Normally, when most people hear “South County,” and “trolling,” in the same sentence, their minds automatically go to fishing; but that definition could soon be shattered with a recent pitch to the Charlestown Town Council from the South County Tourism Council. Karen Jedson of the Tourism Council proposed situating a pair of gigantic trolls by Danish artist, Thomas Dambo, in Ninigret Park as the starting point of a “Troll Trail,” that could grow into a statewide attraction.
Dambo is world-renowned for using scrap wood and recycled material to give impressive personalities to his massive creations, that now number almost 100, and are in places including Brazil, Mexico, China, South Korea, Germany, Lebanon, Puerto Rico, and in several U.S. states. Dambo plans to be in Rhode Island this summer to scout locations.
Charlestown Town Council President, Deb Carney summed it up this way, “There is plenty to do in Charlestown outside the summer months and the Troll Trail is a unique and exciting project that has the potential to bring even more visitors to Charlestown year-round. It will be a great addition that will bring people to Charlestown to see all we have to offer, and in the long run, will benefit our local businesses.”
Joe Viele, President of the Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, points to how South County Tourism sees the big picture by saying, “If the Troll Trail has anywhere near the success that the Atlantis Rising Sand Sculpture Competition had last year, then I think there will be a big increase in tourism in our area.” He added, “Anything that helps to enhance and extend the shoulder season is good for our members in hospitality and beyond.”
The response on South County, Rhode Island’s Facebook page has been overwhelmingly positive (only a couple of trolls posting negative comments). Many commenters have mentioned seeing trolls in Maine or Breckenridge, CO, or even in Puerto Rico or Brazil; and several others have mentioned wanting their communities to be next to host trolls.
According to Jedson, they are hoping to involve students from both the Master Gardener’s program at URI, and some of the Chariho Career and Tech students when it comes time to work with the artist. If all goes as planned, the first troll sighting is set for 2024 in Ninigret Park, and a little birdie tells me, the members of the Disc Golf committee already want a troll for the Green Monster hole.