Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Rhode Island State Parks May Require Reservations

CHARLESTOWN, RI, — The line formed around noon at the start of Memorial Day Weekend and nearly 12 hours later, RVs, motor homes and station wagons were still idling at the Burlingame State Campground, weighed down by piles of hiking gear and anchored at the gates by the dream that a tiny patch of woodland might be available for the night.

In the end, more than 5,000 campers were admitted to the state’s largest campground, spreading across 1,800 acres at more than 700 campsites, including 12 located beside automobile-sized power generators set up after a recent power failure.

But nearly 100 were still turned away, some after queuing for hours in cars packed with tents, sleeping bags and children promised a vacation of fishing and swimming at Watchaug Pond.

But by this time next year, that scramble — a summer routine played out at campgrounds throughout the state – may be a thing of the past. For the first time, the state Department of Environmental Management is planning to allow campers to reserve sites up to a year in advance.

“In this day and age, things have to be planned,” said Larry Mouradjian, associate director for natural resources management at the DEM. “We’ve received a lot of pleas to accept reservations.”
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