Rhode Island State Parks

COVID-19 Updates

Take precautions and follow the rules to safely enjoy the out-of-doors

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Outdoor Recreation Updates

The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces the temporary closure of Rhode Island state parks and beaches due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. To protect public safety, all state parks and beaches, along with their parking areas, will be closed beginning Friday, April 3, until further notice.

"It is hard to close our beautiful state parks and beaches, but absolutely necessary. Protecting public health is paramount, and that means adhering to social distancing and restricting access to public places where any groups might gather – such as parks and beaches. I ask you to respect the closure and stay away from state parks and beaches. This closure is temporary, and part of our having to adjust to a "new normal" practically every day." - DEM Director Janet Coit

The public must abide by these rules by refraining from visiting these areas. DEM Environmental Police Officers and DEM Parks' staff will continue to monitor state parks and beaches for compliance. If people are blatantly ignoring the new rules – if they choose to congregate at state parks and beaches, or if they're not complying with the physical distancing rules – they may be cited if actions and behavior are not corrected.

For now, the DEM-managed bike paths – the Blackstone River Bikeway, the East Bay Bike Path, Washington Secondary Bike Path – and the state management areas will remain open. This is a situation that DEM will be monitoring very closely. We ask that people avoid these bike paths if they are crowded and maintain social distancing on all bike paths and trails.

DEM also announces additional updates, as follows:

  • Rhode Island has opened trout fishing season with new restrictions to limit crowds and encourage social distancing. Learn more here
  • The opening of the Great Swamp Shooting Range in West Kingston is delayed until at least May 1st. New information on the opening date will be provided when appropriate safeguards can be put in place.
  • The Goddard Park Golf Course is closed until further notice, and new rules and practices may be put into effect when the course is opened.
  • For state parks, all reservations of pavilions, picnic sites, fields and other areas are on hold until further notice.
  • Opening Day of the trout-fishing season will not occur on its traditional date, which in a normal year would occur Saturday, April 11. DEM is still working out a plan to modify Opening Day. As soon as we have a plan in place, we will announce it.

DEM manages over 64,000 acres of land, only 7,400 of which are state parks. Closing state parks will put pressure on other public areas and conservation lands. To ensure adequate social distancing and avoid groups of more than five from congregating, people should not get in their car and drive to recreate. Instead, they should take their walks close to home with their family. "During the weeks ahead, I ask that people recreate close to home – in their backyards, on their stoop, and during a walk around the block. I encourage and recommend limiting your time outdoors to local outings and backyard adventures," Director Coit said.

In order to determine the opening dates for recreational facilities, DEM will continue to work very closely with the Governor and Dr. Alexander-Scott and her team at the Rhode Island Department of Health for guidance on this issue. In the meantime, DEM will continue with our preparations for getting our parks and beaches ready for the season.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: Are state parks and beaches open or closed?

To protect public health and safety, the Governor announced the temporary closure of Rhode Island state parks and beaches beginning Friday, April 3. DEM asks the public not to drive to parks and beaches. The entrances will be blocked, there is no public parking, and these facilities are closed to vehicular traffic. DEM is not prohibiting Rhode Islanders from walking or riding bikes at parks and beaches if they are not congregated in groups of five or more and are adhering to social/physical distancing rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19. DEM will be patrolling these sites and dispersing groups of people. Given the serious nature of COVID-19, DEM will continue to provide any needed updates regarding changes to this guidance.

 

Q: How long will this closure last?

The closure is open-ended. DEM will continue to work closely with the Governor’s office and the Rhode Island Department of Health for guidance on this issue. Although we do not know when parking areas will reopen, DEM will continue preparing to get parks and beaches ready for the summer season.

 

Q: What locations are closed?

