#Stripers are nailing flies on the Narrow River in #RI

Ed Lombardo at Middle Bridge in November.

Ed Lombardo at Middle Bridge in November.

Striped bass are still biting in southern New England, so don’t put your fly-fishing tackle away.

Geno Rapa caught a fat 25-inch fish late last week on the Narrow River in Narragansett RI, reports fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo.

Geno and Ed started around 3 p.m. near the Sprague Bridge on Route 1A where they spotted baitfish that appeared to be sand eels, according to Ed. “We didn’t do anything there, so we worked our way to the rocks at the mouth of the river. That didn’t work out either, so we headed to Middle Bridge, and that’s where we found the bass,” he said.

Heavy fog fell on the river, forcing the anglers to head home, but before they left around 5, each had caught four “footballs,” Ed said. He was fishing a sky-blue streamer, and the other anglers were casting shrimp patterns.

As good as the fishing was, it may get better, Ed said. His fishing log from 2011 shows a banner day on Dec. 18.

Regulators plan to cut striped bass catch

Fly fisherman Ed Lombardo

Fly fisherman Ed Lombardo

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has voted to develop management options for reducing fishing pressure on striped bass beginning with the 2015 season. One option is to reduce the daily recreational limit from two to one fish beginning in 2015

The action by the 15-state commission came in response to a new assessment of the coastal striper stock, presented at the ASMFC’s annual meeting last week St. Simons Island, Georgia.

The stock report concluded that striped bass are not over-fished and that overfishing is not occurring, but it did show a dramatic decline in adult fish in recent years and projects that the breeding population is on course to cross the overfished threshold in the near future.

“The ASMFC did the right thing, responding to anglers’ concerns about the future of striped bass, concerns that are backed up by troubling trends in the science,” said Wild Oceans president Ken Hinman, who attended the meeting.

Some members of the Striped Bass Management Board argued for immediate action to reduce the current recreational bag limit from two fish of at least 28 inches to one fish, with an equivalent reduction on the commercial side. But a majority supported a more deliberate process that will allow them to consider all the options, after the board’s technical advisers determine how much of a cut in fishing mortality is needed to reach the target and what percentage would come from changes in the bag limit, size limit or season.

 

New book, ‘Inland Fishes of Rhode Island,’ is a keeper

libby book cover croppedTwenty years in the making, Inland Fishes of Rhode Island by Alan D. Libby, with illustrations by Robert Jon Golder, is a beautiful book meant for everyone who loves wildlife and surprises.

The 287-page book is published by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife where Libby is a  a principal freshwater biologist. He has been there for over 26 years.

He surveyed more than 375 sites on streams and ponds, and found more than 70 species, including some pretty exotic fish including the lookdown (pictured here), jacks and pipefish,  With each species, Libby describes its typical habits and habitat, and an accompanying map shows where he found it. He and his colleagues caught several saltwater species, including snappers and flatfishes, in estuaries.

Libby book lookdown croppedLibby found the greatest diversity in the Pawcatuck River (67 species) and the Blackstone River basin with 31 species. Since 2008, his team has found five additional species: guppies, rock bass, green sunfish, striped mullet and sea-run brook trout.

The illustrations by Robert Jon Golder are at once scientifically precise and stunning.  His paintings of sunfishes and herrings are outstanding.

Fishes of Rhode Island by Alan D. Libby, with illustrations by Robert Jon Golder is the perfect gift for anglers and nature lovers. It costs $26.75, and is available at the Division of Fish and Wildlife Headquarters at 277 Great Neck Road, West Kingston RI between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. where only cash and checks are accepted. To order by mail, click here for an order form.

This book is a treasure.

Janet Coit: ‘What I did this summer’

Janet Coit, director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, wrote these loving memories of her summer among her state’s natural wonders. The essay has appeared in The Providence Journal and the latest newsletter of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association. We’re pleased to share it here, too.

janet coitLast week, I bit into my first apple of the season, a fresh MacIntosh from Phantom Farm in Cumberland, and tasted the sweetness of September. As they have all summer, my senses felt acutely alive.

