Public Shoreline Access Points In Town

Rhode Island has more than 200 public rights-of-way (ROW) that provide access to the shoreline. According to the CRMC map, there are three in Providence: the Gano Street boat ramp; the ramp on Gulf Avenue (the northernmost end of River Road); and the one seen here at the end of Public Street. Save the Bay has a useful Public Access page. riting in the ProJo, Antonia Noori Farzan asks: Who is responsible for maintaining the shoreline access points?

While the Coastal Resources Management Council designates public rights of way, it’s not obligated to maintain them. The agency’s website states that municipalities are “strongly encouraged” to take on that role — but acknowledges that some rights of way aren’t being maintained at all.

Through the “Adopt-An-Access” program, citizens and community groups can volunteer to be stewards of specific rights of way. The CRMC also hosts an annual cleanup in partnership with other organizations like Save the Bay, but doesn’t have any dedicated staff who can monitor rights of way or pick up trash on a regular basis.

Go here for the interactive statewide shoreline access site. I filled in the blanks as follows: I want to “go fishing” in “Providence.” The results all make sense I guess . . . except maybe “Waterplace Park” to which I say “no, thank you.”

Go here for the CRMC Rights-of-Way and Public Access page with FAQs.

You can volunteer with the Save the Bay Cleanup Days around town: March 17 and April 27 at India Point Park; April 11 and June 7 at Collier Park; April 20, May 8, and June 18 at Fields Point. There are more dates later in the summer.

One last point: The article mentions an “Adopt-An-Access” program where groups can can volunteer to be stewards of a specific ROW. I oppose these plans as they always turn into a one-time effort plus an ugly sign prominently featuring the name of a car dealership or furniture store. In other words, advertising. And no one will ever make sure they are fulfilling their commitment. (See: Adopt-an-Island.)

(NB: Not all public shoreline access points in the state go through the CRMC designation process—cities, towns, nonprofit organizations, and the State of Rhode Island can also identify and maintain rights-of-way to the shore.)


Access to the Public Street site runs between Pete’s Tires and the enormous salt piles along Allens Avenue. Unfortunately one pile of salt seems to be washing out and running directly down to the water. There is plenty of parking here.

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