Class I Ashaway River, RI/CT

Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Wild and Scenic River (Confluence with Green Fall River to Confluence with the Pawcatuck River in Hopkinton, Rhode Island)

The Pawcatuck River’s tributaries run through rural, wooded landscapes amongst a series of towns that grew up on the banks of the watercourses, historically as mill villages. Vestiges of the textile and fabric dyeing industry can still be found along the banks. Prior to the arrival of European colonists, there were about 7,000 Native Americans living in southern Rhode Island, attracted by the region’s abundant wildlife and fish.

The watershed is the least-developed in Rhode Island, with much of the land undeveloped or in agriculture and the majority still forested. The estuary of the Pawcatuck River winds its way through the highly-developed communities of Pawcatuck Connecticut, and Westerly Rhode Island. Development pressure is high in this region as is typical along the Atlantic coastline.

Outstandingly remarkable values include unique geology and hydrology due to the Charlestown Moraine; outstanding habitat associated with the many wetlands and small headwater streams of the rivers; exemplary Native American and early American historical artifacts; and excellent recreational opportunities. These rivers are especially important because of their proximity to major population centers in southern New England, and provide large expanses of open space and recreation. Watershed

Section Details

Trip Length Partial Day, 3.0 Miles
Fishing Yes
Camping No
Manager National Park Service, Region 1
Wild & Scenic Yes
Water Trail No
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