Showing off the tastes, smells, sights and sounds of beautiful Rhode Island to millions of residents and visitors is the work and pride of dedicated professionals at the Department of Environmental Management and organizations across the state. The special qualities of the experiences and places that we safeguard and steward provide tens of thousands of jobs across a variety of economic sectors.

When I think back on “what I did this summer,” here’s what comes to mind.

Kayaking down the Blackstone River, enjoying conversation with other paddlers, who also marvel at how the teeming, green corridor has rebounded from the pollution and stress associated with its industrial past.

Picking strawberries in the sun, my daughter’s fingers and lips stained red with juice, anticipating my favorite dessert — strawberry shortcake.

Climbing to the Fishermens’ Memorial at Camp Cronin on a lovely summer evening, paying respects to the people who have lost their lives at sea, and recalling the power of the surf the day I watched the waves toss boulders around that cove during Superstorm Sandy.

Fly-fishing (poorly) in the Narrow River, my heart pumping as I pulled in a small and feisty skipjack, and later, watching the sun drop behind the ridge lighting up the spartina in Pettaquamscutt Cove.

Attempting “geo-caching” for the first time in the woods of Arcadia (and deciding it is for those who are more techno-savvy).

Frying my first, homemade calamari, and enjoying the special texture and tang of squid harvested earlier that day from Narragansett Bay.

Pedaling down the East Bay Bike Path and seeing every kind of person — from a little girl in her patent leather shoes to a bald, buff, tattooed fisherman — taking in the view off the bridge over the Palmer River, as I ride to my destination at Colt State Park.

Crunching sweet kernels of fresh-picked corn purchased hours earlier from a farmer at his road-side stand, and swearing there is nothing better.

Shooting at a modern range in a beloved old club in Tiverton, excited to finally hit a bullseye.

Drinking Rhody Fresh milk at the “Great Outdoors Pursuit” event at Fort Adams State Park, while drinking in the sights of the kites and kids on the north lawn, surrounded by the breezy backdrop of Newport’s world-class sailing venue.

Spotting the bright-red bill of an oystercatcher at Napatree Point, and delighting in the diversity of birds that find sustenance where the shifting sands and eel-grass beds frame the edge of Little Narragansett Bay, and the Pawcatuck River meets the sea.

Slurping a raw oyster off its rough shell in Matunuck, appreciating the unique flavor, and knowing that, for thousands of years, others have enjoyed the same sensation.

Meeting friends in the gray light of dawn to motor out beneath the Mount Hope Bridge and catch some stripers — my friend’s daughter reeling in one big enough to take home for a delicious dinner.

Getting lost in the maze at the Clayhead Trail on Block Island’s northern bluffs on a hot day in July, and then cooling off with a therapeutic swim in the cold Atlantic.

Helping to measure and weigh the fish we hauled in as part of DEM’s regular trawl survey, and seeing firsthand what our fishermen know innately, that the diversity of life in our salty waters is a natural bounty that sustains us (and sometimes confounds us).

Laughing with sheer joy at the power of the waves that toss me on the sand as I boogie-board at the beach.

Joining family and friends in a towering natural amphitheater at Camp Yawgoog for my son’s Boy Scout ceremony.

Clambering up Pulpit Rock, wading through Nag’s Marsh, and taking in the panoramic view from the T-wharf on Prudence Island.

Watching an osprey scoop up a fish from Hundred Acre Cove out the window of my car during my daily commute.

Walking from the sandy to the rocky shore at Rocky Point, and daydreaming about the larger park that will open on that glorious stretch of coast.

Savoring steamers, fresh fluke and local tomatoes as part of a scrumptious dinner out.

Learning about the Native Americans, the colonial farmers, and the mysteries of those who lived near the Tomaquag River during a magical late-August hike in Hopkinton.

Spending a recent afternoon in Galilee, where an exciting fishing tournament and seafood festival celebrated commercial and recreational fishing at one of the most important ports in New England. The event did more than that; it brought people together.

We are fortunate in Rhode Island to have a vast diversity of beautiful places that support our economy and fill us with wonder. Our natural assets are there every season for all to enjoy. Get out there, enliven your senses, eat local, and discover beautiful Rhode Island!

