Blackstone Parks Conservancy

Necessary Losses, Hopeful Beginnings

To the dismay of many people, three large red maples at the edge of Blackstone Field in Blackstone Park beside the Seekonk River were cut down in February. Efforts were made to avoid the loss, but in order to make way for shifting River Road twelve feet to the west (a project nearly ten years in preparation) tree roots would have to be cut and City Forester Doug Still determined that they could not survive.

In place of the maples, several young trees selected by the Blackstone Parks Conservancy (BPC) and Still, and purchased by the Narragansett Boat Club (NBC), will be planted in May in a grove farther back from the road.

The grove’s location was chosen by the organizations working together to provide shade for youngsters—and all visitors—to Blackstone Field. BPC Vice-President Carrie Drake, who has worked with the NBC to figure out a solution to the impending dislocation of the road, sees a positive side to this loss. “Unlike the old trees,” she says, “these will be located in a place chosen for their protection, and they will receive better care from the beginning.”

Partners on River Road

The new grove of trees represents not only compensation for the felled maples but also expanded cooperation between the two neighboring partners, which have long shared space at the river’s edge. Rowers annually stage several rowing regattas in Blackstone Field, and BPC volunteers enjoy the use of NBC facilities for volunteers and occasional events.

In addition to their proximity to the river, a love of the outdoors, and the mutual advantage of sharing “facilities,” the two non-profit organizations also share a commitment to nurturing young people. The NBC introduces young and old to rowing–not an easy sport–and the BPC education committee stages numerous programs that introduce children to aspects of nature and local history. Adding a few feet of space in front of the boathouse will allow room for rowing shells needed by increasing numbers of non-member rowers from area schools.

Education Programs in the Field and Woods

BPC educators spend considerable time imagining and organizing events for young children and adults. “The Not So Spooky Trail Walk” each Halloween, the River Ride in September, and the February Duck Walk are among their popular programs.

Coming: 2018 Education programs and Part Two on York Pond.


Jane Peterson