2017-02-16 / News

Outdoor adventures set during school vacation


A flock of common eider wade in the water off Beavertail during a birding expedition in January. A workshop on the sea ducks is scheduled next week at the state park. 
PHOTO BY CHRIS POWELL A flock of common eider wade in the water off Beavertail during a birding expedition in January. A workshop on the sea ducks is scheduled next week at the state park. PHOTO BY CHRIS POWELL For parents who don’t want their children glued to the TV during February vacation, the state has scheduled a slate of outdoor explorations that will focus on Rhode Island’s wildlife and habitats.

According to Janet Coit, state environmental director, the free ventures next week will teach students about the fascinating natural world around them.

Because the schedule commences immediately following Presidents Day, an appropriate start will be a guided hike Tuesday at the George Washington Management Area in Glocester. For families that want to stay closer to home that day, there will be an open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lafayette Trout Hatchery, which is just 10 minutes from the Jamestown Bridge. The facility at 424 Hatchery Road in North Kingstown is one of three locations administered by the Department of Environmental Management that raises trout to stock in fishing waters throughout Rhode Island. Along with a presentation on the life stages of trout, there will be fly-casting, fly-tying and fish-feeding demonstrations.

A guided tour of Arcadia, the state’s largest recreation area for hiking, fishing, hunting, boating, mountain biking and horseback riding, begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday from the parking lot at Browning Mill Pond. The 14,000-acre park comprises Hopkinton, Richmond and Exeter. The following day, families are invited to walk the Chafee Nature Preserve in North Kingstown. The 230-acre beachfront sanctuary at Rome Point is a popular spot to view harbor seals hauled onto the rocks just offshore. Warm clothing, sturdy shoes, binoculars and cameras are recommended. The guided walk departs at 1 p.m. from the preserve’s parking lot on Boston Neck Road between Hamilton Allenton Road and Route 138.

The schedule culminates closest to home — there will be a birding workshop on sea ducks from 9-11 a.m. at Beavertail State Park. Binoculars and field guides are suggested. Registration is recommended by calling Mary Grande at 226-5627. The rendezvous point is the parking lot on the west just before the lighthouse.

According to Gail Mastrati, spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Management, Rhode Island’s network of historic parks, beaches and bikeways, which includes more than 400 miles of hiking trails, generates $2.4 billion annually and supports about 24,000 jobs.

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