Wednesday, April 8, 2020

WAY OVERBOARD....Fish Around, NO Access

Parking along the Sate Pier at East
Matunuck is completely shut down.
"Too much, ridiculous, overreaction, PIA" These are not my words.  These are some of the reactions I got from talking to people along the oceanfront yesterday. These were from a scant few pissed people who wanted to just go for a walk or cast a line. The parking along most of the oceanfront is non-existent unless you know someone that will allow you to park in their driveway. Basically, all fishing is shut down along deserted beaches because you can't get onto those beaches.
The entrances and exits to East Matunuck
State Beach are barricaded.
I decided to take a ride down to the oceanfront yesterday to see what was going on.  I had my stuff with me and had all intentions of fishing. I went to the West Wall, a popular early season spot that everyone knows about. I drove down Succotash Rd. by East Matunuck State Beach.  The entrances were barricaded shut.  No access there.  I then went to the end of the road down across from Skip's Dock where there is on street parking for about 8 cars.  There were all red signs indicating "No Parking. Police Emergency.  No access there.  I continued a short drive to the State Pier where there is parking for about a dozen cars.  There were barricades, cones and signs that indicated no parking. No access there.  Finally I went down the dirt road just north of the pier.  I know there are two small lots there where a few people go to walk dogs (Dog Beach).  Those lots had boulders blocking the parking. No access there.  On the way back, I went along many of the side streets of East Matunuck.  They all had those red "No Parking signs" put up by the Narragansett Police I assume. This place was completely shut down.
On the way back, I went through Narragansett.  It was similar.  No parking on side streets, no parking on Ocean Rd. (both sides), no parking in any beach or town lots.
In my opinion, way overboard. East Matunuck Beach sees NO ONE at this time of year. Unlike Narragansett that draws a lot of college kids, no one is at East Matunuck. If the state fears big groups, why not open only a small section of the lots? The closing down of on street parking down across from Skip's Dock is a head scratcher. A grand total of 8 cars can fit there, hardly a place where crowds can form.
On street parking across from
Skip's Dock is shut down. It's
a head scratcher since only
about 8 cars can fit here.
Finally, I drove by the parking lot at Stop and Shop in Narragansett and the Walmart in North Kingstown.  These parking lots were loaded with cars and loaded with people. I guess if you are a Walmart shopper it is ok to be in a crowd.  But, if you want to walk along a deserted beach or fish along a deserted beach, that's not ok.
Both the State and the town of Narragansett are painting this crisis situation with a  broad brush.  "Lets just shut down everything even though some places see limited or no activity." No one should be surprised at this in the Town of Narragansett since the Town has the reputation of being very anti-outsider even in good times.
Yes, the fish are beginning to move along the south shore, but forget going down there to fish.
I hope the State develops a plan to at least partially open some of those empty parking lots along the waterfront. Do what RI did with freshwater fishing by allowing a limited number of fishermen to fish (on/off days) and making sure anglers observe social distancing. Just shutting down all beach access along the oceanfront is really ridiculous.