Our Full Story
In 1958, a small group of surf fishermen who frequented East Beach and the Charlestown area beaches, banded together to form the first surf fishing organization in the area. At that time, the group chose RHODE ISLAND BEACH BUGGY ASSOCIATION (R.LB.B.A.) as its name. As time passed, and dune buggies grew in popularity, our name was changed to RHODE ISLAND MOBILE SPORTFISHERMEN, INC. (R.I.M.S.) This was done so that the public would not confuse our members with other groups that mainly were using dune buggies for racing, etc. It was a message to all that R.I.M.S. was an organization of fishermen dedicated to the preservation and conservation of our coastal resources. From the beginning, R.I.M.S. has been a family oriented club and still remains that today. Many of our present members are second generation and their children are now growing up on the beach. One of our goals is to keep the beaches open for our future generations. To realize this goal, R.LM.S. is a member of UNITED MOBILE SPORTFISHERMEN, INC. (U.M.S.), which is made up of similar groups spanning the East Coast from New England to North Carolina. It is important that these groups communicate with each other am work together to keep our beaches open by educating the public in the proper use of this valuable resource. R.LM.S. officers and members always seem to be in the forefront in the never ending battle with state and local officials and a variety of citizens groups to keep these last remaining natural beaches open to all. R.I.M.S. members have always been ready to spend time on conservation projects to help build up fragile dune areas along the Rhode Island shore.
These projects have become almost annual events. The first beach conservation project began in January of 1959, when a dozen members dragged approximately 300 used Christmas Trees onto East Beach and
place them in washed out areas on the beach face. By late Spring a new dune was growing from trapped sand that had blown and washed into these trees. In the following years, OPERA NON CHRISTMAS TREES grew and the placement of snow fence was added to strengthen the tree barriers. Soon, beach grass was filling in over the new dune lines. The CHRISTMAS TREE project became an annual family event that mushroomed beyond just using old trees for barriers and gained the participation of groups from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Some of the accomplishments from the efforts of these groups were:
- January 1968,40,000 Christmas Trees and three (3) miles of snow fence put in place along East Beach, Charlestown.
- April 1969, The beginning of beach grass transplanting on East Beach.
- April 1970, the beginning of planting Japanese Black Pine seedlings which were obtained by the state. This new concept in barrier beach protection and reforestation of the dune areas.
- Between 1972 and 1978, there, were over 30,000 Black Pine Seedlings planted on East Beach, Charlestown and Quonochontaug.
- Each year from 1979 and 1982, more Black Pine seedlings were planted. Also, poles and wire fencing was placed along the sand trails.
- RIMS worked on legislation to initiate National Beach Clean Up Day and each year has continued to gather volunteers from Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts to help clean the litter from the 'various South County beaches.
- RI.M.S. gained national recognition for its conservation projects in June of 1979, when R.I.M.S. received the American Motors Conservation Award. The award consisted of a citation, Bronze Plaque and $500.00 honorarium.
Club members voted to use the money for conservation projects only. The '80's were very productive years for R.I.M.S., as more and more we were being recognized by the public as being ready to get involved with any beach access and/or conservation issue that arose in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, i.e., Black Point and Cape Cod National Seashore. Case in point, the fight to maintain public access at Black Point in Narragansett during the late '80's. This area is still open today for use by the public, oceanography and marine biology studies and other activities.
Also R.I.M.S. became a member and/or gained representation on the Marine Fisheries Council of Rhode Island and Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs. We were represented in State studies to lateral access to the shore, and the Aquaculture of Narragansett Bay. It was during this decade that RIMS Park was developed and RI.M.S. Acquired additional property on Quonnie Beach.
R.I.M.S. has been in "full swing" achieving its goals:
- R.I.M.S. mortgage burned.
- RIMS Park completed.
- MEMORIAL dedicated to departed RI.M.S. members.
- Instrumental in the passage of an amendment to the Westerly Town Ordinance that requires. vehicular traffic. on the beach. These changes now clearly state the rights and responsibilities of the fishermen that use these areas.
- Fall 1992, R.I.M.S. aided the Rhode Island State Park Service with poles and wire installation on East Beach, Charleston.
- January 1993, aided with Christmas Tree and Snow Fence installation on East Beach, Watch Hill.
- March 1993, hosted the U.M.S. Spring meeting.
- April 1993, continued aiding Rhode Island State Park Service with the installation of poles and wire at East Beach, Charleston.
- May 1993, R.I.M.S. celebrated its 35 the Annual Meeting and Outing.
- Summer 1993, joined the Alliance of Rhode Island.
- November 1993, aided Rhode Island State Park Service with installation of poles and wire on East Beach.
- March 1994, again aided Rhode Island State Park Service with. Installation of poles and wire on East Beach.
Everyone who has taken part in these projects knows the good feeling they have enjoyed when they see the dunes being restored and protected. R.I.M.S. Beach Patrol is a vital committee and polices our members on the beach and helps' educate the public in the proper use of the beaches. The Beach Patrol also renders emergency aid to boaters, bathers and vehicles in distress. The patrol has assisted in search and rescue operations, as well as, civil preparedness alerts in conjunction with State and Local authorities.
- Joined Charlestown Chamber of Commerce
- Purchased Crandall Property
- Continued Beach Clean-up continuously
- Fish and Wildlife - regarding piping plovers -
training sessions, monitoring birds, keeping sand trail open for all property owners during nesting season.
- Properties surveyed
- Lifetime use of sand trail for members and guests of RIMS
- Replaced building on beach property that was destroyed by fire
- Affiliated with RISA, RAFT
- Continued Annual clean-up of Quonnie Beach property with other property owners
- Lobster/clambake reintroduced at beach party
- Joined with other fishing clubs for fishing tournaments
Honoring Our Past & Current Presidents
These members have shown their leadership, commitment, and dedication; making sacrifices in their personal lives to ensure the continued success of RIMS mission and purpose. To them, we offer a very special thank you on behalf of all Members.
- Dennis McGouran*
- Richard Rosebury*
- Roland Benoit
- Gene Briere*
- Ernest Anderson
- Donald Clark*
- Joseph Bourget
- Charlie Johnson*
- Richard Taylor*
- Tom Arnold*
- George Chesley
- Frank Rei*
- Bob Carpenter
- Bob Randall*
- Ray Jones*
- Art Noyes*
- James Milardo*
- Dave Fontaine
- Erik Rodge*
- Margaret Wilford
* Denotes more than one terms president
R.I.M.S. has many viable projects in the works and is always looking for members to get involved in these areas. If you are willing to help, please attend Board Meetings, the Annual Meeting and Spring Outing. Let's all help to continue our fight for conservation, preservation of our beaches and beach access for all.