The New Shoreham Police Department recently launched its Lend-a-Vest for Safety program, which makes orange vests available to hikers during hunting season at 10 of Block Island’s most popular trails.

The program is underwritten by the Mary D Fund and coordinated by the New Shoreham Police Department in collaboration with the Nature Conservancy and the Block Island Land Trust. Students from the Block Island School helped to install the vest stations and will be monitoring the stations, replenishing supplies, and sanitizing the vests regularly.

“Hunting and hiking are two of Block Island’s favorite outdoor activities and a simple navigational mistake could put a hunter on or near a popular hiking trail,” said Matthew C. Moynihan, New Shoreham Chief of Police. “During hunting season, people should wear orange, make noise when hunters are present and be especially careful at dawn and dusk. The Lend-a-Vest stations at each trail will be stocked with orange vests for people to borrow while hiking. We are grateful for the generous support of the Mary D Fund and our partnership with the Nature Conservancy and the Block Island Land Trust.”

“We appreciate that our students have a hands-on role in the Lend-a-Vest for Safety program and this opportunity to learn about a career in public safety,” said Robert Gerardi, Jr., Superintendent of the Block Island School in a statement. “Real-world experiences that enhance our in-school curriculum are valuable and we are grateful to Mary D and the New Shoreham Police Department for including our students in this program.”

“Thank you to Chief Moynihan and our NSPD for Block Island’s innovative new Lend-a-Vest for Safety Program! The Mary D Fund is so happy and proud to fund this important safety program designed to keep Block Islanders and all who visit safe to enjoy our nature trails,” said Marguerite and Mary Donnelly. “We thank Chief Moynihan for also creating an opportunity for our Block Island High School Students to work together with our NSPD to implement Lend -a-Vest for Safety Program. We are always better together!”

Lend-a-Vest stations are highly visible orange mailboxes and are located near the entrance of the following trails:

  • Black Rock
  • Clay Head Trail
  • Fresh Pond Greenway
  • Fresh Pond Preserve
  • Fresh Swamp and Payne Farm Trail 
  • Harrison Trail 
  • Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve
  • Rodman’s Hollow
  • Settler’s Rock
  • Turnip Farm

The trails were selected based on their popularity and proximity to lands that are hunted regularly. In each station, there are orange vests for use while hiking. Borrowers are asked to return the items at the end of their hike. Vests are available for lending at the New Shoreham Police Department and can be returned there as well.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).