Block Island Conservancy, oldest of the Island’s environmental protection groups, was founded in 1972 by Island residents alarmed by a developer’s plan to build several houses in and around Rodman’s Hollow, a unique parcel of sunken land on the south side of the Island.
It took four years to complete the first acquisition of 37 acres at Rodman’s Hollow. This was the seed of the project that ultimately protected hundreds of contiguous acres of open space stretching from Rodman’s Hollow to the shore at Black Rock and westward across Lewis-Dickens Farm to Southwest Point.
Meanwhile, a major recreational opportunity presented itself on the other end of the Island. Mansion Beach, the jewel at the northern end of our beautiful crescent of bathing shoreline, was once a privately owned and public access was threatened. Block Island Conservancy assisted the Town of New Shoreham in the purchase of Mansion Beach, by financing a funding shortfall, helping to secure the land for the public domain.
Major leadership and financial participants in these early projects included The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, RI Department of Environmental Management, Town of New Shoreham, generous landowners, and a multitude of individual donors both large and small.