The Block Island Times

Town and BIRA work toward maintaining dunes

Snow fencing plan offered
By Lars Trodson | Nov 22, 2013

Days after the Conservation Commission faced off with Road Crew Chief Mike Shea about whether snow fencing was the best way to preserve the island’s sand dunes, Shea issued a memorandum to the commission and to the Block Island Residents Association (BIRA) outlining his thoughts on where he felt snow fencing could best be used along the beach.

BIRA president Bill Penn said Shea’s plan came about because, at the Nov. 12 Conservation Commission, “it appeared we were at different directions as to when or if to install snow fencing. Mike then came back with a compromise on how to repair the snow fencing that was put in last spring.”

This compromise plan was discussed and approved at the BIRA meeting of Saturday. Nov. 16, said Penn. “The plan will be implemented with the cooperation of the Conservation Commission,” he said. Conservation Commission Chair Ed Phillips will investigate just how much new snow fencing will be needed for the suggested repairs.

“We’ve already purchased 12 rolls for [the area around] the Beach Pavilion,” said Penn. “We need to figure out how much more we’ll need and what the costs will be.”

BIRA members and island residents volunteered on several occasions in the spring to install snow fencing at the dunes after they had been ravaged by Hurricane Sandy late last year.

The details of Shea’s plan are:

  • Install fencing from the access path across from the gas station north to the repaired breakwall. “This will delineate a high traffic path and also close off a path that has been created at the monument between the gas station and the Beachead (Restaurant),” wrote Shea.
  • Install fencing above the monument to close the access path of the road side of the dune. (Penn said that this unauthorized path has been created over time by island visitors and needs to be closed.)
  • Repair Baby Beach access path fencing.
  • Repair Beach Pavilion south parking lot access path fencing.
  • Install fencing at the south and north side of the Town Beach Pavilion.
  • Repair north parking lot access to path fencing.
  • Repair fencing at access paths 1, 2 and three along Corn Neck Road. (Penn said these are access points just north of the parking lot of the Beach Pavilion.)
  • Install more fencing at Scotch Beach to narrow the access path. (Penn said that the width of the access path in that area needs to be narrowed. Vehicles will still be able to get on the beach, Penn said.)
  • Install fencing just north of Scotch Beach up to a private residence. (Penn said this area suffered severe destruction during Sandy.)

Shea also said that the Highway Department will complete the following projects along Corn Neck Road, from south to north, in March and April of 2014:

  • Open a seasonal 8-foot wide gap path across from the Beachead Restaurant.
  • Install matting walkways over repaired dunes across from the Solviken and Beachead properties (at two or three locations).
  • Install posts, ropes and signage from Baby Beach to Town Beach Pavilion
  • Install posts, ropes and signage from Beach Pavilion to Scotch Beach.
  • Install posts, roped and signage at Mansion Beach access from approximately 300 feet to the south and 200 feet from the North.

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