PROVIDENCE, R.I. Ė The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is conducting an online survey to gather input on how the public uses and values state lands. Feedback from the survey will be used to shape the future of nature-based recreation in Rhode Island including fishing, hunting and boating, and management of state owned/operated conservation lands and management areas. Survey data will also help prioritize funding for future conservation efforts and support the growth and management of outdoor recreation.
"We encourage Rhode Islanders to participate in this important survey and share information about their involvement in activities such as fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, and bird-watching on state conservation lands," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Their valuable feedback will help us create better outdoor opportunities for all Rhode Islanders and visitors. Providing people with places to get outdoors and enjoy nature is part of DEM's core mission, is good for health, and fosters our next generation of environmental stewards."
DEM invites a broad representation of stakeholders including local and state leaders, environmental organizations, private-sector groups, and all others interested in outdoor recreation to take the survey and share their thoughts about the use of state lands. Hearing directly from the people that use Rhode Island's network of management areas and conservation lands will help DEM gauge the level and type of use, how the public values state lands, and develop ideas for better management and funding to keep areas open, staffed, and operational.
The survey takes only a few minutes to complete and is available on www.dem.ri.gov/naturesurvey.
The effort is part of a broader project DEM is conducting to assess the Division of Fish & Wildlife and the Division of Forest Environment's strategic priorities, oversight, and stewardship of state-owned/operated conservation and management areas, including fishing access areas and boat ramps. The project includes lands that are directly managed by DEM's Divisions of Fish & Wildlife and Forest Environment; state parks and beaches are not included. Visit the list of state-owned/operated conservation and management areas by clicking here.
With more than 60,000 acres of state of land, including 25 state management areas, 400 miles of hiking and biking trails, 200 fishing spots, and over 200 public boat ramps in Rhode Island, recreationists of all kinds have plentiful options of places for hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, photographing wildlife, watching birds, or just enjoying the outdoors.
DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for managing thousands of species of wildlife, including freshwater species. Revenue generated from fishing and hunting license and permit sales supports Rhode Island fish and wildlife conservation programs. A critical source of funding, these monies are leveraged to match federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program dollars that support nature-based recreational opportunities for fishing, hunting, and boating in Rhode Island.
A steward of forest-based recreation, DEM's Division of Forest Environment manages 40,000 acres of state-owned rural forestland including the Arcadia and George Washington Management Areas. The Division also works across the state with property owners along with rural and urban communities on a wide range of forestry topics including forest health, forest fire prevention, community tree planting, and private forest land management to maximize the positive benefits forests bring to all Rhode Islanders.
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.