Take a walk to Hanging Rock in Richmond #RI

hangin rock bridgeThe round-trip walk to Hanging Rock is less than two miles, but it’s a pretty good work-out with some ups and downs and a couple of spots that demand mindfulness.

The trails to Hanging Rock wind through the Bradner Preserve, maintained by the Richmond Rural Preservation Land Trust in southern Rhode Island. The 63-acre preserve is one of several wild places in the rural community; the others are featured on the Richmond Conservation Commissions website.

The canopy here is varied, dominated by American beech, oak and white pines with many yellow birches and some hickory. All but the beech and pine tress have dropped their hanging rock walk sign croppedleaves, so you can see though the woods for a long way off. Over the weekend, we spotted four deer running about 100 yards away in the middle of the day.

Throughout the preserve, old stone walls say the land was farmed, probably for livestock, because the land is much too rough for a plow.

From a little parking area on Gardiner Road, take the blue trail though a grove of immature beech trees and over a rocky spot that demands attention. The trail turns to the right here. Soon after, you can continue straight ahead on blue or turn onto the yellow trail which re-joins the blue trail just before Hanging Rock.

The blue trail has two sturdy bridges over streams that must be crossed. The yellow trail has one short bridge and requires a stream crossing. This time of year, with extremely low water, the crossing is easy, but when spring comes, it may be difficult.

hanging rockJust up the hill from the stream, turn right onto the blue trail, and look up to see Hanging Rock. An “erratic” left by the great glacier, Hanging Rock rests atop a massive outcrop. The trail loops around it.

Though the trails of the Bradner Preserve are too rough for a stroller, they are ideal for a family walk with children;

For a trail map, click here.

To find more places to hike and paddle in Rhode Island, visit ExploreRI.org.

New bridge completes Grills trails in Westerly & Hopkinton #RI

New bridge enhancedHarvey Buford, left, and Ted Dionne complete a day’s work on the new bridge over Tomaquag Brook yesterday.

A new bridge, connecting the Grills Sanctuary in Hopkinton RI to the Grills Preserve in Westerly RI, may be ready for hikers this weekend. The span crosses Tomaquag Brook, connecting the 3.1-mile trail from the trailhead off Route 216 in Hopkinton (pictured below) to the parking area on Bowling Lane in the village of Bradford.

Tomaquag trail at sunsetThe top of Tomaquag Trail in Hopkinton RI at sunset yesterday

The new bridge, built by volunteers from the Hopkinton Land Trust, is less than a mile from the Polly Coon Bridge, an aluminum span, built by the Westerly Land Trust, over the Pawcatuck River.

The new bridge over Tomaquag Brook is 55 feet long, said Harvey Buford. It is about a foot higher than the 100-year-flood mark, but the boardwalks leading to it probably will be submerged in times of flooding, he said.

The new bridge has fiberglass braces and black-locust wood walkways that should endure for 100 years or so, he said.

Both of the Grills sanctuaries offer wildlife a variety of habitats, and hikers can enjoy some gorgeous New England scenery and sounds throughout the year. (For the past week, barred owls have been hooting away during the day.)

Trail maps ave available online from ExploreRI.org.

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.

Striped bass, hickory shad are taking flies in #RI

Richard Santos with a healthy school striper

Richard Santos with a healthy school striper

Striped bass and hickory shad have been hitting flies in the estuaries of Rhode Island, says fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo.

We fished the Warren River just above the old American Tourist building last Tuesday late afternoon and night and did very well,” Ed said. “Fish this time of the year are nice and fat, football like in size.

“On Thursday with an out going tide we also did very well at The Narrow River in Narragansett. The shad prefer a smaller sized fly; a size 2 works well in pink or black over white. Shrimp patterns for the bass and flies in a size 1/0 short shank in the same colors as above are very good choices as well.” 

Russell Kessler near the Sprague Bridge on the Narrow River

Russell Kessler near the Sprague Bridge on the Narrow River

Save #CT and #RI forests to save birds, scientist says

For the first time in 300 years, residents of Rhode Island and Connecticut are seeing old-growth trees, says Robert Craig, executive director of Bird Conservation Research, Inc., a non-profit group tracking forest birds in southern New England. “Unless we set aside vast areas of forest now,” he says, the size and diversity of bird populations will be diminished.

