RI Angling Group Fights for Public Access


The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA), an angler advocacy group, has an ongoing series detailing the illegal actions of some coastal property owners who are trying to keep the pubic off what they perceive to be their private land.

RISAA has launched a campaign to “take back” public access routes that have been usurped over time by private landowners. Here is an excerpt taken from the RISAA June Newsletter:

“Last month we reported that a complaint was received about some landowners who erect ‘snow fencing’ from their property lines down to the water’s edge, prohibiting lateral access to the shore. This is happening along a stretch of beach that runs approximately a mile from the Weekapaug Breachway to the Westerly town beach, bordered by Atlantic Avenue.

“In April, RISAA President Steve Medeiros and Board members George Allen and Bill Sosnicki visited the area, and found that a few landowners have placed warning signs, telling the public that they own everything to the water. Public access advocate Jim Bedell had told Medeiros that a few landowners had taken it to the extreme, trying to block people from walking along the shore. At the time of this visit there was fencing which separates the private property from the public Right of Way (ROW), but the fencing ended at the soft sand and didn’t extend to the water’s edge. But further checking revealed 4″ x 4″ stumps in the beach sand (well below the property lines) where the fencing had previously been placed, and presumably gets erected each summer.”

RISAA has brought this information to the attention of state officials, who will hopefully keep a close eye on the area this summer.

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