Our History

Our History
In 1972,  a committed group of residents joined together to form  the first community land trust in Rhode Island.   We have worked with landowners and partners ever since to ensure that the landscapes that define Little Compton are preserved in perpetuity.  

For these forty-five years, Sakonnet Preservation has been building a foundation of conservation experience and expertise. With an all-volunteer workforce and past reliance on donated properties and conservation easements, we have preserved land parcels that enhance the rural character of our town. In the process, we have successfully built our grassroots effort into a nationally respected land trust, accredited since 2011 by the Land Trust Alliance. The accreditation seal is only awarded to land conservation organizations that meet rigorous national standards for excellence, uphold public trust, and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. 

We protect more than 440 acres through outright ownership or with the acquisition of conservation easements and development restrictions. We work collaboratively with property owners, public agencies, and other private conservation organizations to preserve property. Sakonnet Preservation also educates its members and the public about conservation and preservation issues with newsletters, public programming, and curriculum activities in the local school. We are fully supported by donations from members, grants, and public and private funders.
 
Little Compton is a small rural seaside community with a total area of 28.9 sq. miles.  The 2000 census figures show a population of 3,593, a per capita income of $32,513 and a total of 2,103 housing units. During the summer, the town’s population doubles. Agricultural areas are spread throughout the town, as well as large areas of wetlands and forested areas. The town is completely dependent on private wells for drinking water.
 
In its first newsletter, President Philip B. Simonds stated the Board’s objectives: …the preservation of natural resources of the Town of Little Compton, including water resources, marshland, swamps, woodland and open spaces, and the plant and animal life which have always been so important a part of Little Compton’s charm, as well as the preservation of open land areas of historical significance.’ 
 
We achieved accreditation in 2011 with the national Land Trust Alliance, and our accreditation was renewed in 2016. The accreditation seal is awarded to land conservation organizations that meet rigorous national standards for excellence, uphold public trust, and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. 
 
Our Values
We believe that our town is defined by its natural beauty, its character rooted in a centuries-old connection to working lands and cherished vistas. If this natural beauty is lost, it can never be regained. Little Compton’s natural resources of forest, wetland, fresh water, coast, meadow and open land are vulnerable. Protecting them could be our greatest gift to future generations, a legacy that will outlast us all. With our landscapes and resources under increasing pressure of development, the Board of Sakonnet Preservation feels that the time is right for our organization to leverage the skills and expertise developed over five decades to play a more prominent role in conserving the lands of Little Compton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since 1972