CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (AP) _ Rhode Island environmental officials are temporarily closing an off-road vehicle trail through the East Beach-Ninigret Conservation Area to help protect a nesting shorebird.
Robert Paquette, chief of Rhode Island state parks, says the two-mile trail is closed except to pedestrian traffic as of Monday afternoon to protect nesting piping plovers. East Beach remains open and can be accessed from the main parking lot.
Paquette says the decision to close the trail to vehicles was made in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is scheduled to reopen on or before Aug. 1.
Officials say Superstorm Sandy changed the birds' beach habitat. There are now "over-wash'' areas on East Beach that provide access for the birds, and piping plover chicks are feeding and taking refuge along the trail.