Cliff Walk repairs

Responsible Parties

Rhode Island Department of Transportation

Army Corp of Engineers

Coastal Resource Management Council

On the Ground

Clean Ocean Access

How You Can Help

Local?  Get involved. Volunteer with Clean Ocean Access

Not local?  Stay informed.  Visit www.cleanoceanaccess.org

Donate to Save The Waves

Related Articles

Wall Street Journal Article

Surfline article

More Information


Background Information

Historic Newport, Rhode Island, home to million dollar water front mansions and the famous Cliff Walk that encircles the island, is now also home to a fight to preserve the surfing wave at Ruggles. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has submitted plans to perform repairs to the damaged Cliff Walk that if allowed could spell the demise of the world class waves at Ruggles.

The Coastal Resource Management Council has the final approval of any plans submitted to repair the walkway. Damage from Hurricane Sandy has created a legitimate need for repairs to 2.5 miles of the Cliff Walk that is south facing and took the brunt of Hurricane Sandy’s storm energy.   RIDOT’s plans break the stretch of the Cliff Walk that needs repairs into 27 different zones, one of which is the section fronting the surf break at Ruggles.  If permitted and enacted, these plans introduce solutions that could negatively impact the quality of the waves.

Some say that the problem does not require such a drastic solution and that the plans are a bit over engineered.  But most would agree that a plan is needed that restores the Cliff Walk because it plays a fundamental role in the local tourist economy, holds a significant place in local history, and provides access for all to a incredibly beautiful stretch of coastline.  There are many people working to ensure that the plans chosen to repair the Cliff Walk do not threaten the waves at Ruggles.  To get involved, contact COA.

For more information visit www.cleanoceanaccess.org.




On Wednesday, April 10, the Newport city council held a meeting to address repairs to the historic Cliff Walk and their impact on the waves at Ruggles.  To the satisfaction of many, the council last night passed the resolution 6-0 with the original resolve “that the CRMC (Coastal Resource Management Council) is urged to review its plans to ensure that the Ruggles Avenue Surf break remains uninterrupted and that the reef habitat is not harmed during or after Cliff walk repairs”.

On Friday, April 12, Clean Ocean Access will participate in a meeting with Rhode Island Department of Transportation and The Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the plans for Cliff Walk repairs.  COA has 2 representatives attending the meeting, which is a public meeting and everyone is welcome to attend.

While this in no way spells the end of the efforts to preserve the wave at Ruggles, it is a moment of good fortune for those working towards that end.  If you want to see the waves at Ruggles preserved permanently, get involved today.  Protect your waves.  Contact COA and volunteer.

For more information visit www.cleanoceanaccess.org.

You can also click here to read more on the fight for Ruggles.


April 15, 2013 UPDATE

Saving Ruggles…

The process of protecting a wave never ends.  The work is never done.  Ruggles has been spared for today, thanks in no small part to the quick thinking, motivation, and action of a group of Newport residents.  The meeting held on Friday, April 12, 2013 with RIDOT, Clean Ocean Access, the ACOE, and the public was a great start to the next phase of saving Ruggles.

While there are still some seeking more clarity in the language of the resolution passed by the city council with respect to how Cliff Walk repairs are carried out, one step forward that cannot be overlooked is the willingness of RIDOT to involve these concerned citizens in the process of planning the Cliff Walk repairs.  So rarely is this step taken in discussions about preserving surfing waves, yet it is so critical to arriving at a solution that is mutually beneficial for all.

On Friday, April 12, RIDOT listened to recommendations for the repairs to the cliff walk.  A unifying theme in those recommendations was no use of armour stone and no use of jetties.   After hearing those concerns, RIDOT endeavored to revamp their plans with these considerations in mind and then allow time for Newport residents to review the revised plans before moving forward.  We commend the leadership at RIDOT for taking this step.

Those working on saving Ruggles are eagerly awaiting the new revised plans from RIDOT, which are expected within the next 2-3 weeks.  The next city council meeting is slated for Wednesday, April 24.  Stay tuned for more information on saving Ruggles in the next 2 weeks.

For more information on the Cliff Walk repairs, visit www.cleanoceanaccess.org

You can also click here for more information from Save The Waves.

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