Audubon Craig croppedCraig summarized his study, “The Forest Bird Survey of Southern New England,” at the 116th annual meeting of the Audubon Society of Rhode Island yesterday. Before he spoke, Candace Powell of Jamestown RI, Audubon’s president, reminded members that birds are indicators of health in the environment.

To save the size and diversity of bird population, it is critical to prevent the fragmentation of forests, Craig said.

His study of forest birds and their surroundings revealed the links between bird populations and habitat. “Extensive forests host the most diversity,” he said. Citing Rhode Island’s Arcadia Management Area and State Forest (which abuts Connecticut’s Pachaug State Forest) Craig said such vast tracts must be saved now, when they contain trees as old as 300 years as well as farm land.

To complete his study, Craig walked more than 1,000 miles and made 50,172 birds observation of 87 species. He examined 17,760 habitat sites.

Carter Preserve tells a great glacier and nature story

carter erratic with plantsThe Nature Conservancy’s Francis C. Carter Memorial Preserve in Charlestown, RI is a natural wonder.

carter oak signEncompassing 841 acres, this is the Rhode Island Chapter’s second largest nature preserve. It straddles the rocky uplands of the Charlestown moraine and the sandy floodplain of the Pawcatuck River, the property supports a variety of natural communities, most notably are pitch pine/scrub oak barrens, vernal pools, and a 35-acre grassland.

If you park in the lot off Carolina Back Road (Route 112), the 1.3-mile Yellow Trail will soon take you to an observation deck overlooking a vernal pool. Empty now, the area is surrounded by colorful maples.

carter observation deckMy Brittany, Penny, and I turned off onto the Red Trail. What a treat! The woods tell the story of the great glacier as it covered and then receded over the region. The boulders are nature’s sculpture. Erratics, as they’re called, he enormous stones weer tossed about throughout the region, and today, trees and ferns spout from many of them, along with colorful lichens and mosses.

We turned left on the 1.5-mile Blue Trail to take a short cut back to the Yellow Train and our truck. Much of the trail was rocky, but the footing was pretty easy except for one tiny bit of rock, covered by some slippery leaves. (Most f the trails are not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers, however, a young dad was there with two children, one of them in a stroller, so it can be done.)

carter blueberriesThere was plenty of autumn color in the trees and along the ground. A stand of high-bush blueberries was aflame in autumn red.

If you go, wear a blaze-orange hat or vest, to be visible during archery deer hunting season.

Depending on the trails you choose, the Francis C. Carter Memorial Preserve can offer an hour to a full day of exploring.

For a map of the Carter Preserve, click here. (It may take a while to load.) For driving directions, click here.

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!

A weekend for wildflowers and Harvestival

beach roses and daisiesIf you love wildflowers, this is the perfect time to saunter along southern New England’s coast. Inland in Massachusetts, Tower Hill Botanic Garden is celebrating Harvestival in its gardens and orchard.

beach rose croppedMontauk daisies, coastal goldenrod, and asters are among autumn’s wildflower display along the beaches of Cape Cod and Rhode Island this week. Some beach roses (pictured here) are still in blossom, and there is a bumper crop of rose hips to pick for vitamin-rich jelly. It may be a little late for beach plums, but Penny, my Brittany, and I are going to try to find some today.

One of the most beautiful displays of wild Montauk daisies is on the western side of the  Quonochontaug Breachway in Charlestown, RI.

Poison ivy, with leaves in every shade of red, is spectacular along the beaches and back roads now.

glasswort croppedIn the salt marshes, delicious glasswort (pictured at left) is changing from chartreuse to brilliant magenta now.

If cultivated gardens and orchards are more appealing to you, visit Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA during the three-day Columbus Day holiday. Harvestival, a family event, features kids activities, tours and more. Our favorite activity is the tour of the apple orchard which has the largest collection of heirloom apples in New England. There are opportunities to taste various varieties, and then purchase them.

Tower Hill will be open Saturday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admitance for non-member adults is $12, $9 for elders, and $7 for children between 6 and 18. Youngsters under 6 are admitted for free.

It’s Walktober in The Last Green Valley

Farmers Market at the Nathan Hale Homestead

Farmers Market at the Nathan Hale Homestead

It’s Walktober, a celebration of The Last Green Valley, in southern Massachusetts and eastern Connecticut, along the  Rhode Island border.

The 23rd edition of Walktober features scores of walks and paddle trips among natural wonders and important historical sites from Sturbridge, MA to Griswold, CT.

