Blackstone Parks Conservancy


Despite the longer days and the return of some birds to Blackstone Park, a leading “hot spot” in Rhode Island for bird watching even during winter according to Providence Parks Department expert April Alix, it isn’t yet spring in Providence. The volunteers of the Blackstone Parks Conservancy (BPC) begin to feel restless, but the parks are icy or muddy and it is necessary to wait. March is the month of waiting.

What are we waiting for besides spring? News about grant applications, for one thing. The Education Committee hopes for a small grant to help organize the Earth Day Celebration in late April. Meanwhile, the Park Committee is waiting to hear the results of an application for substantial assistance with another steep slope in the center section that is subject to heavy foot traffic.

If the grant for work in the Blackstone Park Conservation District comes through, the BPC will be able to continue its progress in stabilizing highly erodible slopes, improving trails, and restoring habitat. If not, we will try again next year.

We wait, too, for decisions about next moves on the Boulevard path. Here, landscape architect Colgate Searles and the Parks Department are selecting the best section for restoration, drawing on lessons learned from the small, difficult area restored in 2019. Proper drainage is key here, too, as the Boulevard also tilts, however subtly, downhill toward the Seekonk River.

Happily for the thousands of people who walk and run on the Boulevard path, the City Council has appropriated a sizable sum to help with restoration of another section, and the Parks Department has offered to contribute important preparatory work. Still, a matching grant is needed to for the sake of efficiency to enable tackling a sizeable section, and the BPC will be submitting an application soon.

Finally, we wait for completion of the first overall pruning on the Boulevard in many years, which is expected to finish in April.

Jane Peterson