2009-08-06 / Editorial

An island jewel preserved forever

• EDITORIAL •

Ask Jamestowners what they like best about Conanicut Island and you’ll likely get a variety of answers. But the island’s “rural” setting is usually near the top of everyone’s list.

The Conanicut Island Land Trust just made a major contribution toward preserving the island’s treasured rural character with a huge open space acquisition. This week, the group announced that it has purchased the Godena Farm, a 23-acre pastoral spread on the island’s north end. In addition to the meadows and spectacular distant views, the property includes a house, a barn and a garage.

Most people recognize the land trust as the folks who host Hey Day every other year and serve up the bratwurst at the annual island shoreline clean-up effort each spring. But the land trust is credited with saving some 70 land parcels from relentless progress by purchasing the development rights associated with those properties.

The Godena Farm is the first property that is actually owned by the Conanicut Island Land Trust.

This is a huge undertaking, says Quentin Anthony, who is the president of the land trust. Anthony is a native Jamestowner and has close ties to the land, having explored just about every inch of the island as a youngster. He believes the Godena Farm represents a unique opportunity to make the island’s natural resources available to the public.

There is not much open space left to preserve, so the farm is extremely important, Anthony says. Most of the properties for which the land trust owns the development rights are not open to the public. But because the land trust owns the Godena Farm, public access is possible.

Anthony says the next task for the land trust will be to determine what to do with the farm. Walking trails are a possibility. Anthony said there has been talk of creating an interpretative nature center. Some of the land could be farmed. The land trust is looking for input from islanders.

The Conanicut Island Land Trust plans to unveil the Godena Farm to all Jamestowners at this year’s Hey Day celebration in September.

— Jeff McDonough

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