PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that four state campgrounds will open for the season on Friday, April 13. This year's opening of Burlingame, Charlestown Breachway, Fishermen's Memorial, and George Washington Memorial State Campgrounds coincides with the beginning of school vacation week, giving families an extra opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the South County and northern Rhode Island countryside. East Beach State Campground, in Charlestown, opens on Friday, May 25.
The campground openings in Charlestown and Narragansett give anglers in the southern part of the state a place to camp while awaiting the Saturday, April 14 opening of the trout fishing season. A number of anglers in northern Rhode Island traditionally camp at DEM's 100-acre George Washington Memorial Campground in Glocester, which every year opens for the season the evening before "Opening Day."
A current fishing license and a Trout Conservation Stamp are required to keep or possess a trout or to fish in a catch-and-release or 'fly-fishing only' area. The daily creel and possession limit for trout is five from April 14, 2018, through November 30, 2018, and two from December 1, 2018, through February 28, 2019. Last month, DEM launched a new online system for fishing and hunting licenses; residents and non-resident customers are now able to purchase hunting, freshwater fishing, recreational saltwater fishing, and combination freshwater fishing and hunting licenses, as well as trout stamps from home, on the go, or when out in the field at https://www.ri.gov/DEM/huntfish.
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 campground facilities across the state. At Fishermen's Memorial State Park and Campground in Narragansett, new restroom and shower facilities will be completed in mid-May. Other improvements already made at the popular campground include the installation of upgraded utility services - bringing running water, electrical, and sewer connections to more than 100 campsites; resurfaced tennis and basketball courts; and new tennis nets, hoops, and backboards. A renovation project is currently underway at Burlingame State Campground in Charlestown; an improved restroom and shower facility in the Legiontown section of the campground will be completed by mid-May. And at George Washington Memorial Campground in Glocester, an improvement project completed last year brought modern, fully accessible restrooms and shower facilities to the campground for the first time.
Campsites sell out quickly during the peak season; campers are encouraged to book their sites early at www.riparks.com. The reservations program is operated by ReserveAmerica, a company that manages reservations for campsites nationwide. There is no cost to the state for the program, as funding comes solely from transaction fees associated with the services. Reservations may be made online at www.riparks.com, and through a toll-free reservations line, 1-877-RICAMP5. Under a new contract between the State and ReserveAmerica, the service fee per reservation for online and phone reservations, as well as the cancellation fee, has been reduced to $8.75 for transactions made between April 1, 2018 and December 31, 2022.
DEM urges all visitors to Rhode Island campgrounds and parks to help stop the spread of non-native insects and diseases. Transporting firewood can also transport a number of insects and diseases that threaten the health of the state's forests. Gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, and beech bark disease are just a few of the growing number of firewood hitchhikers that can kill large numbers of trees. Campers can help by following these simple precautions: • Do not bring firewood with you when you camp. • Buy firewood when you reach your destination. • Don't take any firewood with you when you leave. Burn it all or give it to other campers in the park.
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.