Updated July 31 at 9:31am

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ENVIRONMENT

DEM purchases Pawcatuck River area in Westerly

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PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Environmental Management has acquired four acres of land to create a fishing and boating access area along the Pawcatuck River in Westerly.

“The Pawcatuck is very popular for fishing, canoeing, kayaking and other forms of outdoor recreation. But currently, no safe public access exists between Bradford and Westerly on the Pawcatuck - a beautiful stretch of river that supports Rhode Island-raised stocked trout and warm water fish species,” DEM Director Janet Coit said in prepared remarks. “Thanks to this acquisition, DEM will be able to make this spectacular site and several miles of the river readily accessible to the public.”

The four-acre property, located on Post Office Lane, includes more than 500 feet of river frontage and was purchased for $205,000 from Richard Wucik Jr. with funds provided through state open space bonds.

In addition to DEM’s purchase of the land, the state of Rhode Island obtained an easement across the right of way from Potter Hill Road, which will be used by the public to access the property.

Using federal funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, DEM will proceed with building demolition and site development in order to create a public access area and parking amenities on the site.

“Acquisition of this property by DEM is a boon for the Pawcatuck River and for those who use the river for recreational purposes,” Chris Fox, executive director of the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association, said in a statement. “We know the State will be good stewards to the river. We look forward to seeing new public access at the site that uses best management practices to stabilize the river bank and minimize human impact to the habitat.”

DEM, R.I. Department of Environmental management, Westerly, Pawcatuck River, open space bonds, fishing, janet coit, r.i. dem

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