Overview and History

South Kingstown is home to one of the most beautiful and varied landscapes in our region. Land in this town provides quiet forests for wildlife and hiking, rich soils for farming, and abundant water in the form of ponds, lakes, streams, and estuaries. The natural resources of the land and water underlie much of the tourism economy and the environmental vitality South Kingstown residents and visitors enjoy.

South Kingstown contains many freshwater, saltwater and glacial kettle ponds, coastal lagoons, productive organic and specialty farms, beef cattle and dairy operations, popular farmers’ markets and farm stands, substantial forestry resources, miles of coastal and freshwater shoreline, a wealth of biodiversity, and recreational opportunities from fishing and kayaking to hiking and skiing. Many of us who make South Kingstown our home think it is the best place on earth. We know that we can never take its beauty for granted.

In 1983, a group of residents decided to make sure that South Kingstown’s natural resources and open spaces would be protected in perpetuity. Rising population and increased development pressure on farm and vacant land spurred their actions. This small, dedicated group recognized that preserving the land would require concerted effort and action. The group formed a board, established a new land trust, and drafted its first conservation easements. Thirty years later, the organization has protected more than 2,600 acres of land town-wide, exceeds 850members, and has a professional part-time staff of five. The South Kingstown Land Trust has been instrumental in the protection of wildlife habitat, forest land, and marine life spawning grounds, shoreline, and productive farms.

SKLT is governed by an active board of trustees from throughout the town. The work of its small staff team is supplemented by both board members and volunteers. All of the organization’s work is funded by individuals who share our mission to protect and conserve the land of South Kingstown, by government and private foundation grants, and by landowners who contribute toward the monitoring and defense of their protected property.

Our organization has worked collaboratively with private landowners, neighborhood communities, public agencies, and other conservation organizations. Our partners include The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, US Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, RI Water Resources Board, RI Department of Environmental Management, and the Town of South Kingstown. We also have partnerships with community organizations that do work related to our mission. These groups include the RI Land Trust Council, URI Master Gardeners, South County Garden Club of Rhode Island, the Boy Scouts of America, and many more.