All aboard the Fly Fishing Express train

Fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo boards the Fly Fishing Express

Fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo boards the Fly Fishing Express

The fly-fishing train, offering access to some remote hot spots, is returning to Rhode Island, along with other saltwater fly-fishing opportunities.

Old Colony Railroad photo

Old Colony Railroad photo

The state’s Department of Environmental Management aquatic resources program is planing a variety of fishing programs this fall. Stripers and bluefish are plentiful in Narragansett Bay, and autumn is one of the best times of the year to fish for them. Hosted by the Division’s Aquatic Resource Education program, the programs include an introduction to saltwater fly-fishing, a fly-fishing trip via train around Aquidneck Island, and autumn fly-tying workshops.

Most of the instructors belong to local organizations such as Trout Unlimited, Rhody Fly Rodders, and United FlyTyers. Together, they have over 60 years of fly-fishing experience to share. Kimberly Sullivan, director of the program, said the goal is to train future fly-fishing anglers in what equipment is needed and how to use the equipment safely, and share pointers on where anglers can find some of the best fishing spots in Rhode Island. The variety of programs isdesigned to accommodate beginning anglers to the advanced. Families with children 10 years of age and older are encouraged and welcome to attend.

Introduction to Saltwater Fly-Fishing will be held on Saturday, October 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Kettle Pond Visitors Center in Charlestown. Fly-fishing instructors will teach participants fly-tying, casting techniques, and knot-tying. All materials and equipment are included with the $35 per-person registration fee. Lunch is not included, so participants should pack a lunch and bring a pair of waders. The program is open to adults and children age 10 and older.

Fly-Fishing Express, a fly-fishing safari around Aquidneck Island on the Old Colony train will be held on Saturday, October 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The train will stop at several remote public access fishing areas around the island. Fly-fishing instructors will offer advice on the best flies and fly- fishing tactics. The program is designed for advanced beginner, intermediate and advanced fly-fishing anglers, and is perfect for those who have already participated in the Introduction to Saltwater Fly-Fishing workshop and would like to hone their fly-fishing skills while fishing. Pack a lunch and your chest waders and join other anglers on this fishing adventure. All other equipment, including flies, is provided with the $35 per-person registration fee.

Fall Fly-Tying 2013 sessions will be held on six Thursdays from November 7 to December 19 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the North Kingstown Community Center. Professional fly-tyers will teach beginning and intermediate fly-tying techniques for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. All material and equipment is included. Cost of the program is $5 for each class or $25 for all six sessions. Pre-registration is recommended, although walk-ins are accepted.

For information and for registration, contact Kimberly Sullivan in DEM’s Aquatic Resource Education program at 539-0037 or via e-mail at kimberly.sullivan@dem.ri.gov..

Strollin’ and Trollin’ for TaTas in Hope Valley #RI

Pink ribbonHope Valley RI will be “Strollin’ and Trollin’ for TaTas” Saturday, Oct. 19.

An unusual combination of fishing derby and fund-raising walk, the event aims to raise money for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, offering support to breast cancer patients and their families.

The idea for “strolling and trolling” was Shannon Tate’s and Stephanie Reynolds’s after they completed a fund-raising walk in Providence. “We had so much fun, but it was hard on some of the older ladies,” Shannon says, “so we are making our walk much shorter — a little over one-and-a-half miles.”

The day will begin with breakfast from 6 to 9:30 a.m. at American Legion Post 27 on Thelma Drive in Hope Valley. The cost is $7 per person, and 100 percent of the proceeds with go to the Gemma foundation, Shannon says.

The fishing tournament is scheduled to start at 7 a.m., and the entry fee will be between $5 and $10, depending on the number of anglers entered.

The stroll through Hope Valley is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Donations will be accepted, and T-shirts will be available for sale for $15 in advance or at the walk.

For more information or to pre-order a T-shirt, contact Stephanie Reynolds at 401-206-1916 or Shannon Tate at 401-316-6439.

Learn surf fishing in Rhode Island

Surf caster croppedRhode Island’s Division of Fish and Wildlife will offer an introductory workshop on saltwater surf-fishing in Narragansett next week.

