Conservation organizations partnering to protect pond

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 7:15pm
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The island’s three most prominent land conservation agencies are teaming up to purchase a parcel of land that the groups hope will continue to be used for some public use.

The 4.5 acre parcel is located near the corner of Cooneymus and Center Roads and is currently privately owned. In a press release issued by the Block Island Conservancy, the parcel of land is identified as one “of great community, recreational, and conservation value… and includes a beautiful open pond, known to many as Sunny Pond or Henry’s Pond, that is a popular place for the community to gather to fish and ice skate. Many community members have stories and memories of learning to fish and skate on the pond as children.” The BIC is partnering with the The Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy to purchase the parcel.

In addition to the pond, “there is a short trail that leads walkers up a short rise to an overlook with spectacular views of the pond, town, and further north to the ocean and the bluffs at Clayhead. The trail would extend to an abutting lot to the south, the Mazzur property, which is owned by The Nature Conservancy,” the press release stated.

The property is being sold for $500,000, and the BIC stated that “if conservation is able to acquire the property, public access to the pond will be safeguarded.”

Clair Stover, Executive Director of the BIC, said that conserving land that is also kept open to public use is in keeping with the goals of conservation groups on the island.

“Some properties are open to public use, some are not, but there are properties open to that kind of passive-type of recreation: walking, fishing skating, but not using motorized vehicles. We encourage people to use the land and this is another great example of that,” said Stover. “Speaking as the BIC, we try to preserve for the ecological benefit and to allow people to enjoy it. That’s a big priority: people and nature together.”

The Nature Conservancy and the Block Island Conservancy are now in the process of trying to raise the necessary funds to purchase the parcel. Island residents Jim Fiorato and Dorrie Napoleone have also started a matching fund in memory of each of their mothers, who both passed away last year. Anyone making a donation to the Block Island Conservancy in memory of Beverly Cardinale and Dorothy Napoleone will have their donations matched dollar for dollar up to $5,000. Donations can be made by check to Box 84, Block Island, R.I. 02807 or by going online at biconservancy.org and clicking on “get involved.”