PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), announces that construction of improvements to the freshwater boat ramp at Olney Pond in Lincoln Woods State Park will begin next month. The existing boat ramp will be replaced by an innovative dock system that allows boaters, paddlers and anglers - regardless of their physical limitations - with improved access to one of the most popular boating, fishing and recreational areas in northern Rhode Island.
The features of the project include:
• A 12-foot wide, single-lane concrete ramp with an adjacent row of floating docks and a concrete abutment that allows for easier launching and retrieval of vessels for boaters of all abilities.
• A second T-shaped dock anchored to the shore that includes an ADA-compliant canoe and kayak launch, providing universal access for paddling enthusiasts.
• A newly paved parking area that includes ADA-designated spaces, including one for trailered vehicles.
The boat ramp will close for construction in February and will remain closed until the project is completed. The project is expected to be open for use by Memorial Day.
The boat ramp improvements at Olney Pond were designed by DEM Planning and Development and The Nature Conservancy staff. The contractor for the project is Skurka Construction of West Warwick. The total cost of construction is $176,557, with $93,628 in funding provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration program and $82,929 in state funding through the RI Governor's Commission on Disabilities (GCOD). The GCOD grant supports universal access by providing an ADA-compliant kayak launch, and parking lot improvements. The Sport Fish Restoration Program is a user-pay user-benefit program that is derived from taxes on motorboat fuel, fishing equipment and purchase of some boats. The Olney Pond Boat Ramp project is an excellent example of how those taxes are used for public benefit to improve and increase boating access to the waters of the state. A portion of the national funding is dedicated to the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife, specifically for boating access.
With the reconstruction of the Olney Pond Boat Ramp, Quonochontaug Boat Ramp, Goddard Park Boat Ramp, Galilee Boat Ramp, Sakonnet Harbor Boat Ramp, Beach Pond Boat Ramp, and several others, this is one of many boat ramp reconstruction projects to move forward as a result of a partnership between DEM and TNC. The partnership aims to create and improve public access sites for fishing, boating, and hunting throughout Rhode Island
Lincoln Woods State Park, located just outside the Providence metro area, is Rhode Island's first state park and attracts over one million visitors each year. Olney Pond is the centerpiece of this popular state park and provides outstanding opportunities for fishing, boating and paddling along and scenic vistas that enhance the enjoyment of visitors to Lincoln Woods.
For a list of public boat launching sites in Rhode Island, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM for more information on boating in Rhode Island as well as other timely updates.