Hosted by the agency’s Aquatic Resource Education program, “Surf Casting: The Basics” will be held on Thursday, Sept. 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Scarborough State Beach.

Participants will learn about saltwater tackle and gear, safety measures, surf casting and knot tying, and have an opportunity to fish at one of Rhode Island’s premier saltwater fishing areas.

Kimberly Sullivan, head of the program said families with children over 8 years old are encouraged to participate.

Space is limited and registration is required. All materials and equipment are included with the $10 per-person registration fee. The fee for families with three or more participants is $5 per person.

For information and to register, contact Kim at 401-539-0037 or email to kimberly.sullivan@dem.ri.gov.

Hickory shad are early – and big – this season

If you have time this weekend, wet a line. Fishing is very good.

Hickory shad are giving fly fishermen plenty of action, and it’s early. Fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo reports: “We fished the Narrow River and all of us did very well. The shad came in on the incoming tide about 6:30 p.m. Most of the shad this year are big, average size maybe 18 to 20 inches — lots of fun! A very simple fly that I tie worked very well. I tie this fly on a size 4 or 6 hook, tie in a body of Bill’s Body Braid the whole length of the shank, and a sparse wing of black over white bucktail. Black thread for the head of the fly. Eyes are optional. It seams that the shad like the incoming tide, and they have started early this year which is a good thing. I also took three schoolies schoolies!”

On Long Island Sound, Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle says striper fishing isn’t that hot. “We’ve been saying it’s been getting better every week, well this week it didn’t. If anything it took a step backward. Some areas away from shore such as the Race did better, but only at night when you can get through the blues. Bartletts Reef has a few more schoolies as does Watch Hill, but they can be tough to hook up at times. They seem to be feeding on crab hatches.

“Some schoolies are showing up in the Connecticut River at times hitting Snapper Poppers and Kastmasters meant for snappers. Anglers fishing live bunker on the Westbrook reefs are also scoring bass when they avoid the blues.

“Shore fishing has been slow both here and the RI beaches. Hopefully the mullet will start running soon and the surf bass behind them.

“The bunker are back below the bridge in the Connecticut River.”

Fly Tyers start a new season Wednesday

FoamBeetleUnited Fly Tyers of Rhode Island has scheduled its first meeting of the season for Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, 245 Sandy Lane, Warwick, RI.

The meeting offers fly tying for all levels, and the group welcomes youngsters who are accompanied by adults.

Wednesday’s meeting will feature Glen Northup tying Bill’s Body Braid streamers, John McCall tying flat-wing streamers, and Peter Burgess tying a Foam Beetle, pictured above. They’re all effective for fall fishing.

The group provides tools and materials for everyone who has paid the annual dues of $30. For first-time visitors, the meeting is free.

Galilee RI fishing tourney and seafood fest next week

galileeThe second annual Galilee Fishing for Hope Tournament and Seafood Festival is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 7 and 8 in the Rhode Island port of Galilee.

Organized by the state Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association, RISSA the festival is sponsored by the Flood Auto Group.

The festival and fishing tournament celebrate and promote Rhode Island’s recreational and commercial fishing industries, locally-harvested seafood, and the Port of Galilee. Proceeds will be donated to the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Foundation, Narragansett Parks and Recreation Financial Aid Program, and the Point Judith Fishermen’s Scholarship Fund.

The festival will feature local seafood and food vendors, arts and craft vendors, music, and education exhibits. At last year’s festival, locally grown oysters and little neck clams were fantastic.

Festival goers will have an opportunity to tour a fishing trawler, a historic scallop boat, a fish processing plant, and a fish net manufacturing company as part of a self-guided tour around the Port. Other activities include a fish and critters touch tank, kids fishing off the pier of Galilee, a rock climbing wall, and a fishing survival suit contest.

The fishing tournament begins on Friday, September 6 at 5:00 p.m. Participants will be able to weigh in their catch on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The leader board will be present at the weigh-in station. The weigh-in station is accessible by boat and by car. Winners will be determined by fish category and weight, and awards will be presented at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Prizes include gift certificates for fishing charters and fishing equipment donated by local businesses. Juniors will receive trophies, too.

