The lifeguard ring on the back side of the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is there to help, just in case it's needed. Kathleen LeGrand of Portsmouth was the first to respond with the correct information. #MiddletownRI #SachuestPoint #CrownJewel
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“WHERE AM I?” ANSWER — MARCH 2023
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (MARCH 15, 2023) — Sometimes, there’s a happy story around local landmarks.
That can’t be said for the lifeguard ring on the back side of the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, the subject of this month’s “Where Am I?”
Unfortunately, the area has been the location of two drownings in recent years, signifying the danger of the beautiful scenic spot.
A bench next to the lifeguard ring is dedicated to
Gary Mathias, a popular chef at the Brick Alley Pub restaurant in Newport who was swept off the rocks while fishing in November 2011.
A second man — Joaquim Almeida of Central Falls — lost his balance while fishing in October 2019 and went into the water.
A U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service spokeswoman said it was unclear exactly when the lifeguard ring was installed along the Ocean View Loop, but it was within the last few years.
However, she said staff and volunteers take every opportunity to warn people who fish and visit the popular federal refuge at the end of Sachuest Point Road of the dangers of climbing on shoreline rocks around the 242-acre site.
Pamphlets and signs ask people to stay on the designated trails and inform visitors of the slippery, treacherous conditions in a number of spots.
Sachuest Point averages about 320,000 visitors annually. On nice days during the summer and weekends through the year, parking spaces are at a premium.
It is one of five federal refuges in Rhode Island overseen by the Fish & Wildlife Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Interior. Sachuest Point is often referred to as “the crown jewel” of the federal refuge system in The Ocean State.
In coming months, upgrades are planned to the Flint Point Trail at Sachuest Point to make it more accessible and create an additional resting area to look and listen to songbirds in the area.
“We are always thankful to our incredible volunteers that allow us to keep the visitor center open daily,” Fish & Wildlife spokeswoman Janis Nepshinsky said.
To learn more about Sachuest Point or volunteer, visit https://mdl.town/Sachuest or call 401-619-2680.
Document Link: https://www.middletownri.com/DocumentCenter/View/7847/WAI-Answer-March-23