The wooded acres in the central section of the park fronting on Parkside Avenue are very heavily used. No wonder! It is a charming part of the park. Numerous trails wind among the tall trees through varied terrain, giving occasional glimpses of the Seekonk River from the 30 to 40 foot bluffs. Birds flit through the tree tops.
But overuse has taken a heavy toll. The trails are as hard as concrete in places, so the water from a voluminous rainfall cannot soak into the hard ground and instead runs down the slopes toward the bluffs, carrying precious topsoil with it. The lost rich dark topsoil can easily be seen on the access road at the bottom of the steps to York Pond. Sand and rocks lie on the sidewalk along River Drive.
To address the erosion, the Conservancy is working with the Providence Parks Department and the Appalachian Mountain Club. Volunteers are building split rail fences to guide foot traffic away from the fragile bluffs and to close trails that need to recover. The remaining ones are being delineated and narrowed with logs supplied by the Forestry Department. Chopped fallen leaves from the Boulevard will be added to bare soil in the Autumn. Trails will be marked.
Grants from the Rhode Island Trails Advisory Committee of the Department of Environmental Management fund the purchase of wood and hardware as needed.