**Be there at 10:00, Marta Daniels will give us a short presentation**
Noted CT writer/historian Marta Daniels will kick off this event by guiding us to the location of Venture Smith's 26-acre homestead, now a part of the Barn Island WMA. It will be a privileged opportunity to accompany Marta, whose groundbreaking research on this topic was filmed in 2009 by C-SPAN.
Barn Island Wildlife Management Area is actually a barn-less peninsula. With the help of CT DE&EP and Marta Daniels, we now have some good clues as to how it got its name.
We'll wander around this pleasant shoreline area through forest, marsh and graveyard. Keep an eye out for waterfowl. Breathe in the dank tidal salt marsh atmosphere. Imagine how life was like here in near-Revolutionary times, when a freed slave made the area his home. Peer into the distance across Little Narragansett Bay from a sandy elevation of 0ft.
There's a nice boat launch at this venue. You are certainly free to bring your kayaks and drop em in the water after the hike. Those with mountain/hybrid bikes can also bring em for a post-hike pedal within the WMA.
HIKE DISTANCE: 4.5 miles (approx)
HIKE ELAPSED TIME: 2.5-3hr (approx)
ELEVATION GAIN (BY GPS): negligible; this is the shoreline, so expect (mostly) level terrain
HIKE PLAN: Counterclockwise looping hike starting and ending at cul-de-sac at end of gravel road off of Stewart Road/Brucker Pentway. There are no trail blazes within the WMA. Please refer to the GPS-generated hiking track for depiction of the actual route we will follow (cul-de-sac is located at "white dot" on hiking track, upper right-hand corner). Starting from a point in the parking area to be determined by Marta, proceed to Venture Smith homestead, details TBD, rejoin original hiking track near SW corner of Venture Smith property, continue NW on dirt road to forest trail (look for "Sam's Trail" inscribed on rock) on R, hike approx 1mi through forest (some left turns involved) to dirt road, turn R and proceed across marsh to Palmer Neck Rd., turn L and hike to forest entrance trail, proceed into forest and follow trail to dirt road, turn R and proceed to multiple posted signs describing Barn Island WMA, contemplate, backtrack along dirt road across marsh, hike to intersection, turn R to follow dirt road through more marsh, then into woods, hike to stone gate, contemplate graveyard, continue along dirt road to paved road (Brucker Pentway), follow to Steward Rd, turn left onto gravel road to point of origin.
TRAIL MAPS: Barn Island hiking loop, recorded by AllTrails (this is also a good mtn bike loop); Barn Island WMA trail map
HIKE START TIME: Feet will hit the trail promptly at 10:30am, so please aim to be at the parking lot no later than 10:00am.
HIKE START LOGISTICS: We will congregate in the cul-de-sac parking area at the end of a gravel driveway off of Stewart Road. Look for me holding a SOUTHEAST CT ADVENTURES sign. We will then follow Marta to the starting point.
Learn more about Barn Island Wildlife Management Area, its ornithological significance. and its connection to Venture Smith, an American slave who bought more than his freedom.
Those who wish to go should have:
* A daypack or lumbar pack - To carry trail food, water, and any extra items
* At least 1 quart (1 liter) drinking water
* Hiking boots advised
* Bug spray advised (to repel ticks and other disease-carrying insects; see this publication for discussion of tick and insect repellents)
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: (courtesy of CT DEP) From the West: Take I-95 North to exit 91. Right off exit ramp. From the East: I-95 exit 91. Left off exit ramp. Then right onto Route 234 / Pequot Trail. Short distance (~.25 miles) left onto North Main Street (follow sign to Stonington Borough) to intersection with Route 1 / Stonington-Westerly Road. Turn left onto Route 1 / Stonington-Westerly Road. Right onto Greenhaven Road. Proceed 1.9mi to Stewart Road, turn right, pass Vars Ave and Davis Ave. About 200ft past Davis Ave. on Stewart Rd., look for SECT Adventures + Venture's Walk signs, turn right onto narrow gravel road and proceed to the large round cul-de-sac parking area at end. (If you continue straight on Stewart Road/Brucker Pentway to the gated end, you've gone the wrong way.)
PARKING: There is parking for about 20-25 vehicles at the cul-de-sac. Because of this, and the wide width of most of the trails, etc. I've opened the RSVP number to 25. Please carpool if you can.
LATITUDE/LONGITUDE OF CUL-DE-SAC PARKING AREA AT END OF GRAVEL ROAD OFF STEWART ROAD/BRUCKER PENTWAY: [masked], [masked]
Problems finding the parking lot? Call Erin[masked]
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