Local Trail Spotlight: Big River Management Area
Big River Management Area – West Greenwich, RI
By Guest Blogger Emily O’Donnell
Zach and I decided to check out Big River Management Area last Sunday. Big River Management Area is located in West Greenwich, RI and covers a total of 8,319 acres of diverse terrain. There are 6,155 acres of evergreens and deciduous trees, 1,288 acres of wetlands, 233 acres of agricultural lands and 407 acres of other areas like gravel, residential, etc. In the 1960’s, the land was condemned by the state and the houses there evicted so that a large drinking water reservoir could be constructed. However, it was never built and is now a conservation area filled with old roads and foot paths created mostly by dirt bikes and mountain bikers.
With our bags packed with some lunch, water, and our new hammocks; we stared down the dirt road trail. There were a couple of dirt bikers cruising up and down the trail not seeming to care about anyone else in the area. We veered left through a field and wandered around trying to find the start of the trail. After some bush whacking, we finally found the trailhead and ventured into the woods. There were no blazes. It was just us, the map (http://www.greatswamppress.com/big-river/), and our compass. We wandered the woods following a trail carved out from years of mountain bikes. As we walked we listened to the creaking of the pines in the wind. We stopped for water and saw a small group of white tailed deer.
This place was definitely full of character! We decided to set up our hammocks on one of the “peaks” in the area, a whopping 334 ft! We swayed under the trees as the sky began to clear and show a hint of blue. The birds enjoyed the sun as well and chirped away. After our short rest, we packed up and headed to another “peak” in the area. Another nerve rattling 345 ft! Along the way, we spotted a few more deer prancing through the woods. On all of our hikes throughout RI, we have never seen any deer, and now it was twice in one hike! We went eastward for about a mile and connected with the main dirt road we had veered off of at the start.
Big River Management Area is definitely a unique place. If you love dirt biking or mountain biking, I highly recommend checking it out. I wasn’t fully impressed with the area as far as cleanliness and trail marking, but overall it was a neat place with plenty more to be discovered.