Think about the future

Thu, 07/29/2021 - 2:45pm

To the Editor,
Now is the time to think about the future of Block Island. How do we want Block Island to be known throughout the country? Recently it has been called a “party” island. Is this what we want it to be?
Recently, both sides of Corn Neck Road have been cluttered with parked cars, making those parts of the road dangerous to drive and walk on. Some have said that by 2050 the number of tourists to the island will double its present size.
Can the island support this number of people, mopeds and cars? How many is too many? This tight little island has reached its limits, and congestion will only increase as Block Island’s reputation as a major tourist attraction and “party” island continues.
Some tourist attractions, institutions, cities and establishments limit the number of people allowed to use their facilities, and recently some National Parks have put a cap on the number of visitors per day. This is for the good of the land and its supporting services. Cities like Barcelona and Venice are now limiting the number of people. And there have always been seaside parks and beaches that have limited the number of people that can visit each day, such as Plum Island near Cape Ann and Newburyport.

At the same time, Block Island has a large percentage of conservation land, likely the most in Rhode Island. It is a beautiful island that can be experienced through its Greenways. Is this what most people think of when Block Island is talked about? Could it be known as the Natural Land Island of the East Coast?

Block Island also has a rich emerging art colony. Could we make this part of the island’s recognized identity, so it becomes known as an artists’ community? If so, it could associate itself more closely with the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) so that one semester spent on Block Island
could be part of the RISD curriculum.

Block Island could also become known as a self-sustaining community with solar and wind energy as its main power sources and local food production for both residents and restaurants.

These are just a few ideas of what Block Island could be in the future. But if we do nothing, then the island will be defined not by us and will continue to be known as a “party” island.
Now is the time to define Block Island, to sustain it for present and future generations.

Jan Wampler
Sands Pond Road