Welcome to our first-ever magazine devoted to all things outdoors. In this reader-requested issue, we worked closely with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to provide you with the information you need to start exploring the state. And while Rhode Island is nicknamed the Ocean State, more than 50 percent is forested, making it ideal for hiking, camping, biking, birding, and more. Little Rhody boasts a network of state parks and management areas; with more than 60,000 acres of public lands stewarded by the DEM including 22 major parks, 25 management areas, 400 miles of trails, 200 fishing spots, and over 200 boat ramps, there are plentiful options to enjoy the outdoors.
State parks provide visitors with well-maintained and accessible areas that have amenities like paved trails, playing fields, restrooms, historic buildings, and events. Many state parks also offer guided tours, museums, horseback riding, camping, and more.
If you’re interested in the wilder side of Rhode Island, visit a management area like Arcadia in Exeter and Big River in West Greenwich. While activities are limited to protect wildlife and habitats, they still provide ample opportunities for hiking, hunting, birdwatching, fishing, or just resting in nature.
Fall events hosted by DEM
October 10: Fall on the Farm Series: Fungi Exploration, Johnston
October 14: Intro to Deer Hunting Workshop, Harrisville
October 20: Hunter Education 3 Day, Foster
November 6: Wildlife Solutions: Noisy Neighbors, Providence
Visit DEM.RI.gov for details, including registration
Freshwater fishing in Rhode Island is a year-round activity that offers opportunities to catch a variety of species including largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout, northern pike (our largest freshwater game fish), or a variety of warm-water species and pan fish, such as black crappie, yellow perch, sunfish, and pickerel. The excitement of fall trout fishing and winter ice fishing ensures a terrific family activity for all ages.
Annual freshwater fishing licenses are valid from the second Saturday in April through February 28. Youth under age 15 fish for free. A Trout Conservation Stamp is required of anyone wishing to keep or possess a trout, salmon, or charr or to fish in a catch-and-release or “fly-fishing only” area. DEM Division of Fish & Wildlife’s hatchery program works year-round to provide quality fishing experiences throughout the year. They stock over 100 fishing areas with brook, rainbow, golden rainbow, brown, and tiger trout. Experience the thrill of reeling in the first trout of the season with the purchase of a fishing license!
The Ocean State offers some of the best saltwater fishing anywhere. Whether you fish the waters of Narragansett Bay or the coastal waters stretching from the south shore out to Block Island and beyond, anglers in Rhode Island have many fantastic opportunities to enjoy the diversity and abundance of our local catch. From striped bass fishing to digging quahogs, and everything in between, whether you fish for fun or food, the common denominator is that you are part of a time-honored tradition made possible by Rhode Island’s amazing marine life.
Recreational shellfishing is available to both RI residents and non-RI residents. Whelk and bay scallops is limited to residents only. Residents do not require a license; however non-RI residents do require a license.
Last year, DEM launched a free volunteer recreational catch reporting mobile application, which allows you to log and track your catches and also provides free weather forecasts, tide and solunar information, and buoy data. Download at the Apple App Store or on Google Play.
From coastal shrublands to forestland to grasslands that sway in the breeze, opportunities for hunting and trapping abound in Rhode Island. Revenue generated from license and permit sales supports Rhode Island fish and wildlife conservation programs. A critical source of funding, these monies are leveraged to match federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program dollars that support outdoor recreational opportunities for fishing, hunting, and boating in Rhode Island. The fall is a popular time for hunting. If you have ever been interested in learning how to hunt, taking a safety course is the first step. You can also sign up for special programming, including wilderness first aid and land navigation.
The Great Swamp Shooting Range in South Kingstown is state-run and uses the latest industry standards for safety and management practices. The range supports DEM’s Hunter Safety Education Program, which instructs hunters and sport shooters in the safe storage, transport, handling, and shooting of firearms. The range provides a positive and structured environment for adults and youth alike to learn to use a variety of firearms. This year, the facility has extended its season, operating from April 1 to November 3. It’s open seven days a week, including holidays. Although the range is free to use, visitors must obtain a range permit beforehand.
Remember to wear a solid fluorescent orange hat or vest this month to stay visible to hunters. Deck out your dog with orange, too, and keep them on a leash no longer than 25 feet. Not sure if an area allows hunting? Look for on-site signage or visit DEM.RI.gov/orange.
