101-acre purchase protects space in Glocester

101-acre purchase protects space in Glocester

The shaded area on this map depicts the newly acquired protected land by the DEM, known as the Britton property, that connects several areas of conserved land, including the Durfee Hill Management Area.

GLOCESTER – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management last week announced the acquisition and permanent protection of 101 acres of open space off Reynolds Road abutting the Durfee Hill Management Area, saying the space will be used for hiking, wildlife viewing, fishing, and hunting.

There is a stream, Cady Brook, and several old fields with blueberry and huckleberry bushes, along with white pine and hickory trees on the property that can be accessed using one of the trails. A hunting area, the habitat is home to white-tailed deer, fox, coyote, ruffed grouse, mink, wild turkey and woodcock, according to the RIDEM.

The Britton property is located between two portions of state conservation land at the Durfee Hill Management Area and George Washington Management Area. Together, the area consists of 5,200 acres of state-owned and protected lands.

Michelle Sheehan, RIDEM programming services officer, said the property fits nicely with existing conservation land that surrounds the property.

“Our goal is to expand our existing management area, and that’s for two reasons: One is just to increase the number of acreage that is protected, and then also, it sort of protects what we already have,” she said. “This is a significant state asset, these main management areas.”

Adding more land area protects the space that was already there, she said, and helps wildlife to thrive.

“The bigger the buffer they have on the edges, the better they do in terms of encroachment and in terms of wildlife habitat,” she said. “We have creatures that do well when they’re far inland and don’t have to deal with any sort of disturbance.”

The Britton property was a piece in the puzzle that connects swaths of conserved land in Glocester.

“We are very pleased this has been conserved,” she said. “It sort of connects everything together.”

In addition to the state-owned properties, the Glocester Land Trust conserves 1,200 acres of property nearby, including the nearby Sprague Farm. The RIDEM also manages 225 acres of the agency’s Northwest Hunting Cooperative, land that is open to the public for hunting while privately owned.

“The contiguous of acres here is really significant, it’s nice to see this much land all in one place that has been conserved,” she said.

RIDEM purchased the property for $373,500 from Donald Britton, Jo-Ann DeRosa, and Barbara Allaire with funding from a $355,000 Statewide Land Acquisition grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and $18,500 in state open space bonds.

Entry to the space is gained through a pull-off at 349 Reynolds Road in Chepachet, the site of the old Britton residence, which was used as a summer home for many years. Remnants of the house’s foundation are still visible to the left-hand side of the entrance.

“We have enjoyed the Glocester property for many decades. We are pleased to return the land to its natural state for all to appreciate and believe that the memory of preceding generations in our family is preserved with this direction,” said the Britton family in a statement.