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Aquidneck Land Trust Conserves Unique Properties in Middletown and Newport

Middletown, R.I.  –  The Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) has announced conservation of two properties: a 12.5 acre property known as the Arnow property in Middletown and the 14.75 acre Wild Moor property off of Hammersmith Road in Newport.

The Arnow property is located off of Howland Ave adjacent to Newport Memorial Park and features woodlands, open fields, well-kept stone walls, and a scenic barn. The conservation easement on the property was purchased at a discounted bargain sale from Dr. Lewis Arnow. Said Dr. Arnow, “I’m glad my mission and the land trust’s aligned. I’ve been on this beautiful property since the late 1960’s – It means a lot to me to know my property is now preserved forever.”  The site is private but hosts games for a cricket league on one of its fields and includes valuable woodland habitat. In addition to its wildlife and scenic values, the property features prime soils and is located partly within the Maidford River drinking supply watershed. “The Arnow property touches on almost every conservation value we try to protect: habitat, scenic, water resource, historic, prime farmland,” noted Executive Director of the land trust, Chuck Allott.

The Arnow property will be protected as open space in perpetuity via a conservation easement. The property adds to an impressive swath of protected open space lands on the eastern side of Aquidneck Island known as the Sakonnet Greenway.

The Wild Moor property in Newport, formerly the Berry Hill estate, has a storied history and significant conservation values with over 400 plant species and 35 animal species recorded on the property over the years. The conservation easement was generously donated to the land trust through a private LLC. The estate includes magnificent beech trees of varying ages and an amazing diversity of native species. Habitats range from cleared scenic rock outcroppings, to upland deciduous woodland, to wet meadow wetlands.   Notably, the conservation agreement only protects certain areas of the property. The full 22-acre estate will be divided into four lots, of which two have existing houses. New houses or structures may be built on the two remaining undeveloped lots in specified building zones. The lots will be owned privately with the land trust holding the conservation easement on sections of each lot.

“We would have loved to have been able to protect the entire property, which has tremendous historic, scenic, and wildlife conservation values. However, through this donation, we ensure parts of the property, including significant tracts of wildlife habitat, will be protected forever,” said Executive Director Chuck Allott.

In less than one month, ALT has closed on three properties, a great kick-off to 2016.  In addition to the Arnow and Wild Moor properties in Middletown, a future waterfront park on 1.4 acres of land in northern Portsmouth was acquired in collaboration with the Town of Portsmouth. Planning and preparations for each of the transactions has been ongoing for several years. “It’s especially fulfilling to have a conservation project in each of the Island’s cities and towns to start the year. We are thankful to work with 3 different landowners interested in protecting their land for future generations. No time for celebration though – We’re back to fundraising for upcoming projects that are in the pipeline,” said Allott.

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