DEM ANNOUNCES IMPROVEMENTS TO GEORGE WASHINGTON MEMORIAL CAMPGROUND IN GLOCESTER Construction begins on new visitor facilities and amenities PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced today it has begun construction of new visitor facilities at George Washington Memorial Campground in Glocester. Camping is a popular outdoor attraction in Rhode Island, drawing more than 75,000 people each year.
"Rhode Island is fortunate to have many wonderful parks, green spaces, and campgrounds where people can get outdoors, recharge, and explore nature," said First Gentleman Andy Moffit. "These resources attract millions of people each year - whether to take a run, hike a trail, hunt or fish; it's so important to our economy and way of life in Rhode Island that we continue to invest in these special places. And it is also important to enhancing outdoor recreational opportunities and creating safe, accessible places that promote healthy habits in our families. I applaud all partners involved in moving this project forward for the benefit of Rhode Islanders and visitors to our state."
The project will bring modern, fully accessible restrooms and shower facilities to the campground for the first time; it will also incorporate many "green" elements to conserve energy and cut operational costs. The innovative design of the new building will honor the aesthetic of the surrounding forest while also using technology, recycled materials, and more efficient design strategies to minimize the facility's impact on the environment.
The 100-acre George Washington Memorial Campground, which attracts more than 5,000 visitors annually, sits on the shores of Bowdish Reservoir and is a popular retreat for freshwater swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, and many other outdoor activities. The overnight facility features 45 gravel sites suitable for tents, trailers, and RVs; as part of the improvement project, 35 additional sites will be constructed. Two Adirondack-style shelters are available, by reservation, for group camping outings.
"DEM is proud to manage an amazing array of natural areas for the public's enjoyment, including six campgrounds," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Camping in Rhode Island is a treasured tradition for thousands of families each year given the quality of our forests, lakes, and other natural landscapes. George Washington Memorial, in particular, is a delightful place to unwind, fish, and camp out under the stars; we are excited to begin this project which will bring much needed improvements to the facilities and greatly improve our campers' experience. Already a favorite spot for many, we're sure this campground will be even more popular once this project is complete!"
Key features of the project include: •Energy efficient lighting, and a new water supply well. •A new onsite wastewater treatment system that will reduce environmental impacts at the campground, and a pump-out station for campers to empty their sewage holding tanks. •Highly efficient mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems conserve natural resources. •Solar energy used for heating water to reduce energy consumption of campground operations. •The building design uses a combination of passive ventilation and daylighting to minimize the need for cooling and heating. The $783,397 project was designed by Providence-based Torrado Architects and will be constructed by Skurka Construction of West Warwick, Rhode Island. It is being funded through Rhode Island Capital Plan (RICAP) funds. Installation of the onsite wastewater disposal system and upgraded electrical service is underway. Construction of the new facility will begin this May - with expected completion in the spring of 2017. The beach will remain open and staffed with lifeguards throughout the summer.
This year, Governor Raimondo established the Rhode Island Outdoor Recreation Council by Executive Order in an effort to promote growth of outdoor recreation in the state. The Council is chaired by First Gentleman Andy Moffit. Rhode Island's outdoor recreation industry is an increasingly important part of our state's economy, contributing an estimated $3.3 billion annually and supporting 36,000 jobs. As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, campgrounds play an important role in supporting public health, attracting tourism, providing affordable staycation options for Rhode Island families, and promoting a healthier environment.
The state continues to invest in upgrading park and campground facilities across the state. Over the last two years, projects got underway at Fisherman's Memorial State Park and Campground in Narragansett and Lincoln Woods State Park in Lincoln. At Fisherman's, an investment of $4 million will upgrade restroom and shower facilities and has already upgraded utility services - bringing running water, electrical, and sewer connections to more than 100 campsites. Last December, the state began a $5.3 million project at Lincoln Woods State Park that includes construction of a new "green" beach pavilion; state-of-the-art facilities are being built, offering fully accessible restrooms and showers and an expanded educational center and concessions. The project will also improve water quality in the lake.
Campsites sell out quickly during the peak season; campers are encouraged to book their sites early at www.riparks.com. For more information about Rhode Island state parks and other DEM divisions and programs, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.