DEM Launches Pilot Reservation Program to Manage Busy Boat Ramp at George Washington State Campground

Published on Thursday, August 10, 2023

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing the launch of pilot program for boaters to reserve parking space at the Bowdish Reservoir Boat Ramp in Glocester starting immediately. Due to its location within the George Washington State Campground, boaters who wish to launch a vessel from the boat ramp without a camping reservation may make a parking reservation by filling out this application form.

DEM hopes that the pilot program will restore parking access to the ramp for boaters who are not registered campers while limiting unauthorized traffic within the state campground. Because of safety and security concerns at the campground and limited parking available at the boat ramp, access through the campground for non-campers is by reservation only. Boat ramp access parking permits will be available by reservation for non-tournament fishing and boating during the camping season, which runs from the second Friday in April through Oct. 31.

Under the pilot plan, three parking spaces and one handicapped parking space will be designated for non-campground users. Only three vehicles with boat trailers or cartop boats and one handicapped parking space for boat trailers or cartop boats will be allowed access to the boat ramp, per reserved time period. Only these designated spaces may be used for reservations. Campground users may not reserve or use these spaces. Two time periods — 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM and 3 PM to 9 PM — are available for reservation. Only one time per day may be reserved. No more than two days can be reserved per week, and no more than two weeks in advance. Reservations can be made through DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), Monday through Thursday, by filling out this application form. Access is available seven days a week. 

Please be advised that the use of motors more than 10 horsepower on boats launched, hauled, or operated from the Bowdish Reservoir boat ramp is prohibited. All other Bowdish boat ramp regulations apply, with the exception of Management Area Boating Regulation #17, noted on page 13 of the 2023-2024 Freshwater Fishing Abstract.

Those with reservations must present their printed permit at the campground gate to gain access. Vehicles must display the permit in their windshield while in one of the three reserved parking spaces or the reserved handicapped space for boat trailers or cartop boats parking space. Failure to comply may result in being ticketed or towed from the area at the owner’s expense.

No parking permits will be required from Nov. 1 to the second Friday in April. This period will be open for tournament fishing through the DFW tournament permit process. A special use permit from the DEM Division of Parks and Recreation would also be required for any organized event requiring use of this ramp, parking lot, or property. For information or request regarding such permits, please contact Assistant Regional Manager CJ Paliotta at 401-568-6700 or

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.

Bowdish Reservior boat ramp
Bowdish Reservoir, Glocester