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R.I. beach season is coming. Here’s the latest on the fight over shore access.

A contested right-of-way or walking path to the shoreline of Block Island Sound in Westerly, R.I.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Believe it or not, the unofficial start to the summer beach season is right around the corner with Memorial Day weekend approaching. So it’s a good time to revisit a couple of smaller items on beach access we’ve been tracking. Call it a notebook dump in which a bunch of sand and a few shells also come out.

⚓ Want to have your say in the future of Rhode Island shoreline access management? Now’s your chance. The Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Coastal Resources Management Council, and the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve are trying to get feedback on how people use the shore as they work on a shore access management plan, and there’s an online survey you can take to share your thoughts.


⚓ What’s happening with shore access legislation? The House and Senate still haven’t come up with a compromise proposal, and I’m still in “I’ll believe it when I see it” mode. But Greg Pare, spokesman for Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, went further than I’ve seen Senate leadership go before when he told me yesterday, “There’s a desire to get something that addresses the issue passed.”

⚓ Keep your eyes on the sky this summer for a hint of Rhode Island shore politics: Shore access advocates are planning to fly a plane with a banner making their case some weekend. Send me photos if you see it.

⚓ On Tuesday, a Coastal Resources Management Council subcommittee took up the subject of Spring Avenue in Westerly. Many locals say this is a public right-of-way to an area of the shore that’s difficult to access; the purported public access path is blocked by a fence and vegetation. (The Weekapaug Fire District disagrees that it’s a public right-of-way, and has filed legal papers to make its case.) It’s up to CRMC to identify existing rights-of-way to the shore in the state, and this is probably the most high-profile one they’re dealing with right now.


Westerly resident Caroline Contrata, whom you may remember as the person who raised issues about a typo-ridden sign elsewhere in town, is being represented pro bono by former assistant attorney general Michael Rubin in an effort to intervene in the case. At the time of this writing, she’s very close to her crowdfunding goal for legal expenses (think depositions). Tuesday’s CRMC meeting was fairly procedural, but this will start to heat up.

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, links to interesting stories, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.

Brian Amaral can be reached at brian.amaral@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bamaral44.