwich are pleased to announce the permanent conservation of 39.86-acres known as the Pine-Lister Farm property on Tillinghast Road in the Frenchtown neighborhood of East Greenwich, east of Cook’s Corner. The property, which contains more than 1,500 feet of frontage on the Hunt River, is located within a significant block of contiguous forest land and anchors the southern end of a National Register Historic District. Set aside as perpetual conservation land, the property is now protected for traditional forest uses, passive public recreation, water quality and wildlife habitat. The purchase price for the property was $1,900,000. A $400,000 grant committed in 2022 through DEM’s competitive Local Open Space Grant Program was integral in financing the project, with funding for the program leveraged through the Rhode Island voter-approved 2022 and 2018 Green Bonds. 

“This project is an excellent example of the important land conservation work being done at the local level throughout Rhode Island,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “DEM is pleased to support projects like these, which increase Rhode Islanders’ access to the outdoors, protect water quality, and help make our state more resilient.”

“Rarely are we able to acquire lands in Town that exemplify the East Greenwich landscape so well,” said East Greenwich Town Manager, Andy Nota. “From large white pine stands to mixed hardwood forests, to prime farm soils and river frontage, the property is extraordinary. Dating back to our Town’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan, we’ve envisioned a conservation outcome for this land. We can’t thank the DEM enough for their support as well as the taxpayers of East Greenwich and State of Rhode Island for enabling community driven, local land conservation.”

Under Town management, the Pine-Lister Farm will become a publicly accessible hiking area with parking and a trailhead kiosk off of Tillinghast Road. Trailhead signage will emphasize wildlife habitat protection and the property will be managed in accordance with a DEM approved plan that balances public use with natural heritage preservation. East Greenwich has experienced the third highest population growth of any city or town in Rhode Island over the past 10 years and local demand for access to open space for outdoor exploration is high. 

Municipalities, land trusts, and nonprofit land conservation organizations pursuing land protection projects are eligible to apply to the Local Open Space Grant Program. Applications are reviewed and ranked by the Governor’s Natural Heritage Preservation Advisory Committee, with final awards made by the State Natural Heritage Preservation Commission. Nearly 1,700 acres have been protected statewide through DEM’s Local Open Space Grant Program over the past 5 years.

DEM’s Green Space programs – which include Outdoor Recreation, Local Open Space, and Recreational Trail grants – fund land conservation, recreational land acquisition and development, and recreational trail development and improvements statewide. Nearly every town in the state has received funding through the Local Open Space Grant Program over the course of the 200+ grants administered since 1990—all thanks to voter-approved bond measures which have historically provided consistent and reliable state funding for community driven land protection and recreation initiatives. Rhode Island’s historic parks, bikeways and green spaces provide opportunity for public enjoyment – in addition to improving the health of the environment, strengthening the state’s climate resilience, and supporting the economy. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation in Rhode Island generates $1.7 billion in consumer spending and supports over 18,000 local jobs. 

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