2013-03-21 / Letters to the Editor

Hull Cove should be off limits to public

The March 14 editorial in the Press highlighting and endorsing a grant possibility to build a wooden elevated walkway from Beavertail Road to Hull Cove is flawed.

Why does the Conservation Commission advocate building an elevated trail that would further contribute to the ecological demise of Hull Cove’s fragile environment? It will also lead to the public inadvertently trespassing onto private properties. Even after years of obvious public abuse, the Conservation Commission blindly neglects to live up to its name and close Hull Cove to allow it to regenerate itself.

Over the past 20 years, shellfish, including clams, mussels, periwinkles, whelk, small green crabs and even starfish, have methodically been harvested from the rocks and tidal pools of the cove. The perpetrators are overwhelmingly out-ofstate visitors, as evidenced by the license plates parked on Beavertail Road. Teams of visitors with 5-gallon buckets have purposely picked clean the undersized shell life. Tidal rocks have been overturned and mollusks have been scavenged. The cove today is a semblance of a dead sea as a result of this uncontrolled visitor abuse.

The access to Hull Cove is via a pathway owned by the Conanicut Island Land Trust. A small parking lot accommodating five vehicles on a blind curved stretch of Beavertail Road is at the west end of the trail. A small beach area about 300 feet is at the eastern end. The beach is often covered with soggy seaweed and it’s unusable.

Without exception, visitors leave the public beach area and continue along the shore, mounting the private rock ledges. On either side of the water’s edge, all the remaining properties – 22 parcels excluding a couple of questionable right-of-ways – that extend from Short Point to Beavertail are private property. Any transit in either direction other than at low tide is not only encroachment, but trespassing.

Fishermen and shoreline scavengers using the access show no regard to private property, as 100 percent of them trod on private land to favorite sites where some leave behind trash, bottles, cans, bait boxes and even loaded baby diapers. There is no oversight, no regulation and no more ecosystem.

Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management in a document (“Evaluation of Alternative Sites for Fishing Access for Hull Cove”) states: “Beavertail State Park provides a viable alternative with good public access, ample parking and comparable shoreline fishing further diminishing the Hull Cove site’s need for capital improvements. Properties in both directions are privately owned and involve encroaching upon private property.”

Our Conservation Commission does not heed this recommendation, obviously looking through a different set of glasses.

Building an elevated walkway from a limited postage-stampsized parking area to encourage even more mistreatment to a worndown environmental habitat is being sightless. Give Hull Cove time to recover. Take a lesson from our National Park Service and close down overused endangered natural habitats. Don’t continue to misuse them.

Varoujan Karentz
Clarkes Village Lane

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