Blackstone Park Conservation District is a 45-acre natural woodland. It contains two ponds, York Pond and Hockey Pond, and some open meadow. This park serves as a green buffer between city streets and the Seekonk River, reducing the amount of runoff that enters the river. With its varied topography, it supports a rich diversity of plants and wildlife habitats and is part of a larger regional wildlife corridor that includes the Blackstone River watershed and Narragansett Bay. Migrating birds stop by in Spring and Fall. In 2003, the park was rezoned a Conservation District through the creation of a new zoning category to protect environmentally sensitive open spaces. The Park is enjoyed by walkers, birders, and fishermen/women, as well as by passing bicyclists, runners, and motorists.
In 2001 Rick Enser, a conservation biologist at URI, compiled detailed lists of species spotted in the park (see Birds, Plants, Other Wildlife). The lists have grown thanks to amateur sightings, and we are still adding today. Please let us know if you have spotted more plants or wildlife species that should go on these lists.
Currently the woodland, ponds and open areas of the Conservation District face a considerable challenge from invasive plants. These plants were originally brought to our region for gardens or came in as accidental “hitchhikers”. For various reasons they grow very well here, and crowd out the native plants that local wildlife need for food. They also invade yards and gardens, and are difficult to eradicate. We are working against invasive species in two ways. First, we are removing invasive plants so that the many attractive native plants that already live in the park will be able to multiply and attract more wildlife. Second, we are planting native plants, preferably grown in Rhode Island, to more quickly fill in the bare spots.