Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Stonington Increases Access to the Sound

Stonington, Connecticut, which is probably the most beautiful town on Long Island Sound, has a small but fascinating town dock where trawlers, most of them captained by descendants of the Portuguese fishermen who settled there, pull in to unload their catch and tie up three a-beam. I went there a couple of times years ago to interview fishermen. It’s not as big and busy as Point Judith, in Rhode Island, and I’m sure it doesn’t compare to New Bedford, Mass., where I’ve never been, but it’s an interesting place to poke around and glimpse an occupation that generally operates out of sight, and juxtaposed to the Greek Revival beauty of downtown Stonington, it’s especially satisfying.

When I was there I didn’t realize it wasn’t open to the public. But now it’s not only open, it’s much more accessible, including accessible to the handicapped. A number of public and private sources have pooled money to improve the dock and make it more welcoming. The idea behind it is as simple as can be:

“Fishing has been the heart and soul of what this community is all about. We have worked hard to preserve the commercial fleet, but what was missing was an area where the public could observe the fishing fleet or do some fishing themselves,” said U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, who grew up near the dock and still lives less than a mile away.

No more, no less – a place where you can look at fishing boats and fish yourself, if you want. Some communities welcome the public to the shores of the Sound, others don't.


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