• By Lou
  • October 7, 2016
  • Comments Off on BIG RIVER MANAGEMENT AREA: Big River


Copyright 2016 Lou Racine KayakingCTwithLou.com


Big River Management Area:

Big River & Reynolds Pond

Coventry & West Greenwich, RI

Last Paddled: 10/4/16

Reynolds Pond

Reynolds Pond

Paddlers can look to the right of the Zeke’s Bridge Launch and get a very good idea as to what will be seen when paddling to the north. The shoreline is, for the most part, moderately to heavily populated with some smaller areas that are not. It may be worth noting that there is a bridge that will require ducking and hand walking to pass under it.

Paddlers choosing to go left, will see a sharp contrast as they pass under the Harkney Hill Road bridge (Route 118). That choice will require only a slight duck to go under the bridge. As paddlers reach the other side, they will be rewarded with a view of what is perhaps the most pristine wooded shoreline in the area! I was very excited by this view even though I could hear light traffic noise coming from Route 118 behind me. I thought it would be possible to out paddle that slight distraction; however, about 10 minutes out I started to hear the traffic noise from Route 95.

This distant noise only grew louder as I approached the southern end of Reynolds Pond. In fact, when I reached the southern end of Reynolds Pond, I was faced with what looked like three possible directions to consider. I started to take out my phone to check the GPS, then chuckled and put the phone away, realizing that I only had to go left and follow the Route 95 noise to the river passage.

Big River

The I-95 bridge over Big River

The only place where the traffic noise lessened was when I was paddling through one of the three tunnels beneath the highway (Photo left). After passing under Route 95, I found myself paddling with the highway noise of Route 95 behind me and traffic noise from Route 3 ahead of me. During this 2 mile paddle from the launch through Reynolds Pond and this portion of Big River, I had only seen one bird, no wildlife, and not even a turtle so the added issue of noise was frustrating.

Two sources had previously stated that paddlers would only be able to paddle about 1/4 mile after the Route 3 bridge where the river disperses into smaller channels; however, I didn’t paddle far enough to verify if this is the case. I turned back after paddling a couple of turns after  the Route 3 bridge because I was frustrated with the traffic noise and I wanted to check out the cove like areas on Reynolds Pond before sunset.

It’s worth mentioning that the traffic noise on Reynolds Pond is a distant noise and not like on the river itself. Of course, time of day might be a contributing factor to this noise issue; I started my paddle at about 3 pm on a Tuesday in early October. The scenery is beautiful, especially on Reynolds Pond; however there are so many other scenic rivers without this noise issue–for example the Wood River (click here).

Unlike my initial paddle through Reynolds Pond, I found heron, many ducks, and turtles in the cove like areas off the main pond area. For example, I encountered a large flock of ducks in the swampier section of the upper cove at the formation of Bear Brook.  They seemed very surprised to see me. LOL! The swampier section of that cove is easily paddled and if you’re swamp savvy you might find some challenge and fun in finding your way through it to the brook entrance as well as other parts of the swamp where birds and wildlife could be hanging out.

Big River/Reynolds Pond Boat Launches:

Reynolds Pond Boat Launch

Boat Launch at Zeke’s Bridge Fishing Area.

The Northern Access Point is located at Zeke’s Bridge Fishing Area adjacent to the bridge on Harkney Hill Road.  The launch is barred concrete; however, I launched my kayak in a fishing area about 15 feet to the right of the launch because a larger boat was being launched. The parking area is literally a large sand/gravel turning area.

A southern Access Point was previously brought to my attention; however, when I went to the entrance of Big River Road (off Weaver Road in West Greenwich, RI), I found a locked gate and the area was posted. As I paddled the river, I saw what might be an area being used as a rustic launch on the opposite side of Route 3 near the bridge; however, I did not verify this from the road. Sometime when I’m driving by that area, I’ll check it out.

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