The following state parks are closed:

  • Beavertail State Park, Jamestown
  • Black Regiment Monument, Portsmouth
  • Brenton Point State Park, Newport
  • Burlingame State Park, Charlestown
  • Cocumcussoc Park, North Kingstown
  • Colt State Park, Bristol
  • Fisherman's Memorial State Park, Narragansett
  • Fort Adams State Park, Newport
  • Fort Wetherill State Park, Jamestown
  • George Washington State Park, Glocester
  • Goddard Memorial State Park, Warwick
  • Haines Memorial State Park, East Providence
  • John H. Chafee Nature Preserve, North Kingstown
  • J.L. Curran State Park, Cranston
  • Lehigh High Grove, Portsmouth
  • Lincoln Woods State Park, Lincoln
  • Meshanticut State Park, Cranston
  • Ninigret Conservation Area, Charlestown
  • Pulaski State Park, Glocester
  • Purgatory Chasm, Middletown
  • Snake Den State Park, Johnston
  • Rocky Point, Warwick
 

The following state beaches area closed:

  • Charlestown Breachway, Charlestown
  • Ninigret Conservation Area, Charlestown
  • East Beach, Charlestown
  • East Matunuck State Beach, South Kingstown
  • Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly
  • Salty Brine State Beach, Narragansett
  • Scarborough North Beach, Narragansett
  • Scarborough South Beach, Narragansett
  • Roger W. Wheeler State Beach, Narragansett
 

The following state campgrounds and camping areas are closed:

  • Burlingame State Campground, Charlestown
  • Charlestown Breachway, Charlestown
  • East Beach Campground, Charlestown
  • Fishermen's Memorial State Park and Campground, Narragansett
  • George Washington State Campground, Glocester
  • Arcadia Management Area (Frosty Hollow shelter, backpack camping area, and horseman's campground), Exeter
 

Q. If I can’t go to the park, what can I do?

A. People are encouraged to recreate close to home – in their backyards, on their stoop, or a walk around the block. Together with partners, DEM has developed a list of 50 fun, nature-based activities that Rhode Islanders can engage in at home or in their backyards or local neighborhoods. The activities are for all ages and can be done individually or with family members. The complete list is available online in both English and Spanish, and includes apps and virtual learning opportunities, reading and educator resources, DIY and home projects, and outdoor activities. View the list

 

Q: Are state management areas still open?

A: Yes. Management areas remain open for the time being, but this is a situation that DEM will be monitoring very closely. We ask all Rhode Islanders to abide by local and state stay-at-home orders, and limit travel whenever possible, even for approved recreation activities. If you do go to a refuge, preserve, management area or other open spaces, and see that parking is limited or lots are full, you should change your plans and take your walk back home. Given the serious nature of COVID-19, DEM will continue to provide any needed updates regarding changes to this guidance.

 

Q: Will the bike paths be closed?

Currently the bike paths are open. However, this is a situation that will be monitored very closely and may change in the future. Please remember that parking areas at parks and beaches are closed. We ask that people avoid bike paths if they are crowded and maintain social distancing and groups of no more than five. Given the serious nature of COVID-19, DEM will continue to provide any needed updates regarding changes to this guidance.

 

Q: How will DEM enforce this? Will people be ticketed? Fined?

DEM always tries to educate first and ask people to follow the rules. If people are blatantly ignoring the new rules, however – if they choose to congregate at state parks and beaches, if they’re not adhering to the physical distancing rules – and one of our Environmental Police Officers observes that behavior, yes, they may be cited if actions and behavior are not corrected. It would be a civil violation – the equivalent of a traffic ticket.

 

Q: What are the safety guidelines for being outdoors? How do I hike and bike safely?

There are many ways for residents to safety enjoy the outdoors, as long as they take the necessary precautions by adhering to the Governor’s guidance on not gathering in groups of more than five and practicing social distancing. People should avoid trails and bike paths if they are crowded and maintain social distancing on all bike paths and trails. View more details on safety guidelines

 

Q: How will this affect the opening of state campgrounds?

The opening of state campgrounds is delayed until May 1 at the earliest. All campground reservations through April 30 have been cancelled. The state’s reservation agent, Reserve America, is contacting those with reservations during this period with information about the cancellations. Reserve America is waiving all cancelation fees and will issue refunds to the credit cards used to make the reservations. Due to the high volume of cancellations, refunds could take up to 30 days to process.

 

Q: Are private campgrounds open?

No. The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation has asked private campgrounds not to open at this time due to COVID-19. Learn more.

