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RI Department of Environmental Management
DEM ANNOUNCES OPENING OF NEW AND ENLARGED BOAT RAMP PARKING AREA AT COLT STATE PARK IN BRISTOL
PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management has announced that a new parking area, adjacent to the boat launch at Colt State Park, that accommodates 60 boats and trailers has been completed and is now open. It replaces a parking area that had space for only 15 vehicles.
The Narragansett Improvement Company of Providence was the contractor for the $262,474 project. Funding was provided from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration program, and commercial fishing license revenue. Construction began in mid-March, with a goal to complete the project before the Memorial Day start of the boating season.
The boat ramp itself was reconstructed last year. It is one of several handicap accessible boat ramps designed and built by DEM in the past four years, for which the Department recently received the US Fish and Wildlife Service Director's Equal Opportunity Achievement Award.
With the help of the Governor's Commission on Disabilities and participating local communities, DEM has reconstructed or newly built several boat ramps that allow easy access to recreation services by people with physical limitations. The facilities each include a non-slip metal dock with multiple landings that allow boaters with disabilities and others to easily board their boats regardless of the level of the tide. Each dock is purposely configured to be submerged at different stages of the tide, with a good portion of it flooded at high tide. The design, in effect, allows the water to come to the boater, giving easy access to vessels at all times.
The first new launch facility was built at Weaver Cove in Portsmouth in 1996. Since then, ramps have been reconstructed at Bold Point in East Providence, Oakland Beach in Warwick, and, last year, at Colt State Park in Bristol. A new handicap access boating facility is nearing completion at Main Street in Westerly, and construction of another is expected to begin next fall at Haines Park in Barrington. DEM will continue to work collaboratively with the Governor's Commission on Disabilities on additional boat ramp and dock improvements throughout the state over the next few years.
There are an estimated 54,000 boats that use Rhode Island waters, including 35,000 registered in the state.