PROVIDENCE – In anticipation of a stretch of actual beach weather on the Fourth of July and the upcoming weekend, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is encouraging residents to buy their state beach passes online or in advance so they can "beach more, wait less." Independence Day week is the peak of the Rhode Island beach season and temperatures are expected to reach the mid to high-80s this week, bringing the potential for large crowds and traffic backups at our beaches.
"DEM takes great pride in what we offer to the Rhode Islanders and out-of-state visitors who use, love, and keep coming back to our world-class beaches," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "We want our facilities to provide families and friends with memories and opportunities to breathe the salty air, enjoy the sand and surf, and have fun. On behalf of my whole team at DEM, I wish you a happy, safe, and patriotic Fourth of July!"
DEM offers the following tips to ease traffic lines at the entrance booths:
1. Buy Online. The online purchase option is accessible at www.riparks.com. Individuals may purchase resident ($30), non-resident ($60), or senior (50% discount) season beach passes at this site. Customers who have bought passes but not received them in the mail may show parking lot attendants their purchase confirmation email for entry. This confirmation can be on your phone and shown to booth attendants at entry, but please have paper backup just in case. No confirmation requires purchase of a day pass. Any Rhode Islander who is eligible for a free pass must continue to obtain their pass in person at State Parks headquarters in North Kingstown. 2. Buy In-Person. Season passes are available for purchase at the following locations: RI State Parks Headquarters, 1100 Tower Hill Road, North Kingstown, on weekdays (excluding July 4) from 9 AM to 4 PM, and on Saturdays from 7:30 AM to 1 PM; the Scarborough State Beach overflow lot located across the street from Scarborough State Beach (870 Ocean Road, Narragansett) from 9 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday, excluding July 4; and at entrance booths at all state saltwater beaches on weekdays from 9 AM to 4 PM. Season passes will not be for sale at beach entrance booths on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays. 3. Once You Have Your 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. 4. Have Payment and Vehicle Registration Ready. Nobody likes waiting, especially on a hot sticky day. If you're purchasing a day parking pass, you can speed things up – for yourself and the people behind you – by having your cash or credit card ready when you reach the entrance booth. By regulation, DEM relies only on vehicle registration to administer parking fees. 5. Pay Attention to Your Voucher Expiration Date. If you buy a day pass on the weekend and want to apply the parking fee toward a season pass, you may. Here's how. The parking attendant will give you a voucher. The voucher slip includes detailed instructions about how to redeem it, whether by mobile phone, computer, or in person. Each voucher comes with the expiration date listed on it. The vouchers expire on the following Friday of your purchase at 11:59 PM for online season pass purchases and 4 PM for in-person season pass purchases. Follow the instructions that come with your voucher to apply it as soon as possible BEFORE the deadline. Expired vouchers will not be honored.
Keep Beaches Clean
Everyone who enjoys parks, beaches, and public outdoor spaces has a responsibility to keep them clean. Consistent with this ethic, DEM's carry-in/carry-out trash policy, which has been in effect since 1992, still is in force. DEM asks the public to bring waste-free lunches and reusable meal and drink containers to the beach to minimize ugly and unsanitary trash on shorelines. Please help be part of the solution and not the pollution.
"The point of our carry-in/carry-out policy is for visitors to take personal responsibility, take their trash with them, and leave no trace behind," said Director Coit. "We agree with the National Park Service and most state park systems across the country that this is a best practice because it promotes conservation, fosters a sense of stewardship, and leads to better visitor experiences."
The top three categories of trash collected in beach cleanups in Rhode Island in 2018 were plastic and foam pieces less than 2.5 centimeters (so-called "tiny trash"), accounting for 28% of all beach litter; smoking-related litter consisting of cigarette butts, wrappers, and cigar tips constituting 25% of the total trash; and drinking-related trash at 23%, according to Save The Bay. Among the trash collected in the third category were plastic bottles, glass bottles, cans, caps, and plastic straws, lids, and stirrers.
Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM for more information on recreation in Rhode Island as well as other timely updates.