Land Use

Off-Road Vehicles Leave Marks on Protected Cranston Farm


Off-road vehicles recently tore a trail through Knight Farm off Burlingame Road in Cranston, R.I. (Douglas Doe)

CRANSTON, R.I. — West Bay Land Trust president Douglas Doe likes to take walks at the Knight Farm property near Burlingame Road.

Knight Farm is composed of walking trails, forested areas, and working farmland and is protected by conservation restrictions as outlined in a 2003 Agricultural Preservation Commission Deed.

Doe has walked its lollipop loop trail countless times, but on Feb. 7 something untoward stopped him in his tracks.

“I was on a walk with my wife and I saw orange blazes and tire tracks,” Doe said.

In the distance, a group of off-road vehicles (ORVs) scattered like water droplets on a hot pan. Doe quickly called the Cranston Police Department in hopes of catching the intruders, but by the time officers showed up the ORVs were gone.

“The vandalism is extensive, with damage to wetlands, underbrush, and trees, which have been spray painted with orange blazes,” Doe wrote in an email that day to city officials and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM). “The level of arrogance, ignorance, and entitlement is astonishing.”

Doe hopes that by raising awareness of these illegal ORV-made trails, the city might consider implementing an ORV ordinance.

“It might deter them if they know about it and its posted,” he said. “You know, you do this and we’ll fine you $1,000 or $500, or take your machine.”

Providence has a stringent ORV ordinance that makes operation of a snowmobile or recreational off-road vehicle unlawful, except on private property of at least 2.5 acres and with explicit permission from the landowner. The ordinance also allows the Providence Police Department to fine violators $500 and impound the offending ORV.

The Cranston Police Department and DEM declined to comment while they undertake their investigations.


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  1. I would put a moratorium on any atv restrictions until the state has a legal place for them to go.

    Apparently the new fad is to crap all over them as the titanic sinks.

  2. Let’s not exacerbate the word Damage. Your picture shows tire tracks across snow, this can hardly be referred to as “extensive damage” . Anyone who has frequented the many State Lands where logging operations exist can observe extensive damage being done on state property , but time will replace the eye sore. ORV’s and ATV’s riding on the same trails and roads only mark the trails and roads they ride on , I would rather follow in their wake than a group of horses leaving trails of dung in there wake .

  3. It’s obvious that some of the commenters have zero understanding of fragile ecosystems. As a hiker who has been all over the state and into CT, I have seen a lot of damage from motorized vehicles which had no business being there. I have seen evidence of dirt bikes literally driven through the crotches of forked beech trees, damaging the bark and roots badly. The picture that accompanies this article clearly shows the vehicle driven right over a stream – and blazing the route for others to follow! What a bunch of idiots. I hope police and the towns and state crack down. This angers me.

  4. Providence has a strict ordanance but on almost any Friday afternoon you see them tearing through the city center racing on sidewalks, doing wheelies on Main Street completely unconcerned with police. These things are a public health and environmental menace.

  5. Regulations don’t deter, enforcement does, and it seems pretty clear that enforcement doesn’t exist. It’s like the ban on texting while driving – any commuter can tell you it’s done with abandon because it’s not enforced.

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