Staircase at Block Island’s Mohegan Bluffs Closed Due to Erosion

The Rhode Island DEM and the Town of New Shoreham have announced the closure of the bottom of the staircase at the Edward S. Payne overlook at Mohegan Bluffs on Block Island. This decision, effective immediately, is due to erosion that has caused a significant drop at the base of the stairs leading to the beach below. The measure is intended to protect public safety.

While the overlook at the top of the bluffs, the parking lot, and the top of the stairs remain open to the public, the bottom of the stairs is now off-limits as the path to the beach has been washed out.

“Rhode Island’s coastal communities are increasingly contending with sea level rise, flooding, and erosion due to the impacts of climate change,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “We hope that those wishing to take in the dramatic view of the Atlantic from the overlook will understand that the bottom of the staircase must be closed because accessibility starts with safety. As always, DEM appreciates the partnership of the Town of New Shoreham and The Nature Conservancy in ensuring public access to this spectacular vista.”

The Mohegan Bluffs, standing at approximately 150 feet high, are located on the southeast coast of Block Island. The staircase, which includes over 140 steps, traditionally provides a route from the top of the bluffs to the beach below. However, the erosion has rendered this pathway unsafe for public use.

DEM, in collaboration with local authorities and conservation organizations, continues to monitor the situation and explore solutions to address the ongoing impact of erosion on the island’s infrastructure and natural beauty.




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