Friends of the Waterfront (FOW) is a grass roots 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1982 by concerned Newport citizens to insure continued public access to the Newport harbor front and shoreline. The major areas of concern at that time are with us today.
On Newport Harbor developers continually attempted to overrun public access for their business use, and to block nearly all access to the waterfront. On Cliff Walk, the City had completely abandoned its obligation to staff its Cliff Walk Commission. Both these enduring public access pathways can be traced back to the colonial era.
Thanks to the hard work and funding by FOW volunteers over the years, most areas of the Newport waterfront are publicly accessible, and the Cliff Walk Commission is fully staffed. FOW led the battle to insure the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) designated Newport shoreline points of public rights-of-way to the tidal waters. These rights-of-way on the Harbor and Cliff Walk are of great value to the city, the state and the nation and must continue to be protected. CRMC Public Rights-of-Way
To protect public access to the water
To preserve historical uses, rights of way, and waterfront views
To help foster the development of Newport, RI's shoreline and harbor front areas in ways that maximize public access
The Newport Harbor Walk was originally conceived by Friends of the Waterfront 40 years ago when concern that heavy development would block public access to this historic waterfront. Thanks to the work of FOW, most of these areas are still accessible. The FOW Public Harbor Walk signage and the URI Sea Grant map will help keep you on course to make your trek down all these historic wharves along the 2.5 mile Harbor Walk.
Read more about Newport Harbor Walk