Why You Should Visit
Surrounded by protected forest, Tillinghast Pond Management Area offers serenity and natural beauty that rank among the best in southern New England.
Tillinghast Pond’s waters are clear and shallow, perfect for a family paddle. Cast a line, explore the coves or just float around and let the solitude recharge your batteries.
Please note: Tillinghast Pond is open to hunting, under rules written by the RI Department of Environmental Management. Hikers are required to wear fluorescent orange during the hunting season. Please consult the RIDEM Hunting Abstract for current hunting regulations.
Why TNC Selected This Site
Tillinghast Pond sits at the heart of the largest coastal forest between Boston and Washington, DC. Had it been lost to development, it would have undermined decades of land protection along the Rhode Island–Connecticut border. Permanently conserved in 2006, it provides outstanding recreational opportunities and safeguards the headwaters of the pristine Wood River.
This victory would not have been possible without the people of West Greenwich, RI. Faced with the prospect of more than 300 new homes, this small community approved an $8 million bond to help acquire the land. The vote in favor of the bond was 632 to 12.
The town’s overwhelming support attracted major support from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, The Champlin Foundation and individual donors. Local residents made a tremendous and lasting contribution to land conservation and to the protection of the area’s rural character. We are so grateful for their partnership.
What TNC Has Done/Is Doing
Tillinghast Pond’s 13-mile trail system makes it one of the most popular hiking areas in Rhode Island. Designed in partnership with the National Park Service and constructed with the help of dozens of volunteers, the trails offer a sense of remoteness that is hard to find in southern New England.
In 2019, we acquired 10 acres of hayfield in the middle of the preserve, including the iconic red dairy barn. The barn is an important summer roost for bats, and the surrounding field is leased to a local farmer. Since the preserve was established in 2006, TNC has conserved an additional 400 acres of nearby forest, working closely with RIDEM, the West Greenwich Land Trust and other partners.
Under a 10-year Forest Stewardship Plan, TNC hires Rhode Island loggers to create pockets of shrub and grassland habitat by removing areas of forest that have succumbed to invasive pests, like gypsy moth caterpillars. These projects will increase habitat diversity on the preserve and are already benefitting hawks, bluebirds and woodcocks.
The Nature Conservancy established a volunteer group called the Friends of the Preserves. We hope that volunteers assist with ongoing stewardship projects including trail maintenance, litter cleanups and removal of invasive plants. If you would like to become a Friend of Tillinghast Pond, please get in touch with Jeanne Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-331-7110, x4516.