ALT Timeline — 1990 to present

1990

  • Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) founded as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

1993

  • ALT’s first conservation easement is placed, on the historic Slocum estate in Newport.

1996

  • ALT works with Sweet Berry Farm owners Jan and Michelle Eckhart to conserve the now well-known Middletown farm.

1998

  • The Perry Farm is conserved in Middletown, later to become Newport Vineyards.
  • $8.15 million is granted to ALT over a 5-year period by three visionary foundations (The Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust, the Prince Charitable Trusts, and van Beuren Charitable Foundation), allowing ALT to hire professional staff and conserve more land.

2000

  • 500 conserved-acre mark reached!
  • The Merritt Neighborhood Fund, Stewardship Endowment Fund and Legal Defense Fund are established.

2001

  • ALT opens its first public nature trail at the Oakland Forest and Meadow Preserve, shortly after saving the 30 acres from development.

2002

  • First segment of ALT’s Sakonnet Greenway Trail is built and opened to the public, featuring a 2.2 mile trail around the Newport National Golf Course.

2003

  • 1,000 conserved-acre mark reached!

2004

  • ALT and partners save Kempenaar Valley in Middletown, 45+ acres of strategic conservation land within the Bailey Brook watershed. The Town has since added walking trails for public use.
  • ALT introduces the concept of different levels of conserved lands and actively begins to work on securing perpetual Conservation Easements on important and weakly protected public conservation lands.

2005

  • 75 acres at Escobar’s Highland Farm is conserved in Portsmouth.

2006

  • ALT completes the largest Conservation Easement deal ever on Aquidneck Island with a conservation easement on over 400 acres of Newport’s public water reservoir areas in Portsmouth and Middletown, the first such Conservation Easement of its kind in Rhode Island.

2008

  • ALT completes its $20 million Campaign for Living Land.
  • 2,000 conserved-acre mark reached!
  • 1.5-mile segment of ALT’s Sakonnet Greenway Trail is opened to the public, linking two previously completed segments and resulting in nearly five continuous miles of trail, creating the largest free nature trail on Aquidneck Island.
  • 124-acre Swan Farm property on Wapping Road is conserved, continuing the conservation partnership between ALT and Aquidneck Farms.
  • 300 runners and walkers participate in ALT’s inaugural 5K Race for Open Space on the Sakonnet Greenway Trail.

2009

  • ALT launches its Newport Conservation Initiative focused on conserving strategic parks and large landscapes/estates in the city.
  • Of the over 40 land trusts in Rhode Island, ALT is the first to be awarded national accredited status by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.

2011

  • ALT completes a year-long mapping and prioritization study of all the remaining and threatened open space parcels within Aquidneck Island’s seven primary watersheds.

2012

  • ALT buries overhead utility poles along the 4-mile scenic stretch of Ocean Drive, one of the country’s premier scenic and historic roadways.
  • ALT completed the Aquidneck Island’s Conserved Lands Mapping Project, which updated ALT’s 2004 study, showing that 20.6% of the Island is conserved through ALT and other conservers.
  • ALT completes the final 5+/- miles phase of its Sakonnet Greenway Trail, making the trail 10 miles in total length.

2013

  • ALT receives the Chafee Conservation Leadership Award by the Environmental Council of Rhode Island (“ECRI”) for the final segment of the Sakonnet Greenway Trail.
  • ALT announces the Environmental Leadership Award, a $1,000 merit award to a high school senior who has demonstrated leadership in conservation or environmentalism.

2014

  • ALT receives a testamentary gift from the late Marcella Clark McCormack of Newport, RI, establishing the “The Marcella Clark McCormack Stewardship Endowment Fund.”

2015

  • 2,500 conserved-acre mark reached!
  • ALT conserves 72 acres of prime conservation land at St. Mary’s Church, completing a 3+ year deal that protects prime farmland soils, woodland habitat, and land within the St. Mary’s Pond drinking watershed.

2016

  • ALT completes a new Strategic Direction and 5-Year Plan to guide its efforts on land and community conservation.

2017

  • ALT’s ‘Conserve Aquidneck Now’ approach to planning and land acquisition continues with completion of three major conservation plans on parks, watersheds, and farmland, respectively: The Newport Open Space Master Plan (developed as part of the Newport Open Space Partnership), the Maidford River and Paradise Brook Watershed Plan, and the Aquidneck Island Farmland Conservation Plan.
  • The Scenic Aquidneck partnership, of which ALT is a member, completes the undergrounding of utility lines along Second Beach, restoring the historic viewscape and building a more resilient coast.
  • ALT purchases Spruce Acres Farm, a $2.3 million effort fundraised over a one-year period. The 23-acre property has high conservation values and will have publicly-accessible trails, farmland for lease, and the future headquarters of ALT once it is renovated.
  • As of 2017, ALT has worked with partners to conserve 2,580 acres of open space. This includes land to help improve our water quality, land protected for current and future farming, publicly-accessible trails and parks for families to enjoy, and land that provides habitat to our local wildlife species.
  • ALT receives a five-acre property off of Paradise Avenue in Middletown, given for the specific purpose of conservation. The parcel is within the drinking supply watershed for Gardiner and Paradise Ponds and includes 360 feet of the Maidford River.