 

Q: When will the golf course at Goddard Memorial State Park open?

DEM already had announced that the opening of the Goddard Park golf course would be delayed. The golf course will be closed as long as the state parks are closed.

 

Q: What guidance can you offer regarding Opening Day of the trout season?

Opening Day of the trout-fishing season will not occur on its traditional date, which this year is Saturday, April 11.

 

Q: Are non-trout waters open?

Yes. Rivers, lakes, and ponds that are not stocked with trout are open for fishing year-round. This includes most of freshwater areas in Rhode Island. During this time of social distancing, fishing should be enjoyed as solitary experience or with members of your immediate household, not as a group activity. Click for a map of trout-stock waters visit.

 

Q. Are DEM boat ramps open?

Yes, excluding ramps located within state parks that remain closed until further notice. Outdoor activities, including boating, are a great way to relax and enjoy nature. However, please remember that social distancing guidelines still apply. All boaters are encouraged to consider the size of the vessel, the number of people on board, and the ability of people to stay six or more feet apart. As a reminder: when on the water, personal floatation devices should always be worn.

Visit DEM’s website for a list of public boat launching sites. Given the serious nature of COVID-19, DEM will continue to provide any needed updates regarding changes to this guidance.

If you need to register your boat or renew your boat registration please use the online portal. Upon completion of the online renewal, boat owners will be able to print a temporary registration that allows the vessel to be used during the two-week period while the registration is being processed and the decal mailed.

Boaters can register new vessels by mail by filling out a registration application, outboard motor registration application, and title application. Required registration documents are located here.

Please note: DEM advises everyone to follow guidance about COVID-19 from Governor Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Health. Learn more information about COVID-19 and Rhode Island’s response

 

State and federal government recommendations for minimizing the spread of the coronavirus are changing rapidly from day to day. DEM will continue to monitor developments closely and will make further adjustments to state park and management area operations as needed. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

Explore your community!

Find places to recreate close to home

Hiking at Lincoln Woods State Park  

While state facilities are closed, DEM reminds Rhode Islanders to be safe when they engage in physical activity in their local communities and to take the necessary precautions. People are encouraged to recreate close to home – in their backyards, on their stoop, and during a walk around the block.

RI State Parks

RI state parks and beaches: DEM asks the public not to drive to parks and beaches. The entrances will be blocked, there is no public parking, and these facilities are closed to vehicular traffic. DEM is not prohibiting Rhode Islanders from walking or riding bikes at parks and beaches if they are not congregated in groups of five or more and are adhering to social/physical distancing rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Park events and programs are cancelled or postponed. All park reservations of pavilions, picnic sites, fields and other areas are on hold until further notice. The opening of Rhode Island state campgrounds is delayed until at least May 1st.

 
US Fish & Wildlife

The US Fish & Wildlife Service’s five refuges in Rhode Island are open but restrooms and visitor centers are closed. Also, pets are not allowed in wildlife refuges.

 
National Parks Service

The National Park Service continues to welcome visitors to the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park and the Roger Williams National Memorial. The visitor center and public restrooms are closed.

 
Audubon Society of RI

The Audubon Society of RI has closed all facilities, including the Nature Center and Aquarium, until further notice, but trails and parking lots remain open.

 
RI Land Trust

The RI Land Trust Council provides directions to trail heads, trail maps and information about rules (where dogs and bikes are permitted and not) for land trust preserves and trails around the state, with listings by city or town. If you get to a location and find it crowded we encourage you to use ExploreRI to find another place to walk.

 
The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy’s Providence and Block Island offices are closed to visitors at this time. The King Preserve, Whale Rock Preserve, Lime Rock Preserve, and Whitehead Preserve/Dundery Brook Trail are closed to the public.

 

Together with partners, DEM has developed a list of 50 fun, nature-based activities that Rhode Islanders can engage in at home or in their backyards, or local neighborhoods. The activities are for all ages and can be done individually or with family members. The complete list is available online in both English and Spanish, and includes apps and virtual learning opportunities, reading and educator resources, DIY and home projects, and outdoor activities.

50 Nature-Based Activities for Rhode Islanders