The season begins in October and requires a Game Bird Permit to hunt ring-neck pheasant. The daily limit for pheasant is two either sex birds. Arcadia, Black Hut, Big River, Buck Hill, Carolina, Durfee Hill, Great Swamp, Nicholas Farm, Sapowet Marsh, Simmons Mill Pond, and Eight Rod Farm are all stocked management areas. DEM.RI.gov
To purchase hunting and fishing licenses or any other outdoor needs, visit Rhode Island Outdoors, part of DEM, at RIO.RI.gov.
Burlingame State Campground*
Charlestown Breachway State Campground
East Beach State Campground
Fishermen’s Memorial State Campground
George Washington State Campground*
*Cabins available and include two bunk beds with boards for the base
Camping season ends during or at the end of October for most campgrounds; see availability and reserve online at RIParks.RI.gov
The Ocean State is filled with beautiful places to hike, including these nature refuges maintained by the Audubon Society of RI. Find more at ASRI.org, and for an expansive list of statewide trails, visit ExploreRI.org.
Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge, Tiverton
Long Pond Woods Wildlife Refuge, Rockville
Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge, Coventry
Powder Mill Ledges, Smithfield
Touisset Marsh Wildlife Refuge, Warren
Waterman Pond Wildlife Refuge, Coventry
Rhode Island has more than 60 miles of paved trails for biking, and the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority offers Rack-N-Ride, meaning all RIPTA buses have bike racks that are free, making cycling the state a breeze.
Blackstone River Bikeway
East Bay Bike Path
Fred Lippitt Woonasquatucket River Greenway
Quonset Bike Path
South County Bike Path
Ten Mile River Greenway
Warren Bike Path
Washington Secondary Bike Path
Get details about paths, maps, and parking at DOT.RI.gov
Rare fungus discovered by Barrington fifth-grader
What’s red and yellow and turns blue to the touch? A Billie’s bolete (boletus billieae) mushroom, of course! If you haven’t heard of it, there’s a good reason – this uncommon fungus has never been observed in Rhode Island, until 10-year-old Barrington fifth-grader and youth ambassador of the Rhode Island Mycological Society Silas Claypool discovered a cluster of them with his dad Rick along the East Bay Bike Path in August. The under-documented fungus is one of 20 potentially threatened species in the northeast. Realizing they had found a rare bolete, the Claypools preserved the specimen by drying it with a food dehydrator and mailed it to the Fungal Diversity Survey for DNA analysis, with other specimens to be preserved at the Brown University Herbarium – all in a day’s work for the two avid mushroomers. Learn more about the fungus among us by visiting RhodeIslandMycologicalSociety.org
Help your skin recover from outdoor excursions with locally made
Autumn in Rhode Island is a cherished time, filled with colorful hikes, leaf-peeping adventures, visits to apple orchards, and the return of the PSL. It’s also when many of us begin to suffer from dry skin. Here are five tried-and-true products from local makers, perfect for maintaining a clean, healthy glow.
Seek relief of achy muscles with Ritual Baths, a line of gentle soaks in a variety of herbal blends from The Veiled Crow. Each of the nine products offers a different metaphysical property. Pair with a matching Sacred Sugar Scrub, made from sugar and almond oil, to leave your skin feeling exfoliated and moisturized. The Veiled Crow, 3287 Post Road, Warwick; VeiledCrow.com
Perfect for camping and travel, shampoo bars from Warren’s Stella Marie Soap Company offer an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic bottles. The Rosemary and Mint Natural Shampoo Bar can be used as a body and hair cleanser, perfect for saving space in your bag. Find it at local retailers including Olive del Mondo and Rhody Craft in Providence, and Honey Gallery in North Kingstown, or online at StellaMarieSoap.com.
Leave it to the gals at South Kingstown-based Java Skin Care to create a luxurious green coffee-infused serum. Safe for the body, hands, face, and hair, use it to help prevent signs of aging and even out skin tone. The multi-functional serum is perfect for days on the go and it can even be used to remove makeup, smooth flyaway hair, and moisturize lips. JavaSkincare.com
Herbs and Mylk offers a fall line full of fragrant small-batch skincare products to hydrate, smooth, and revitalize your skin. After a long day of exploring, cozy up with their revitalizing mask, formulated with pumpkin and coffee grounds from Lincoln cafe, Fundati. 650 Ten Rod Road, North Kingstown; HerbsandMylk.com
This nourishing salve from Herbalicious
Skincare is a chemical- and petroleum-free alternative to OTC ointments – a hiking pack must. Use for treating insect bites, sunburn, eczema, and dry skin. Made in Narragansett with a powerful blend of herbal ingredients and essential oils, find this salve at Casey Farm Market, Saunderstown, on Saturday mornings through October 28 or online at HerbaliciousSkincare.com.
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