Olney Pond, RI, Boat Launch to Be Rebuilt
February 3, 2021
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), will begin making major improvements to the freshwater boat ramp at Olney Pond in Lincoln Woods State Park. The existing launch area will be replaced by an innovative dock system that provides boaters, paddlers and anglers with improved access to one of the most popular boating, fishing and recreational areas in northern Rhode Island.
The features of the project include:
• 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.
• Second T-shaped dock anchored to the shore that includes an ADA-compliant canoe and kayak launch, providing universal access for paddling enthusiasts.
• 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.