Tournament entry fees are $15 for adults and $5 for juniors (14 and under). Tournament entry is available on the Galilee Fishing Tournament and Seafood Festival website and at many local bait and tackle shops. Detailed entry information, official rules, and the list of prizes may by found on the website. 

It’s time again for ‘A River Runs Through It’

Robert Redford’s A River Runs Through It was so wonderfully true to Norman Maclean’s book. It’s time to watch the movie and read the book again. Remember this scene about witnessing perfection?

LI Sound offers variety for anglers

On Long Island Sound, Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle, says the number of school stripers is increasing on many of the reefs where the bass are feeding on coin-sized buttefish.

There are larger bass at the Race, Plum Gut, Cornfield and Long Sand Shoal, he said. “Live or chunked bunker are the best bets except for the Race where eels at night are the best producer.”

Rhode Island angler Dan Carlson took a striper just ounces shy of 40 pounds this week in the waters off Watch Hill.

Medium-size bluefish are appearing all over Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound this week “The usual rips are holding blues well under 10 pounds,” he said. “The mouths of the Connecticut, Thames, Quinnipiac and Housatonic Rivers – if they have bunker – are the best spots to find a teen sized blue, but don’t look for schools. The bigger fish are still loners in August. Some of the smaller reefs such as Cranes, Hens and Chickens and Cornfield can hold bigger blues. If size doesn’t matter try Plum Gut or Pigeon Rip. Not as many as across the Sound but Southwest Reef has some.”

Snapper blues are appearing in larger numbers in most coastal rivers, he said.

The best fluke fishing appears to be on the south side of Montauk, but the fishing of Black Point can be rewarding, he said.

Positive porgy reports are coming from Bartletts, Hatchetts, Race Rock, Cranes and Southwest reefs, Pat said.

For bonito and false albacore, check out the waters off Weekapaug, Watch Hill and Charlestown, RI.

Stripers eager to take flies – on the right tide

Fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo and some friends fished inside Charlestown Breachway over the weekend and had two different experiences on two different tides.

Friday night, the tide was incoming and there was a ton of bait,” Ed said. “Silversides and a lot of skipjacks. The incoming tide brought with it some nice clear, cool water and a lot of schoolies. The fish were not selective at all, hitting flies of many colors and in sizes 1, 2, and 1/0. Pink flies worked very well. We managed to take a good number of fish up until just before dark.

Sunday morning was a different story, The tide was outgoing and full of weeds and grass, we were picking up weeds almost on every cast, not enjoyable at all. No fish were hooked, not even a bump.”

Work begins to improve #RI fishing pier

 

Colt pierWorkers hired by the RI Department of Environmental Management and the Nature Conservancy have started to reconstruct and expand the fishing pier at Colt State Park in Bristol RI. The site will give disabled anglers and others improved access to one of the state’s prime fishing areas.

The fishing pier was built in the 1980s. Although the structure of the existing pier will remain, all of the pier decking and railings will be removed and replaced as part of the reconstruction project. The expansion includes construction of an accessible, 66-foot T-shaped extension to the existing pier for disabled anglers. The rails will be lowered to a height of 34 inches in four stations at the end of the pier extension to allow for fishing from a wheelchair.

The fishing pier improvement project is a joint effort between DEM and The Nature Conservancy. The two agencies formed a five-year partnership to create and improve public access sites for fishing, boating, and hunting throughout Rhode Island. The project at Colt State Park is the first project to go forward as part of this partnership effort. They expect the pier to be completed next spring.

Outdoor notes: Wade and find lovely aquatic wildflowers

Marsh rose-gentian

Wading in Worden Pond, RI late yesterday afternoon  was a rewarding experience. Fish weren’t biting, but white waterlilies were everywhere and marsh rose-gentian plants were in blossom in about six inches of water along the shore.

What a stunning flower! With eight to 12 pink petals, the delicate looking flowers usually grow in brackish water, according to some online sources. The US Department of Agriculture and a couple other sources also say that Sebatia dodecandra grows as far north as Connecticut.

If you’re on the water this weekend, stop to notice the flowers.

