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In a positive move for outdoor enthusiasts in Rhode Island, the Governor has lifted restrictions on fishing and begun the first phase of reopening state parks.
By Toby Lapinski  |  May 4, 2020
The DEM announced a plan for reopening state parks in a graduated manner during the first phase of reopening Rhode Island's economy.

On April 6, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced that certain Rhode Island lakes, ponds, rivers and streams that allow anglers to adhere to social distancing rules would be open to fish for trout. To reduce the number of people fishing at any given time and mitigate crowds during the COVID-19 public health crisis, DEM implemented a system that staggers the days when licensed anglers can fish. Those with last names beginning with A through M could only fish on even numbered calendar days, and those with last names beginning with N through Z could only fish on odd numbered calendar days. DEM also imposed parking restrictions during the first two weekends of the fishing season and removed porta-johns from fishing sites as a public health measure.

In a follow-up announcement made on the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife Outdoor Education Facebook page on May 4, the fishing-day restriction was eliminated, as follows:

ANGLERS: At the beginning of the season DEM implemented a system that restricted the days when anglers can fish based on their last name. As of Monday, May 4, this restriction has been lifted.

Anglers should still follow social distancing practices and maintain a distance of at least six feet from others and in groupings of no more than five persons. If you arrive at a favorite fishing spot and find that crowds are forming or the parking lots is full, please leave and choose a different location or return at another time or day.

We appreciate you following these restrictions and helping us keep fishing areas open.

It was further noted that the Governor's stay-at-home order, quarantine requirement and social distancing requirements remain in effect. This means that out-of-state anglers may not enter Rhode Island to fish unless they have undergone the 14-day mandatory quarantine.

Additionally, in a series of press releases posted on the DEM's website, boaters in Rhode Island are reminded that, "As the early boating season gears up, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is asking boaters to follow COVID-19 social distancing rules and other safety guidelines as they work on their boats at marinas and boatyards and while they're on the water. Paying strict adherence to social distancing guidelines is a key element in Governor Gina M. Raimondo's plan to reopen Rhode Island businesses and the state economy.

Boat launch sites are open where conditions allow. DEM is pleased to begin a gradual reopening of our beautiful state parks to visitors this month. In the first phase, places like Lincoln Woods, Haines Park, Snake Den, Beavertail, and Fort Adams will be open, providing opportunities to recreate across Rhode Island. Other state park and beach locations will remain closed until further notice."