Sunday, we visited the Coventry CT Farmers Market at the Nathan Hale Homestead (pictured above), and walked around a bit through the rain. It was wet and muddy, but several children had a blast in the puddles. (And the farmers market was wonderful.)

Walktober includes 106 walks, hikes, paddles and bike rides as well as 36 events that highlight the cultural, historic or natural resources of The Last Green Valley.  The Walktober Calendar labels each walk as easy, moderate, or difficult. Many offerings are geared specifically for families with children. The family dog is welcome at pet-friendly walks. Adventurers will enjoy 13 paddles and three bike rides included in this year’s schedule. To download the schedule as a PDF file, click here.

Walktober is such a gift!

RI’s Giant Pumpkin Championship Oct. 12

The 20th annual Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Championship returns Saturday, Oct. 12 at Frerichs Farm in Warren, RI. Unloading of the biggest pumpkins grown in the area will begin at 9:30 a.m. The weigh-off will begin at 12 p.m., and the winning pumpkin will be weighed at approximately 3 p.m. In case of rain, the championship will take place on Sunday, Oct.13.

Refreshments will be available, a “pumpkin coach” will shuttle people around, and corn and hay bale mazes will challenge adults and children alike. The ever-popular “pumpkin drop” will highlight the start of the event. There will be pumpkin-painting booths for the kids and numerous tents with seasonal arts and crafts, gifts, and products available for purchase. It is recommended that the public bring lawn chairs or blankets on which to sit during the weigh-off.

The event is sponsored by the Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Growers Association, the Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Agriculture, and Frerichs Farm and Greenhouses to determine the largest pumpkin grown in the area each year and to crown an annual local champion. This is the 20th consecutive year that the contest has been held.

At last year’s contest, Ron Wallace of Greene, RI had the largest Rhode Island-grown pumpkin weighing in at 1,872 pounds. Ron also grew the world-record pumpkin in 2012 weighing in at 2,009 pounds; this pumpkin was shown at the Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts. Wallace’s world-record pumpkin was the first pumpkin every grown in the world that topped one ton.

Frerichs Farm charges a $5 parking fee for the event. Those interested in competing in this year’s event or receiving additional information should contact Barbara Frerichs at (401) 245-8245. In case of rain, please call Frerichs Farm to confirm the date of the event.

Directions to Frerichs Farm from Providence or Fall River: Take Route 195 to the Route 136, Warren/Newport Exit (this is Exit 2 in Massachusetts). Follow Route 136 South across Route 6 for two miles to Schoolhouse Road on the left. Take Schoolhouse Road for one mile to Kinnicutt Avenue (right at the fork) and proceed to Frerichs Farm on the right.

Directions to Frerichs Farm from the Mount Hope Bridge: Take Route 136 North to Route 103/Child Street on the right. Follow Child Street one mile to Kinnicutt Avenue on the left and follow to Frerichs Farm on the left.

Places to hike or paddle for leaf peeping now

pawcatuck autumnFall colors are flowing through southern New England now. Along some streams and through many beaver ponds, autumn colors are at their peak, so it’s a great time to pck up the paddling gear and go for a boat ride.

In southern Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut, the Pawcatuck River is aflame in some places. The stretch between the Bradford fishing area (pictured above) and the Burdickville Bridge is stunning, and the foliage should be even more brilliant this weekend.

In the Arcadia Management Area, near the Connecticut – Rhode Island border, Breakheart Pond is one of the first ponds to display color in the fall. Nearby, the shores of the Wood River are beginning to show their autumn colors and scarlet cardinal flowers are still in bloom in some spots.

Too shallow to paddle, the Falls River has a lovely hiking trail to Stepstone Falls, a scenic place for a picnic beneath fall foliage. It is off Route 165, a short way from the Connecticut – Rhode Island border.

Together, Pachaug State Forest and Arcadia Management Area offer thousands of acres and miles of trails and streams with free access for a autumn adventure.

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..

Providence #RI gets playful again

???????????????????????????????The second annual Playful Providence Weekend is coming to Rhode Island’s capital city this weekend, Sept. 20 – 22 in dozens of city parks.

???????????????????????????????Playful Providence is a 5-month citywide celebration of play commemorating Providence’s status as a Playful City, a recognition that honors cities and towns that make play a priority. Playful Providence is planned by the Partnership for Providence Parks in collaboration with Providence Children’s Museum, the City of Providence (Department of Parks and Recreation, Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, Healthy Communities Office and Office of Sustainability), Providence parks groups, Kidoinfo and other partners.

