SKLT to install informational kiosks on hiking trails

The Narragansett Times
By: Kendra Gravelle
Full story here

SOUTH KINGSTOWN—In an effort to enhance the experience of hikers who flock to the trails around town, the South Kingstown Land Trust (SKLT) will install several informational kiosks this summer, with the help of Rhode Island Foundation grant money received earlier this month.

SKLT currently protects over 2,600 acres of open space throughout South Kingstown, and has more than 12 miles of hiking trails in the town. The informational kiosks will be installed at the foot of the Biscuit City trail, the DuVal hiking trail, the Thewlis Woods trail, the Yawgoo trail and the Weeden Farm trail.

SKLT trails traverse varying topography, which includes open fields, woodlands, streams and ponds.

“[The kiosks will include information on] the land’s history, the geology, the flora, the fauna,” explained Julia Landstreet, executive director of SKLT. “Different properties and trails have different distinct features—this is a chance to really call that out to enhance the user experience.”

Rules of the trails and hours of admittance will also be featured, as well as information about SKLT, itself.

“There’s been a real push nationwide with people going out and enjoying parks,” Landstreet added. “So, it’s just sharing information with people—don’t cut things, don’t leave trash behind.”

While some signage does currently exist on the trails, it needs some updating and weatherproofing.

Wooden kiosks were recently built on the Biscuit City trail, the Weeden Farm trail and the Yawgoo trail, although the information has yet to be installed.

SKLT was one of nine organizations to receive funding through the Rhode Island Foundation’s Archive, Document, Display and Disseminate (ADDD) fund. SKLT received $1,750 to help bring their kiosks to realization. The funds will go toward research and the manufacturing of the weatherproof signage.

The ADDD fund was created in 1986 by philanthropist Herman Rose as a way of strengthening and expanding civic, cultural and literacy-based organizations. Over the years the fund has distributed nearly $400,000 in grants.

Landstreet said she hopes the signs will be fully installed by midsummer.

“You tend to have a different relationship with something that you know versus something that you know nothing about,” Landstreet said of offering the information to hikers.

“Part of our mission is to help people appreciate the landscape and the natural features,” she continued. “In order to build that relationship we work to give them the information and education they need.”