Fishing report

On Long Island Sound, it’s a typical August, says Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle. There is still a “fair number of bass and some good sized ones on the local reefs, mostly on live bait,” he reports. “Bunker days, eels at night. Long Sand Shoal isn’t on every day, but it’s a worthwhile shot most days. Fresh bunker chunks are the most effective way to fish if you don’t have live ones. There have been some schoolies to medium sized bass along the Old Lyme shore for eel casters. The Race has had some bass also if you can get through the blues and the winds.”

RICKA picnic

The Rhode Island Canoe/Kayak Association (RICKA) This year’s  RICKA Family Picnic will be held on Saturday, August 24, at Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick, RI.  There will be paddle trips in the morning, and a southern barbecue lunch (veggie burgers will be available) will be served around 12:30.

RICKA is a terrific group. For more information about the picnic, click here.

Look to the future: Release sharks today

snappamako

Every once in a while a good fishing story comes along.

“I think I’ve got a good one for you,” writes Charlie Donilon, skipper of Snappa, a charter-fishing boat out of Point Judith, R.I.  “We were out fishing for sharks yesterday in the Mud Hole area when a huge mako shark decided to take one of our baits. Within 15 minutes of the hookup, a 350- to 400-pound mako shark jumped 15 feet  out of the water performing a spectacular spinning cartwheel. Upon landing in the water it once again displayed another jump equal to the first.  As the battle between the shark and angler approached 50 minutes I asked the angler Bob Ferrell who is a local Rhode Islander if he wanted to take the shark or tag it for research. Bob said that if I didn’t mind he would like to release the shark. After providing us with such a battle with two of the most unbelievable jumps one could ever imagine, there was no reason to kill such a magnificent animal. He said that if he wanted a mako steak he would buy a pound at the fish market rather than kill this one.  I fully agreed with him and tagged the shark for research.

“I have been shark fishing for over 40 years and have been an advocate for tagging and releasing sharks over this entire time. The total count of released sharks is now over 2,325. It’s not just by chance that over the last two years I have released 31 mako sharks without killing a single one. It’s something I work at from the moment a person calls to book a shark fishing trip right through until the first hookup. Informing  the public and making them aware of the current state of the shark population estimates that are down 90 percent from where they were 30 years ago. Trying to put into perspective that a 200-pound. mako shark is still immature and that it won’t reach reproductive age until it weighs 400 pounds.

“If I can take 31 groups who have paid a charter fee to catch and observe sharks and have all of them release the sharks for research why can’t other fisherman do the same?  It sickens me every time I see a small mako shark of 4 or 5 feet. killed for a few steaks or a picture. It may take giving up that picture of an angler standing next to his catch. It may take eating a burger rather  than a mako steak or not having a set of jaws hanging on your wall.  For anyone who truly cares about preserving the ocean and the fish it holds, you are going to have to give back a little. In doing so you may be giving your kids or their kids an opportunity at viewing  one of Nature’s most beautiful creations.

“I’m quite sure that the shark we released will eventually be caught again and will not be so lucky to be released a second time. But maybe it will have produced a litter of mako sharks at least once to preserve the species for future generations. I tip my hat to Bob Ferrell and his charter group for releasing this trophy fish.”

Bass and blues are biting

Striped bass and bluefish were biting along East Beach in Charlestown, RI today, says Robin Nash of Quonny Bait & Tackle.

Snapper bluefish were biting in Quonochontaug Pond in Charlestown, and scup have been biting on the flood tide there, she said.

In nearby Connecticut, Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle says, “The Race was good this week when you can get there and again better at night; Bartletts Reef was the same at night drifting eels.

“Bluefish have been thicker at the Race and Plum Gut this week with some fast top water action at the Gut.”

Beach trail to re-open this week

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management will re-open the East Beach/Ninigret Conservation Area Sand Trail to vehicle traffic beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, July 26. The reopening of the trail will provide access to the campground and back track trail.

The sand trail has been restricted to pedestrian traffic only since July 1  to protect endangered piping plover chicks which have been feeding and taking refuge along the sand trail. The piping plover is a small shorebird that is listed as threatened on both federal and state endangered species lists.