By Paul Lonardo
Anthony Paiva has been working for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management for the past twenty-one years. He became the Parks & Recreation Regional Manager in 2012. Paiva is responsible for the administrative operations and maintenance in Region 1, an area that includes not only Lincoln Woods, but also other land areas and sites such as Pulaski State Park, George Washington Campground, and Blackstone River Bikeway and Visitor’s Center.
“My territory covers everything in northern Rhode Island,” Paiva says, “with Lincoln Woods being one of my primary locations because of the impact it has on the region.”
According to Paiva, Lincoln Woods gets 1.3 million visitors annually. That is a massive amount of people for a public recreation area that covers 627 acres. It is open year round, keeping Paiva and his team plenty busy.
“When I came in as Regional Manager, one of the main tasks at hand was upgrading some of the facilities that had become outdated,” Paiva says. “It was a big project, but it couldn’t have come out any better. It’s fantastic.”
The gem of the entire undertaking was surely the construction of the new Lincoln Woods beach pavilion, completed a year ago. There are three beautiful new buildings connected by a central plaza boasting modernized facilities and visitor amenities that include full concessions, restrooms and shower facilities, office space and a nature center for educational programming. The architectural design was intended both to honor the history and aesthetic of the park as well as reduce the impact on the natural environment through the use of efficient technology, recycled materials, and other innovative design strategies.
In recent years, there have been plenty of other upgrades to the outlining areas of the park.
“We’ve worked extensively on all the picnic sites, the ball fields we have here, and our road conditions,” Paiva says. “We’ve renovated our famous covered bridge. We’ve also upgraded our boat ramps and parking lots, installing a new lot to better accommodate the many people who come to Lincoln Woods’ Sunset Hiking Trail on a daily basis.”
Lincoln Woods is a natural gem. It is a prime destination for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities of all kinds. There are extensive picnicking facilities, fishing areas, ballfields, trails for horseback riding and mountain bikers. Staying on the water, there are a variety of boating activities. Canoe and kayak rentals are available, as well as kayaking lessons. In the winter there is ice skating, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and year round walking, jogging and biking. The park is also known for bouldering, a type of rock climbing that does not utilize ropes or harnesses.
“’Bouldering’ has really become a popular recreation activity here in Lincoln Woods,” Paiva says. “These massive boulders were left behind during glacial activity many, many years ago, and people really enjoy exploring and climbing them. One thing we do ask is that climbers stop by the office to sign a liability waiver or see a park ranger before going ‘bouldering.’”
The boulders were there long before Lincoln Woods was established in 1909. Named in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, the park traces its origins to the state’s purchase of Quinsnicket Pond in 1908. It had its official founding on the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, February 12, 1909. Until the 1940s, the park was popularly known as Quinsnicket, a faux Indian name, thought to mean ‘The Domain of Many Rocks.’ Quinsnicket was actually a name invented by white settlers, and the original Indian name for the area was Caucaunjaivatchuck.
The park was a favorite haunt of Providence’s famed horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, who spent summer days walking in the park and writing long letters recording vivid accounts of the park’s landscape and ambiance
There are still a number of things that Paiva would like to see done to the park during his tenure. Foremost on the list might be the construction of an additional boat ramp or a major refurbishing of the existing structure. “We could relocate it so that we could have a full season recreational use of the boat ramp,” Paiva says. “The second thing I would like to do is improve our infrastructure, which is our roads and drainage around the park.”
Everything comes down to budgetary considerations, and how much money that is available to fund these improvements, but as the regional manager, overseeing Lincoln Woods, Paiva is going to keep pushing for further improvements and upgrades to the park.
For kayak, canoe, and paddle board rentals, the boathouse at Lincoln Woods is open May to September, Saturday–Sunday, 9am–6pm. Sunset Stables is open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm, all year long for horseback riding and equestrian lessons.
For information visit http://www.riparks.com/Locations/LocationLincolnWoods.html or contact Anthony Paiva, Regional Manager, (401) 723-7892, Anthony.firstname.lastname@example.org.