RI DEM starts policy for large groups hosting water events

Worden's Pond in South Kingstown

There's a lot to do on a summer's day on the fresh waters of Rhode Island.

You can fish and enjoy the company of friends, play with your dog, or take a kayak trip.

"We want people on the water, but if another group is there, it's not going to be very much fun for them," said Department of Environmental Deputy Chief Christine Dudley.

DEM has instituted a permitting policy for large groups looking to host events at fresh water locations throughout the state.

Dudley said it's to ensure that everyone can maximize the use of the state's environmental resources.

"We were permitting a group and they would come to an area and find a group that didn't have a permit there and they said, 'Hey, what are you doing for us?'" she said.

Here's an example -- say a bass fishing tournament is expected to bring 20 boats to Worden's Pond in South Kingstown. The organizers call DEM to get a permit and DEM makes a record of it. Then, a Boy Scout troop wants to take 20 scouts on a kayaking adventure at the same place. The troop calls DEM and DEM will tell them there's a large fishing tournament there and it may be more enjoyable for the scouts to go elsewhere.

"Our fishing accesses have limited parking. A boat with a boat trailer is going to take up two spaces and there just isn't enough space for everybody," Dudley said.

Dudley said there has been confusion from water lovers thinking a permit is needed to do anything on the water, and that's just not the case.