Jamestown Residents in support against the abuse of our natural resources, health/safety.
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Members of the Jamestown Town Council and Town Administrator,
We the undersigned, are pleading for immediate help and change. Many local residents have taken to social media, letter writing to the Director of Parks and Recreation, have made calls to the Jamestown Police Department and to The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. All these contacts have been in reference to the overcrowding of our small community during this 2020 pandemic, the health and safety of the residents and the abuse of our local resources.
We are aware that people are entering our Town for recreational purposes and utilizing our coastline for swimming, fishing, boating etc. While we are willing to share these amenities, the influx has brought great concern for our Island’s natural resources and the well-being of our local residents during this global pandemic. Many of these visitors are from other States or other areas of our State.
Many Islanders have taken to posting pictures and videos on social media of the horrific conditions of our local beaches, parking lots and State Parks. Disgusting views of the damage and refuse left behind by people. We, as locals, have tried with little success, to make daily pilgrimages to the areas that have been the most contaminated by trash, dirty diapers in the grass, graffiti, fish hooks and fishing gear, fish remains and camp fires from overnight camping. These areas include but are not limited to, Taylor’s Point, Potter’s Cove, Park Dock, Mackerel Cove, Head’s Beach, Fort Getty, Fort Wetherill and Beavertail State Park.
Due to the current global pandemic, it is worse than previous years. We have the usual summer residents returning, weekend get-a-way visitors, day-trippers and people escaping the months of lockdown. While we completely understand the need for people to get out and enjoy the surroundings and the help these visitors provide to our local economy and merchants, we are concerned with the impact to our Island and local residents. The people trying to help resolve these issues are being met with handling disgusting, possibly contaminated, waste. Some have even been met with hostile responses from visitors when asking people to take their garbage out with them when they leave. The rocks and tall beach grass are used as bathroom facilities and human feces can be found along the pathways, as well as soiled diapers.The conditions are deplorable. All of this refuse is finding it’s way into our beautiful Bay.
This is not how we treat our resources and need your help to handle these issues. The locals are finding it difficult to enjoy our shoreline due to overcrowding, lack of available parking, lack of space for social distancing and the horrific conditions of these areas. Our recommendations are as follows:
*Increase the cost and limit the selling of day-passes for Town beaches, thus, allowing space for our locals with “Resident Stickers” to utilize our Town amenities. Social distancing is difficult enough without the excessive amount of allowed day-visitor’s passes and parking is, already, insufficient.
*Make Taylor’s Point and Potter’s Cove area “Resident Sticker Only” parking. Sell minimal amounts of day-passes. This would allowing residents access to our local amenities and help to limit the influx of visitors that may not maintain the beauty of these natural resources. This would help to maintain social distancing with fewer people at any one location, allowing residents a place to park.
*Install permanent “No Parking” sign in congested areas, such as, Hamilton, Freebody, Conanicus/East Shore and Seaside. The temporary paper signs are being removed or ignored. Some areas are so grossly overcrowded with vehicles, there is fear that EMS or JFD vehicles may find it difficult to get through or access victims in an emergency.
*Increase the no parking fines, making it much less appealing to avoid purchasing a day-pass, park in “no parking” areas or “resident sticker only” areas, unlike the nominal fees they may have previous incurred.
*TOW vehicles that have been ticketed, instead of allowing those vehicles to remain. This would free up space and clear the congested areas.
*STEP UP the enforcement of RI DEM in the fishing areas, especially Potter’s Cove and Taylor’s Point, checking for RI issued fishing licenses. Many out-of-State vehicles fill those lots all day and night. Perhaps, if they were made to purchase a license, the numbers would decrease. Many of these fishing parties come in large numbers and each person with a line in the water should possess a license. This decrease in numbers and pollution would benefit our Bay, fish and wildlife. DEM should be monitor overnight camping, as it is not allowed. Permanent signs should be posted. Also, advise the State of the overcrowding at Beavertail State Park. Social distancing rules are not being followed, masks are not being worn in the overcrowded areas and garbage is left behind on a daily basis.
*Post permanent signs with fines for litter and police and DEM take notice. Patrol areas. Post cameras. Our shoreline, wildlife and sea life are in danger due to the overwhelming litter.
We are hopeful and confident that these steps would make up for any lost revenue from decreasing the ticket sales of day-passes, help generate revenue to employ more people to monitor and maintain our shoreline, help fund more trash receptacles and portable restroom facilities for these areas, open up the Town to locals, while handling the tourist influx. This would help save our Bay! Most importantly, provide adequate space for social distancing in these times of health and safety being a priority.
We ask that you please consider these recommendations with the utmost speed, as time is essential. We will gladly provide photo and video evidence of our concerns. We rely on the Jamestown Town Council, the Town Administrator and RI DEM for the safety and well being of our families, friends and neighbors and the responsibility we all have to care for and maintain the beauty and balance of our Island and the ecosystem.
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