The Fawth of July is going to be a "scawchuh" and beaches and parks will be packed. DEM asks Rhode Islanders to help prevent trash from becoming harmful marine debris by following the "carry-in/carry-out" no-litter rule. DEM also offers tips to minimize waiting times at entrance booths to state facilities.
PROVIDENCE – The Fourth of July holiday signals the summer's peak season – when demand is at its highest and tens of thousands of patrons will be packing state beaches and parks. With tomorrow's highs expected to be near 90 degrees and two or three times as many cars vying for the 8,000 parking spaces that are available at the eight state beaches, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is asking Rhode Islanders to expect and be patient with parking delays and mindful of not littering.
"When it's hot, everyone wants to get to the water to cool down, and Rhode Island has some of the easiest access to ocean and loveliest public beaches and parks anywhere," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "We anticipate that every one of our facilities will be busy and filled tomorrow and on all sunny, hot weekends through Labor Day."
Nearly 1.2 million patrons visited state beaches in 2016 (see attached URI study), and the sheer volume of customers during peak season inevitably strains services and creates challenges.
"Traffic congestion at entrance booths, visitors leaving trash behind on the sand or in the parking lots, litter that's left after closing – these are unpleasant and no one wants to experience them. At the same time, there's no question that it's very hard keeping parks and beaches clean and welcoming on crowded days," Coit added. "Especially tomorrow, we ask our customers to remember the carry-in/carry-out no-litter rule, and pitch in to keep Rhode Island clean. What's more patriotic, what shows more love of country, than keeping America beautiful?"
DEM has had a carry-in/carry-out trash policy at state beaches and parks since 1992. Here is how DEM manages litter at state beaches:
• At the entrance booths, parking attendants hand out small trash bags and remind patrons of the carry-in/carry-out policy. • Rangers clean up trash on beaches and in the parking lots throughout the day. • After hours, DEM beach-cleaning contractors send out crews to pick trash. • By the next morning, contractors send other crews out combing the beaches and parking lots along with tractor rakes cleaning up excess litter and seaweed and smoothing the sand for the new day.
The biggest cause of delays at state beach entrance booths is customers not having their payment ready or – as is often the case with out-of-state guests – customers asking DEM parking attendants questions about the facility or, for example, about restaurant recommendations. DEM offers the following tips to ease traffic lines at the entrance booths tomorrow:
1. Have Payment and Vehicle Registration Ready. Nobody likes waiting, especially on a hot sticky day. But you can speed things up – for yourself and the people behind you – by having your cash or credit card and your vehicle registration ready when you reach the entrance booth. Your registration is not your license. It includes your vehicle identification number, registration fee, license plate number, and home address. (Most likely, it's in the glove compartment along with your proof of insurance.) By regulation, DEM relies only on vehicle registration to administer parking fees.
2. Daily and Seasonal Parking Rates. The daily beach parking fee for RI residents is $6 on weekdays and $7 on weekends and holidays. The fee for a season pass for residents is $30 and, through September 3, will be available for purchase at state beaches. Non-resident parking is $12 on weekdays and $14 on weekends and holidays. A season pass is $60 for non-residents. A 50% discount on daily parking fees and season passes applies for senior citizens 65 years and older. Fees are based solely on the vehicle registration (i.e., license plate) of each vehicle entering beach facilities. All Rhode Island-registered vehicles will be subject to resident parking rates; non-Rhode Island plates will be subject to non-resident rates. A seasonal beach pass does not guarantee a parking spot; it's simply a parking pass at a reduced rate.
3. Once You Have Your Seasonal Beach Pass. Please affix it to your windshield and do not transfer it to another vehicle. Your seasonal pass is not valid if it's not displayed on your windshield. A receipt or proof of purchase will not be accepted in place of an actual pass. For questions, call the State Parks office at 401.667.6200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Beach Hours. State beaches open at 9 AM and close at 4 PM. This applies to all state beaches: Charlestown Breachway, East Beach, Charlestown; East Matunuck, South Kingstown; Misquamicut, Westerly; and Roger Wheeler, Salty Brine, Scarborough North, and Scarborough South, all located in Narragansett.
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