About the Coonamessett Greenway Heritage Trail
More than 500 acres of permanently protected land along both sides of the Coonamessett River form a north-south "greenway" of open space. The Town's efforts to protect the river began in 1964 and starting in the mid 1980's, The 300 Committee began its work to preserve land parcels along the river corridor. In 2020, a massive effort to restore the river to a working natural system was completed, along with the creation of a walking path along the length of the river from Coonamessett Pond to the Lower Coonamessett River Conservation Lands. This 3-mile trail, the Coonamessett Greenway Heritage Trail (CGHT), has several shorter loop options with a nearly 1-mile wheelchair accessible section and two boardwalks that cross the river. The Greenway hosts a range of natural systems including wetlands, forests and meadows that are home to a diversity of plants and animals. The cold river water supports five species of migratory fish (river herring, American eel and brook trout among them) as well as other animals like otters and ospreys.
(As of Spring 2023, planning and permitting are underway for the Upper Coonamessett River Restoration Project, with construction projected to begin in early 2024. Additional accessible paths are planned for this project.)
Along the CGHT are eleven "waystations" with educational displays that provided a narrative of natural and human history throughout the river corridor.
Southern access to the CGHT is off John Parker Road (#58), at the Lower Coonamessett River Conservation Lands (see Red Section map, top right). The Gateway to the Greenway (100 John Parker Road) was opened in Fall 2021 and features the universally accessible Scenic River Overlook and Lower Loop Trail (also included in the Red Section map). Access and parking further north along the Greenway are at Andrews Farm/Andrews Grove and Bartolomei Conservation Area (Orange Section map), River Bend (Green Section map), Dupee Parcel and Upper Bogs (Blue Section map) and Matt Souza Conservation Area (Purple Section map).