2007-07-26 / Editorial

Your help needed to Save the Farms

Whenever people are asked what they like most about Jamestown, the answer usually includes a comment about "rural character."

Of course, there are varied aspects to the ambience of Jamestown. There is the inspiring nature of the place. This is an island and we are surrounded by water. We've got rocky shorelines and several beaches. A big creek and salt marsh command the middle of the island.

We have an eclectic downtown, lighthouses, and a windmill. The island is the site of several parks for people to enjoy. And land has been set aside as a home for wildlife.

But it is the open space - the farmland - that really makes Conanicut Island unique. Where else can you see cows calmly grazing with a majestic landmark bridge in the background?

Only some of the farmland has been preserved, though. Several of the scenic Jamestown farms could be sold for development. Instead of looking at the vistas of cows and pastures, we could someday see houses and yet more houses.

That point is aptly illustrated by the signs in the shape of beef cows that currently line North Main Road. The signs are intended to draw attention to the Conanicut Island Land Trust's efforts to preserve the land of three Jamestown farms.

The Land Trust needs to raise $4 million for its portion of an $11 million deal that will keep the land as pasture and open space forever. The remainder of the money will come from a town bond issue as well as state and federal funds.

There's also a big deadline. The Land Trust needs to raise the money by Sept. 30.

If you'd like to learn more about the preservation effort, read the two advertisements from the Land Trust in this issue of the Press. Then imagine what those views along North Main Road would look like with houses there instead of cows.

And don't forget to see what the cows' signs say along the way.

- Jeff McDonough

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