Steve Medeiros was certainly one of a kind. He had an unmatched vision for how recreational saltwater anglers could band together and make a positive change. Much more than having a vision, Steve made this vision a reality by founding the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) and growing RISAA into “The Voice of Southern New England Fishermen”.
Steve did so much including establishing the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Foundation, Take a Kid Fishing Day, Youth Fishing Camp, the New England Saltwater Fishing Show, this RISAA Magazine, and many more activities which now continue to serve saltwater fishers. To honor Steve and all that he did for us, RISAA and the RI Department of Environmental Management have been working together to create a lasting memorial of Steve. Conor McManus, John Lake, and Lauren Miller Donnelly from RIDEM have been meeting with Greg Vespe and Rich Hittinger from RISAA on this issue.
We have selected the beautiful fishing area at Black Point as the location for this Memorial. RISAA and RIDEM have agreed on many of the following ideas, and we expect to begin implementing some of these items during 2022. The renaming of the area requires legislative approval, so this name is not yet official, but it is what RISAA has requested and has preliminary approval at RIDEM. Here are the ideas that we are discussing:
- Rename the area to “The Stephen J. Medeiros Memorial Fishing Park at Black Point”
- Add informational “Fish Signs” to help visitors identify fish that they may encounter at the area
- Add interpretive signage about the history of the park area and about Steve
- Addition of a second parking area south of the existing one at the end of Clarke Road
- Add signage to this second parking area
- Make improvements to the parking areas and trails
- Add benches to the trail areas near the water
As you can imagine, some of these ideas will take considerable money and time to complete, especially tasks such as repairing trails and diverting stormwater runoff. We will require design and construction services provided by professional organizations at considerable cost. RISAA has established a goal of raising $20,000 to contribute to these improvements in honor of Steve. We may be able to use this money to get matching funds from the Federal Sportfishing Restoration Fund or other sources. We can imagine an area where all RISAA members feel ownership and where we all feel at home.
The RIDEM team listed above are currently working on content for the Interpretive Signage and for the Fish Boards. They have agreed that there will be some tasks where volunteers can contribute their time, labor, materials and expertise, and so I ask that if you are interested in helping, please get in touch with Rich Hittinger at email@example.com and let us know how you can help.
If you are interested in helping with a tax-deductible donation to the RISA Foundation. please either contact Greg Vespe firstname.lastname@example.org or Rich Hittinger, or visit the Foundation Page and donate right now.