QUONOCHONTAUG BEACH 
CONSERVATION AREA
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Vehicle  Restrictions

REGULATIONS
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Quonochontaug Beach Conservation Commission
Regulations re: Sand Trail, Access to and Parking for 
Quonochontaug Barrier Beach Properties



 The Sand Trail

1.The Sand Trail is not a public road and runs through private property. Property owners on Quonochontaug Beach have walking and vehicular access to their properties over the Sand Trail at all times. Residents of Shelter Harbor and Shady Harbor Fire Districts may access the parking and beach areas leased to them by the Weekapaug Fire District.

2.The Sand Trail ends on Lot 74 owned by RIMS at the easterly end of the Beach and does not provide access to the State property other than for State vehicles, which have a prescriptive easement. That easement does not extend to the public at large because the State property was condemned in the 1950s for maintenance of the jetty and channel and not for recreational use. Also, access to the State property requires crossing private property belonging to NICA, and NICA has not given its consent to such access for recreational use.

3.Pursuant to the Consent Judgment and Easement (1998) between the Weekapaug Fire District and the Town of Westerly, members of the public may walk on the Sand Trail at any time insofar as it runs through Weekapaug Fire District property so long as the use is consistent with the conservation of the area. The Sand Trail does not provide access to the Beach or Quonochontaug Pond without the consent of the Weekapaug Fire District, so walkers must stay on the Sand Trail unless access is otherwise permitted.

4.A. Pursuant to the Consent Judgment and Easement (1998) members of the public may drive vehicles on the Sand Trail through Fire District Property for purposes of fishing during the period after Labor Day and before Memorial Day provided that (a) the vehicles are equipped with 4-wheel drive or are sand equipped vehicles; (b) the vehicles stay on the Sand Trail and do not park on or block the Sand Trail; (c) the vehicles comply with applicable rules and regulations of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (as published in its “Beaches and Trails of Southern Rhode Island, Regulations & Information pamphlet), the Rhode lsland Department of Environmental Management and the Town of Westerly; and (d) the use of the Sand Trail is consistent with the preservation of the Beach in its natural state. Members of the public using the Sand Trail may not access any Fire District or other property on the Beach by foot or by vehicle unless access is otherwise permitted. Regulations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must be followed. Parking is prohibited on either side of the entire length of the Sand Trail.

B. By permission of the Weekapaug Fire District, between September 15 and June 
15 members of the public engaged in fishing may use the Sand Trail on its property as set forth in Section 4A, and there are designated Weekapaug Fire District lots for parking.

5.Motorcycles, mini-bikes, snowmobiles and non-police ATVs are prohibited on the Sand Trail and otherwise.

6.All vehicles using the Sand Trail are required to display R.I.C.R.M.C. beach vehicle permits per R.I.C.R.M.C. regulations except for vehicles with identification from NICA, Weekapaug Fire District, RIMS and other property owners or lessees on the Beach.

7.Vehicles are not permitted on the beach face at any time.



 Quonochontaug Beach

1.Between June 15 and September 15, the portion of Quonochontaug Beach owned by the Weekapaug Fire District may be used only by Weekapaug residents and their guests, and by Shelter Harbor and Shady Harbor Fire District residents and guests in the leased areas. Swimming is permitted only in designated areas where there is a lifeguard on duty. From 6PM to 9AM, fishermen/women may access the coastline over Fire District boardwalks for surf fishing, and clammers may access the Pond for clamming. Persons shall surf cast only at a safe distance from swimmers and others on the Beach.

2.Between September 15 and June 15, members of the public may have access to and walk on the Beach for nature walks over designated Weekapaug Fire District boardwalks; there shall be no swimming. Fishermen/women may access the coastline over designated Weekapaug Fire District boardwalks for surf fishing, and clammers may access the Pond for clamming. 

3.NICA owns much of the Beach east of the Weekapaug Fire District property. This is a conservation area and a fragile environment. At no time are vehicles permitted on NICA property other than the Sand Trail. NICA permits walking on its property for nature walks. NICA, Weekapaug and Shelter Harbor Fire Districts, and other property owners may establish additional rules for conservation of the Beach.  




  Parking

1.Between June 15 and September 15, parking on Weekapaug Fire District property is restricted to Weekapaug residents, who must have a resident’s vehicle parking sticker, except as follows: between 6PM and 9AM, short-term parking is permitted in designated Weekapaug Fire District lots for purposes of fishing, clamming, or nature walks. Westerly residents shall park in the designated lot off Spray Rock Road between 7AM and 6PM. Overnight parking is prohibited.

2.Between September 15 and June 15, members of the public may park for a short term in the Weekapaug Fire District parking lots, including Shelter Harbor and Shady Harbor lots for purposes of fishing, clamming or nature walks. Parking also is available in designated Town parking areas for fishing and Sand Trail walks.
Overnight parking is prohibited.

3.On occasion, special events at the Beach, at the Weekapaug Yacht Club, or the Weekapaug Inn bathhouse property might affect parking availability.



 Other

1.These rules and regulations may be superseded by regulations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service relating to the protection of endangered and protected species, State statutes or regulations, or ordinances of the Towns of Westerly and Charlestown restricting the use of Beach properties.

2.Swimming is not allowed except in areas overseen by a lifeguard for the benefit of residents of the Weekapaug, Shelter Harbor and Shady Harbor Fire Districts and their guests.

3.The following are prohibited on the Beach: alcohol, breakable containers, smoking or vaping, fireworks, or trash left behind.

4.Kites, drones or other flying objects shall not be flown near swimmers.

5.Camping and extended parking are not allowed at any time.

6.Open fires are prohibited as are contained fires, such as charcoal grills.

7.Persons shall not traverse or walk on the dunes except on those paths clearly designated as access routes to the Beach or Quonochontaug Pond. Destruction or removal of signs, fencing or other dune-protection of stabilization devices are prohibited.

8.Dogs are not allowed on Weekapaug, Shelter Harbor and Shady Harbor beaches per Weekapaug Fire District restrictions. Between March 15 and September 15, dogs are not allowed near any endangered species nesting areas per the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations.

9.Hunting is prohibited.

10.Owners of property on the Beach reserve the right to adjust these regulations due to public health, beach management, or environmental considerations. 

QBCC 2021