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The Queen’s River preserve is a wonderful place for an easy stroll along forested pathways to one of Rhode Island’s, and southern New England’s, most pristine streams.
The Queen's River, a cold, largely forested stream with headwaters in West Greenwich, forms the western boundary of the Queen's River Preserve. The river flows southwestward through the tiny villages of Liberty and Usquepaug before finally tumbling into the Pawcatuck River in South Kingstown.
Bowhunting for deer is permitted at the Preserve. During the bowhunting season (September 15-January 31), all visitors are required to wear at least 200 square inches of florescent orange. A hat or vest is sufficient. Dogs must be leashed.
Exeter, Southern RI
Map of the Queen's River Preserve
The Queen's River is considered one of the most pristine rivers in the state. Its watershed encompasses 23,000 acres of forest, field, wetland, and river. Because of the relatively unimpacted nature of the river, it contains a number of rare elements that depend upon clean, cold, running water.
The Conservancy’s Queen's River Preserve forms an important stepping stone between protected lands at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s Eppley and Fisherville Brook Wildlife Sanctuaries. These conservation lands are critical to the maintenance of the high water quality in the river.
The Queen's River Preserve is bisected by a wide, flat dirt road, beginning at the preserve’s easterly boundary at School Land Woods Road and running west across the river. The road runs past a dense shrub bog, visible on the left at the beginning of the walk, through white pine stands, and on down to the river. As you stand on the bridge which spans the Queen's River, look for brilliant red cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) blooming along the stream banks and jewelwing damselflies dancing over the water. Just before making its descent to the river, the road passes a small area of pitch pine barren on the right. Across from the pine barren you can take a left turn along the dirt road which takes you southward into the property along white pines and mountain laurel. Along this trail you will pass a hayfield, then a turn toward the right at the dedication sign will take you along Howard’s Trail which winds downward toward the Queen’s River.
We hope you enjoy visiting our preserves in any season. We ask that you please observe the following guidelines:
Thank you for your help.
Preserve Visitation Guidelines
What to See: Plants
The preserve’s uplands are composed of white pine stands, oak forest and hayfield. An unusual pine barren community occurs on the preserve as well. This habitat, characterized by pitch pine on open, largely unvegetated sand, occurs in only a handful of places in Rhode Island. Significant areas of wetland are also present, including red maple swamp and a dense shrub bog of leatherleaf.
What to See: Animals
Mussels, dragonflies, stoneflies and native brook trout abound in this cold, clear river, which flows through the forests and fields of Exeter. Ebony jewelwing damselflies (Calopteryx maculata), with vivid emerald green bodies and velvety black wings, flutter about the stream banks. Studies also indicate a great diversity of other aquatic invertebrates, including freshwater mussels, mayflies, and stoneflies.