Rhode Island Campground Expansion Opposed

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June 19, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Rhode Island's planned expansion of the campground at the Fisherman's Memorial State Park in Narragansett is coming under fire. 

ri_252611_1The NBC 10 I-Team at WJAR-TV, Cranston, R.I., revealed last year that the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) had issued a cease-and-desist order against the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM). 

The DEM had cleared acres of land on the Fisherman's Memorial Campground site that the CRMC says is wetlands. A portion of the campground is shown at left

The DEM wants to expand the campground by adding 22 more campsites. 

Residents whose property abuts the proposed new campsites are outraged. 

"I'm not happy about it at all for a number of reasons. First of all, this is wetlands. In the springtime, you can look through that fence and see puddles and puddles of water," said Vinny Mattera, a resident since 1967. 

DEM Director Michael Sullivan said the popular campground needs to expand to meet the needs of Rhode Islanders. 

"The property was bought in the '90s explicitly for campground expansion. We paid close to $1.4 million and haven't fulfilled that expanded need," Sullivan said. 

Sullivan questions weather the wetlands issue is legitimate. There used to be 10 homes on this same property. 

But the residents-and Save the Bay-all oppose the expansion. 

But Sullivan said the "not in my back yard" attitude of the neighbors comes second to the public's needs. 

"The campground is sold out from last weekend through Labor Day. So, there's a need and a greater good," Sullivan said. 

The public will have a chance to weigh in on the proposed expansion before it becomes final.

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