Smithfield Land Trust
What is the Smithfield Land Trust?
In 1999, The Rhode Island Legislature and the Smithfield Town Council established this municipal land trust and provided the authority to acquire, hold and manage:
– Open space lands
– Agricultural lands
– Groundwater recharge areas
– Freshwater marshes and watersheds
– Wildlife habitats
– Land providing access to or views of lakes and ponds
– Land providing significant cultural or historical value
– Land for future passive or active public recreational use
All acquired interests, or titles, to real property are held in the name of the Smithfield Land Trust, preserving the land in perpetuity.
The purpose of the trust shall be:
To preserve and protect open space; wetlands; water bodies; ground and surface water resources; farmland; historical or cultural places of interest; scenic views; unusual, exceptional, or exemplary natural habitats;
To provide opportunities for research and education on natural resources on land trust held properties; and
To secure for the Town the goals and objectives set forth within the Comprehensive Plan.
- To protect significant open spaces through the acquisition of conservation and agricultural easements, acquiring title, and servicing as a recipient of donations of real property.
- To work in partnership with other land protection organizations to preserve open space in Smithfield.
- To provide responsible stewardship of land trust holdings.
- To educate and inform landowners and the general public about the benefits of land use preservation and land conservation.
- To encourage volunteer participation and support of trust activities and projects.
- To establish and educational program to foster and understanding of and appreciation of the mission of the Smithfield Land Trust.
Benefits of Open Space Preservation
Open space is undeveloped land which is usually in the form of forest, farmland, meadow, or any other non-urban state.
Preserving and protecting open space and farmland achieves a number of benefits to a community, such as:
- Protects scenic qualities that contribute to a community’s character
- Enhances surrounding attractiveness and land values
- Provides areas for recreation ad leisure activities
- Is less of a burden on taxpayers than residential developed land
- Preserves wildlife habitat and ecological systems
- Maintains areas for ground water recharge
- Preserves a way of life and the historical heritage of a community
- Contributes to a high quality of life.
Volunteers are needed in the following areas:
- Establishing trails, rest areas, and overlooks so that the residents of Smithfield may enjoy the beauty of our recently acquired greenways.
- Assisting with the ongoing maintenance of trails including periodic clearing, grading, and sign posting.
- Inventorying plant and wildlife throughout the greenways in order to preserve their natural beauty and protect rare species.
- Developing and implementing educational programs four our children so that they can learn about our surrounding natural environment, its relevance to our quality of life, and the importance of preserving it.
- Assisting fundraising efforts for the acquisition and maintenance of open space.
- Participating in a stewardship program to mange and maintain our preserved lands.