Providence Parks 1Activities include swimming, boating, classic lawn games. pop-up play and many, many others throughout Providence RI.

Click here for a complete schedule of what’s happening.

 

Lots of guided hikes in #RI this week

A newly built granite bridge over Wine Bottle Brook in the Grills Sanctuary in Hopkinton RI.

A newly built granite bridge over Wine Bottle Brook in the Grills Sanctuary in Hopkinton RI.

Autumn begins with lots of outdoor activities in Rhode Island, including several guided hikes offered by the Rhode Island Land Trusts Council. They are features of Land Trust Days which started Aug. 1 and continue through the end of September. Bring a friend to enjoy the scenic views, green spaces and working farms that are Rhode Island’s 47 land trusts.

Saturday’s walks include a visit with migrating monarch butterflies in Little Compton, a bluebird walk with children’s activities in Cumberland, a full-moon walk in Glocester, strolls through historic farms and more. There will be 10 in all. Two more walks, in Narragansett and Jamestown, are scheduled for Sunday.

For the whole list of coming guided walks, click here. To find maps of more trails maintained by local land trusts and the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. visit exploreri.org, a great resource for hikers and paddlers in southern New England.

ICYMI Fiddle n Folk Fest will return to Barrington #RI

Bay Spring Folk playing Star of the County Down in Haines State Park

In case you missed the news,  Local Brew Events presents the third annual Fiddle n Folk Fest, a free event in Haines State Park (near the marina) in Barrington RI tomorrow, Sept. 15, from noon to 6 p.m. Last year’s event drew many foot-tapping, hand-clapping music lovers from throughout southern New England. This year promises another great lineup of musicians including:

*Pendragon
*Bob Drouin & Rich Horwitz
*KC Moaners
*Janos Perge
*Bluegrass Invitation Band
*French Roast with Michelle, Alan, and Rachel
*Andy Grover
*Hollow Turtle
*Sunday Night Jammers
*Emmalee Holmes-Hicks with Rachel Panitch
*Bay Spring Folk and of course,
*Old Fiddlers Club of Rhode Island

Join the fiddle workshops from 10 to11 (Cajun Fiddle by Michelle Kaminsky) and 11- noon (Improvisation Games by Rachel Panitch). Sign up for these workshops at at sydney_mike@fullchannel.net. Craft vendors, food trucks, and kids activities will round out the day. The day’s events are free, thanks to generous sponsorship from RI State Council on the Arts, Wildflour Vegan Bakery, Barrington Public Library, The Bay Team, Bay Spring Community Center, Barrington Parks and Recreation, and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

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.

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. 

Camp BraveHeart offers a break to grieving kids

Camp 2Ninety-five children, grieving the deaths of loved ones, had two days of playing and sharing at Camp BraveHeart this week.

Organized by Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, the day camp was hosted by YMCA Camp Fuller on Point Judith Pond in South Kingstown, RI.

Camp 1The weather was mostly perfect, with only a brief shower Thursday afternoon.

The kids, from 4 to 17, were divided into age groups and had access to a variety of activiies on land, water, and the stage.

Grief counselors and a registered nurse were always available, and the children were escorted by 40 volunteers including adults, and high school and college students. There were also pet therapy dogs and art therapy experts for the children. Camp counselors from the US and Europe supervised such activities as rock climbing, zip line and kayaking for the older children, and story tellers were there for everyone.

Camp 3I was lucky to be a part of Team Wave Riders, a great group of fifth- and sixth-graders who were kind, funny, energetic and generous. Mary Ellen Horsman, (pictured getting her T-shirt decorated) a nursing student, was our leader, and the other volunteers were high school students Jackie Soscia (pictured at top), Molly Pelosi, and Christian Shadraven. Chris first came to Camp BraveHeart as a camper, and now he’s a counselor.

“Surviving children often feel isolated and lonely in their grief and may not be sure of how to handle the conflicting emotions they are feeling,” said Deana Upchurch, head grief counselor at Home & Hospice, who founded the camp. “At Camp BraveHeart, we provide an appropriate emotional outlet to children by offering them grief support in an environment of fun recreational activities.  We help them to understand that what they’re experiencing, although painful, is perfectly normal.”

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.