Governor Dan McKee today signed an Executive Order announcing that the 34th annual Governor’s Bay Day celebration will take place on Sunday, July 30. Major perks include free beach parking at all state beaches and free RIPTA beach bus service.
Legislative and local leaders, state agency officials, the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association, and recreational anglers joined the Governor at a signing ceremony at Rocky Point State Park in Warwick, and then cast their lines off the Larry Mouradjian Pier, to emphasize Bay Day’s other major freebie: free saltwater fishing from Friday, July 28, through Sunday, July 30.
“Bay Day is about having fun and I invite all Rhode Islanders to take advantage of the opportunities we’re offering to have fun here in the Ocean State,” Governor McKee said. “But it’s also a reminder of how lucky we are to have Narragansett Bay as our state’s most iconic natural resource – and how important it is that we protect it.”
McKee was referring to the origins of Bay Day, which began in 1989 to remind Rhode Islanders of the fragility of Narragansett Bay and coastal waters in the aftermath of the grounding of the tanker World Prodigy at Brenton Point in Newport. The collision, which took place on June 23, 1989, caused the release of around 300,000 gallons of oil, which washed ashore, killing fish and sea birds and closing beaches and shellfishing beds. Bay Day marks this event and exists to showcase the beauty of the bay and highlight the threats it faces.
Along with free parking at state beaches and the public being able to fish without a saltwater fishing license, RIPTA will waive the roundtrip fare on all service to South County beaches on Route 66 (URI/Galilee). Service to the beach will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Bay Day is the perfect day to celebrate being a Rhode Islander,” said Department of Environmental Management Director Terry Gray. “Going to the beach and saltwater recreational fishing are traditional Rhode Island pastimes that are integral to our social, cultural, and economic life.”
Parking will be free at all state beaches, which are:
Charlestown Breachway, Charlestown
East Beach, Charlestown
East Matunuck State Beach, South Kingstown
Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly
Roger W. Wheeler State Beach, Narragansett
Salty Brine State Beach, Narragansett
Scarborough State Beaches (North and South), Narragansett
Governor’s Bay Day encourages families to enjoy Rhode Island’s outdoor public spaces and engage in an active lifestyle while also highlighting the economic value of our natural resources. Rhode Island’s natural and public assets – including eight saltwater beaches, 8,200 acres of parkland, 1,000 campsites, 400 miles of hiking and biking trails, 200 fishing spots, and 25 parks and nature preserves – are magnets, attracting more than 9 million Rhode Islanders and tourists a year. They’re also an engine that adds an estimated $315 million to the economy, generating nearly $40 million in state and local taxes and supporting nearly 4,000 jobs a year.
Saltwater fishing also is an important driver for the state’s economy. The saltwater recreational fishing industry contributes nearly $420 million to the economy and supports over 4,000 jobs. Although the free fishing days provide an opportunity for everyone to fish without a license, they also serve as a reminder that saltwater licenses are required on every day except on Bay Day, and that the license program provides vital support for Rhode Island’s recreational fishing interests. The cost of a yearly Rhode Island license is $7 for Rhode Island residents, and $10 for non-residents.
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