A PATH FORWARD TO STRENGTHENING AND SUPPORTING RHODE ISLAND'S STATE LANDS
With more than 60,000 acres of state of land, including 25 state management areas, 400 miles of hiking and biking trails, 200 fishing spots, and over 200 public boat ramps in Rhode Island, recreationists of all kinds have plentiful options of places for hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, photographing wildlife, watching birds, or just enjoying the outdoors.
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is assessing public opinions collected through an online survey to better understand how the public uses and values State Lands. The feedback will help us make sure we capture as much information as possible to shape the future of our state’s precious fishing, hunting, boating, and nature-based recreation.
This effort is part of a broader project DEM is conducting to assess the Division of Fish & Wildlife and the Division of Forest Environment’s strategic priorities and oversight and stewardship of state-owned/operated conservation and management areas (state lands), including fishing access areas and boat ramps.
The survey, was available through March 31, 2021 and covered topics regarding the use of State Lands, as well as the long-term funding options to support better management of them. The information collected will help us create better outdoor opportunities for all Rhode Islanders and visitors and will be used to help prioritize funding for future conservation efforts and support the growth and management of nature-based recreation.
This effort is led by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management with the help of Group Solutions. Feedback collected will be used for planning and research purposes only. The information you choose to provide will remain anonymous and will not be used for marketing purposes or shared with any third parties. This process aims to gather data and diverse public input from a broad representation of stakeholders such as state and municipal officials, environmental organizations, and private-sector stakeholders.
- December 2020: Interview and Collect Feedback from DEM staff
- January 2021 - April 2021: Collect feedback from stakeholders and general public
- February 2021: Analysis and Review
- March 2021: Conduct Focus Groups
- April 2021: Targeted Outreach
- May 2021: Assess and Develop Recommendations
- July 2021: Deliver Final Report (updated timeline)
RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Have a question not addressed in the FAQs below, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails will not be answered individually, but the FAQs will be updated periodically.
Q: How will my feedback be used?
A: DEM seeks to better understand how the public uses and values State Lands. The feedback collected will help inform our strategic priorities and oversight and stewardship of state-owned/operated conservation and management areas (state lands), including fishing access areas and boat ramps. The information you choose to provide will remain anonymous and will not be used for marketing purposes or shared with any third parties.
Q: Why is DEM asking for participation in this survey?
A: This projects aims to gather data and diverse public input from a broad representation of stakeholders such as state and municipal officials, environmental organizations, and private-sector stakeholders. It will be informed by public input from our growing and changing outdoor recreation population and will set concrete goals and strategies for improvements and additions to our strategic priorities, programming, and resources.
Q: Is DEM planning to increase fees or implement a new fee for users of state lands?
A: This study seeks input from the people that use RI’s network of management areas and conservation lands managed by DEM’s Division of Fish & Wildlife and Division of Forest Environment to gauge the level and type of use, how the public values state lands, and ideas for better management and funding to keep areas open, staffed, and operational.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for managing thousands of species of wildlife, including freshwater species. Revenue generated from license and permit sales supports Rhode Island fish and wildlife conservation programs. A critical source of funding, these monies are leveraged to match federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program dollars that support nature-based recreational opportunities for fishing, hunting, and boating in Rhode Island.
Freshwater anglers purchase approximately 40,000 fishing licenses and trout stamps each year. Revenue generated from license and permit sales support Rhode Island fisheries conservation programs and outdoor recreational opportunities for fishing and boating. A critical source of funding, these monies are leveraged to match federal Sport Fish Restoration Program dollars from the sale of fishing gear, motorboat fuel and import duties on pleasure boats.
Every dollar from a fishing license or permit matches three federal dollars from this trust fund. With freshwater fishing license sales flat to declining in Rhode Island and in many Eastern States, Rhode Island’s ability to match Federal Dingell-Johnson and Wallop-Breaux Sport Fish Restoration Trust Fund dollars is at risk.
Revenue the from the Sport Fish Restoration Trust Fund is partially determined by the number of registered boaters in the state. DEM Division of Fish & Wildlife is required to spend 15% of our apportionment from the Trust Fund on boating access.
There are close to 8,000 licensed hunters in Rhode Island whose license and permit revenue are used to match federal funds. Every dollar from a hunting license or permit matches three federal dollars from this trust fund. However, with hunting license sales flat to declining in Rhode Island and in many Eastern States, Rhode Island’s portion of the Federal Pittman-Robertson Trust Fund dollars from the sale of firearms, archery equipment, and ammunition is at risk.
Since 1906, when the Rhode Island Forest Commission was first established, the forests of Rhode Island have been considered a valued and significant resource. The Commission, established at a low point in the forest cover of RI, has become RIDEM’s Division of Forest Environment (DFE) and the forests, which that first Commissioner described, recovered through the early 20th century as populations and industry shifted and changed. Since the 1970’s, however, land use and populations have shifted again and Rhode Island’s forests are experiencing development and fragmentation pressures, as well as the effects of a changing climate.