The Conservancy’s purpose is to protect Block Island’s natural heritage, rural character, and access to its resources. This is accomplished primarily by preserving land as open space through outright fee acquisitions or via conservation easements. In 1972, when Captain John R. Lewis and other Island residents founded Block Island Conservancy, local land trusts were a little known idea. The efforts of this determined group generated such strong grassroots support that The Nature Conservancy, an international organization with similar goals, committed its talent and expertise to Block Island projects. Although similar in name, there is no formal affiliation between the two organizations. They have worked together for years as partners in land protection, each complementing the strength of the other, to secure common goals.
More than 40% of the Island is preserved as open space in perpetuity; a legacy that will be passed to future generations. This achievement provides recreational areas, preserves scenic views, protects crucial habitats for rare plants and animals, and protects the natural recharging of the Island’s sole source aquifer, its only water supply. But there is still much to be done. All open land is critical to maintaining the heritage and character that is Block Island.