State Land Spotlight: Nicholas Farm WMA
By Tanner Steeves, Wildlife Biologist, RI DEM
Rhode Island DEM’s Management Areas provide hunting and fishing opportunities to the public, and protect wildlife habitat and important natural communities. In 1969 a 146-acre parcel in Coventry, Rhode Island containing Carbuncle Pond was purchased to establish Nicholas Farm Wildlife Management Area. With subsequent acquisitions in the 1980s and 1990s, including the historic Cy Place Farm, the area now totals 1,550 acres. These purchases were accomplished in part with funding from the Federal Aid to Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program. Nicholas Farm is adjacent to Pachaug State Forest in Sterling, CT and contributes to a large network of conservation land throughout the borderlands held by RIDEM and other conservation organizations.
Nicholas Farm is dominated by coniferous forest and oak forest, along with a variety of other habitats including pitch pine woodland, and grasslands. The 31-acre Carbuncle Pond is located to the north and provides ample fishing opportunity during all seasons, featuring a boat ramp and fixed dock. Along the western border, patches of young forest have been created through forest management to provide habitat for wildlife that rely on these dense thickets. Several coldwater streams flow through the area, including the Mossup River, Roaring Brook, and Bucks Horn Brook. A recent project initiated in 2017 was undertaken to restore a large tract of pitch pine-scrub oak barrens through tree thinning and prescribed fire at the Nicholas Unit. The Trestle Trail bike path, operated by RIDEM Parks and Recreation, bisects Nicholas Farm connecting Lewis Farm Road to Route 14A in Sterling.
Nicholas Farm is accessible from Plainfield Pike (Route 14) and from Nicholas Road where gated access roads and unimproved trails wind throughout the property. Nicholas Farm is open to all forms of regulated hunting and trapping, and is located within Deer Management Zone 2. White-tailed deer, turkey, and fisher are considered relatively abundant here. Two areas of open fields, the Place Farm Unit and the Nicholas Unit, are stocked with ring-necked pheasant throughout the small game season. Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration funds made available through the Pittman-Robertson Act and Dingell-Johnson Act, along with matching funds from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and permits, are used to maintain and enhance this Management Area. With the recent boundary expansion here and other recent acquisitions at Tillinghast Pond and Durfee Hill Management Area, RIDEM continues to increase its portfolio of open space to help support wildlife conservation and provide hunting opportunities to the public. Get outside and enjoy Nicholas Farm Management Area!