Occupying a peninsula between the Sakonnet River and Rhode Island sound, the 242 acre Sachuest Point National Wildlife refuge is a very popular site with over 200,000 visitors each year. The Refuge is located in the Town of Middletown, Newport County, Rhode Island, about 23 miles southeast of Providence and 5 miles east of Newport. To the north and east, the Sakonnet River bounds the refuge; to the south, the Atlantic Ocean; and to the west, Sachuest Bay. Located immediately northwest are a Town of Middletown campground, the Norman Bird Sanctuary, Gardiner Pond (supplying water to Newport), and Second and Third Beaches that are owned and maintained by the Town of Middletown.
In 1970, The Audubon Society of Rhode Island donated 71 acres. The U.S. Navy transferred 50 acres in 1976, and 107 acres in 1979. An exchange of land between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Town of Middletown brought the refuge to its current total of 242 acres.
The refuge has a modern visitor center, over 2.5 miles of nature trails, viewing platforms with scopes, and many enthusiastic refuge volunteers to help visitors and to help in management of the refuge. The visitor center, all of the trails and one of the viewing platforms are wheelchair and stroller accessible .
Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is renowned for its fantastic saltwater fishing, and the presence of the largest winter population of harlequin ducks on the East Coast.
Once a horse racing area, then a Naval communications site, and now a National Wildlife Refuge, the are is steeped in history.
From saltmarsh and beach strand habitats to upland shrub-dominated lands, the refuge supports over 200 bird species, with such notable occasional visitors such as the peregrine falcon, northern harrier, and the snowy owl.
Kettle Pond Visitor Center and headquarters located in Charlestown, RI, celebrates Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge and all of the other refuges in Rhode Island (Ninigret, Trustom Pond, John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge at Pettaquamscutt Cove and Block Island) This facility contains enticing interactive exhibits, a gift shop, classrooms for special events, and knowledgeable people where visitors can come and explore the refuges and learn about the wildlife and coastal environments of each refuge. See what Kettle Pond Visitor Center has to offer by visiting our headquarters site here: http://www.fws.gov/ninigret/complex.
The establishment purposes for Sachuest Point Refuge are:
“... for the development, management, advancement, conservation, and protection of fish and wildlife resources,” and for
“(1) incidental fish and wildlife oriented recreational development;
– Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 and Refuge Recreation Act of 1962