Google Maps knows where Cocumcussoc State Park is. So do area hunters and people who happen to live nearby. But the “state park” designation is a bit misleading – this is nothing like Goddard State Park or even Rome Point. It is a wild place with few if any signs indicating entrances.
Recently, the town got a grant from the state Dept. of Environmental Management to build walking paths in the park.
"We’re still scoping out the trail network and working with the folks at DEM," said the town's Planning Director Jon Reiner.
That will come as a relief to those who had read that bike paths were going to be installed.
"That’s not the plan whatever, short, medium or long term," said Reiner.
But even walking paths may be more than some people want for the park.
"I currently share this untouched forested and swampy area with many others that enjoy the property because it is 'untouched' by development. I do mean many others. It is largely used by hunters and people like myself. I use it to walk or hike.And it is unique because it is not ruined by development beyond stone walls from hundreds of years ago. Others that use it are bird watchers, dog walkers, Geo Cachers, and explorers. It also has been used by URI students for wildlife studies," said Wayne D’Amico in a letter he sent to members of the Town Council. D'Amico lives next to the park.
He added, "I don’t believe that most people realize the current use of this park and how development will change it for those that currently use it. Creating paths is development. Ryan Park and Rome Point are good examples of trail-developed parks. I enjoy those parks, but for different reasons. Why should we develop this very natural space and make it like those areas? We already have that type of park in abundance. … A few paths will make this small space un-hunt-able. Why must we develop every public space?"
Reiner acknowledges the uniqueness of Cocumcussoc but he said the paths would provide more passive recreation opportunities.
"It's meant to be a hiking trail just as down by Carr Pond and Camp Nokewa," he said.