slides: 10 Great Places to Paddle
Thursday, August 16, 2012
“These beautiful maps showcase unexplored special places in our state,” said Meg Kerr, Treasurer of the Blueways Alliance, Watershed Program Manager for the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program and coordinator of the project. “Watershed groups throughout the state came together to describe places to paddle in the rivers, ponds and coastal areas in their watershed. Along with descriptions of where to park and where to paddle, the maps include tidbits of the natural and human history of the waterways.” Here are 10 areas covered by these beautiful new maps. Happy paddling.
South County Salt Ponds
The salt ponds of southern Rhode Island are a regional treasure, which support diverse wildlife as well as public recreation and local property values. (They also contribute substantial revenues to two of Rhode Island's largest industries: tourism and fisheries.)
Tours designed by the Salt Ponds Coalition showcase the beauty of Quonochontaug, Ninigret, Point Judith and Green Hill Ponds. Download maps and guides to these peaceful paddles, here. (Photo: Salt Ponds Coalition)
Seven routes along the famed Blackstone River from its upper reaches in Massachusetts down to its mouth in Rhode Island range from Beginner to Intermediate.
Consider the 4.2-river-mile trip from River Island Park to Manville Dam for paddling past historic mills and wooded banks that includes some minor rapids. Or explore Rhode Island's largest freshwater marsh on the Valley Falls to Pratt Dam loop. Get maps and guides for both paddles, here. (Photo: jdn/flickr)
Upper Wood River
The Wood River flows through some of the most pristine woods in Rhode Island, and indeed some of the most pristine woods between Boston and New York. There is also excellent paddling on the Pawcatuck River but these two challenging paddles from the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association focus on the Wood River.
The 7.5-mile Upper Wood River paddle winds through the deep forest of Arcadia Management Area. Besides the class I whitewater sections, good maneuvering skills are required to navigate around the many twists, turns and obstacles in the river, so this paddle is recommended for “intermediate plus” and experienced paddlers. See the map for an all-flatwater alternative. (Photo: kayak today)
The Pettaquamscutt River, universally known locally as the Narrow River, is actually a tidal estuary often over 300 feet wide and in places over ¼ mile wide. Both of these paddles from the Narrow River Preservation Association stay above the Route 1A bridge near the outlet at Narragansett, where the waters are sheltered.
The shoreline is a mix of residential neighborhoods and salt marshes, many of which are part of the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge. The salt marshes and sheltered tidal waters make this a great place for wildlife, especially birds. For maps and guides, go here. (Photo: Narrow River Preservation Association)
The Pawtuxet River in Warwick and Cranston flows through dense urban and suburban neighborhoods but feels surprisingly wild because the floodplains along the river have kept much of the development back from the river and left the river to flow through a wooded corridor.
The Rhodes to Pawtuxet Cove paddle, one of two routes developed by the Pawtuxet River Authority & Watershed Council, is a 2 mile round trip paddle out the mouth of the river and back, through the area where a dam was removed and the falls restored. You can also stay above the mouth and simply explore the quiet waters of the Pawtuxet between Rhodes and the mouth. For maps and guides, go here. (Photo: NRCS/USDA)
Buckeye Brook originates in Warwick, flowing under Airport Road and into Warwick Pond before continuing southeast to Narragansett Bay. Its watershed includes much of central Warwick. South of Buckeye Brook’s mouth, Warwick’s shoreline is comprised of Victorian era neighborhoods leading to Rocky Point Park.
Both paddles are from the Buckeye Brook Coalition: a 2-hour round-trip paddle from Conimicut Point to Buckeye Brook; and a 3-hour round-trip paddle south from Conimicut Point down the bay, along the Warwick shore, and around Rocky Point. Get guides and maps here. (Photo: Buckeye Brook Coalition)
The Woonasquatucket River starts in North Smithfield and flows 17 miles south to downtown Providence where it joins with the Moshassuck River to form the Providence River, just downhill from the Rhode Island State House. Two paddles described by the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council are at opposite ends of the watershed and offer very different scenery.
For a true urban adventure, take the downtown Providence paddle starting at South Water Street Landing and traveling up the Woonasquatucket River to Eagle Square. See both paddles, here. (Photo: Carol Drowne/WRWC)
Moshassuk Watershed Ponds
While the Moshassuck River is generally too shallow to paddle, there are lakes in the watershed that are excellent for paddling. Both of the routes provided by the Friends of the Moshassuck are just 15 minutes from downtown Providence but are in pretty, wooded landscapes.
Olney Pond, the centerpiece of Lincoln Woods State Park, has 126 acres of coves and islands to explore by canoe or kayak. However, it can be a busy place on a summer weekend. Nearby Barney Pond (left) is quite a bit smaller but it is likely to be quite a bit quieter on weekends. Get maps and guides, here. (Photo: Friends of the Moshassuck)
Ten Mile River
The Ten Mile River flows from Plainville, MA into the Seekonk River in East Providence, running through a wide variety of landscapes, from suburban neighborhoods to dense forests, and includes narrow winding stretches as well as the broad open waters of Turner Reservoir and Central Pond (left).
Trips along the Ten Mile River developed by the Ten Mile River Watershed Council include a 3-mile round-trip from Freedom Green in East Providence up the river to Hunts Mills, and tours of Turner Reservoir and Central Pond in East Providence. For maps and guides, go here. (Photo: TMRWC)
The portion of the Kickemuit River covered by these maps is actually a broad tidal estuary in Warren and Bristol. The shoreline is a mix of farmland, residential neighborhoods, and conservation land, including the Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s Touisset Marsh Wildlife Refuge.
The Warren Loop paddle is the easier of two created by the Kickemuit River Council because it stays inside Bristol Narrows. This paddle is a 4.75 mile loop starting at the north end of the estuary or along the western shore at the Harris Avenue access point. For maps and guides, go here. (Photo: Everybody Get Random)
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