|Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area|
Spectacle Island, in Boston Harbor, and part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Behind Spectacle Island is Thompson Island.
|Location||Norfolk, Plymouth, and Suffolk counties, Massachusetts|
|Nearest city||Boston, Massachusetts|
|Area||1,482 acres (6.00 km2)|
|Established||November 12, 1996|
|Governing body||Boston Harbor Islands Partnership which includes the National Park Service together with other federal, state, city, and nonprofit agencies.|
|Website||Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area|
The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is a National Recreation Area situated among the islands of Boston Harbor of Boston, Massachusetts. The area is made up of a collection of islands, together with a former island and a peninsula, many of which are open for public recreation and some of which are very small and best suited for wildlife. The area is run by the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership. It includes the Boston Harbor Islands State Park, managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Twenty-one of the 34 islands in the area are also included in the Boston Harbor Islands Archeological District.
Attractions include hiking trails, beaches, the Civil War-era Fort Warren on Georges Island and Boston Light on Little Brewster Island, the oldest lighthouse in the United States. Georges Island and Spectacle Island are served seasonally by ferries to and from Boston and Quincy, connecting on weekends and summer weekdays with a shuttle boat to several other islands, Hull, and Hingham.
In 1996, there was a project proposal by Boston's mayor Tom Menino and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Clifford A. Goudey to revitalize the aquaculture and fish population in Boston Harbor. This would have involved using the old tanks and granite canals on Moon Island.
Two islands (Castle Island and Spinnaker Island) in Boston Harbor are not part of the National Recreation Area, and other former islands (e.g. Apple Island, Governors Island and Noddle's Island) were obliterated by the formation of East Boston and the expansion of Logan International Airport before the area was designated.
The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is managed by the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership, a statutory body established as a federal operating committee by the park enabling legislation. The partnership consists of individual members who represent a range of federal, state, city, and nonprofit agencies, including:
In addition, the Partnership includes representation from the Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council, whose purpose is to make recommendations to the Partnership about park management. There are 13 Partners in total, together with 13 Alternates. Apart from the representative for the Coast Guard, who is appointed by the Secretary of Homeland Security, all the members of the partnership are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior after consultation with the appropriate agency or other body.
In practice, day-to-day management of each individual island or other site is the responsibility of one of the partner agencies or other bodies. The partnership provides a consistency and coordination across the whole park.
The park was developed from the 1970s by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management (DEM). In 1996, the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area was created, including the State Park's islands and many others. However, due to the unusual partnership management arrangements of the National Recreation Area, the State Park still exists as a low profile administrative entity. It is now managed by the DEM's successor, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, from a park headquarters near to the ferry terminal in Hingham.
The islands of the Boston Harbor Islands State Park are:
Boston Harbor Cruises offers ferry service from Long Wharf at Christopher Columbus Park to Georges and Spectacle Islands. Free service is available between Georges and Spectacle, as well as between the other islands. Summer service is also available from Hingham Shipyard and Hull to Georges Island via Grape, Bumpkin, and Lovells Islands. (These services are separate from MBTA Boat harbor ferries.)
Thompson Island is only open to the public on Sundays during the summer. It is served by a ferry leaving from both Spectacle Island and the EDIC dock on Terminal Street in South Boston, operated by the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center.
Private boats can dock (with various restrictions) at Spectacle, Grape, Bumpkin, Lovells, and Peddocks Islands. The public dock on Georges Island was recently condemned by engineers, although access is still available by making anchor off shore and using a dinghy to row ashore.
Deer Island, Nut Island, Worlds End, and Webb Memorial are accessible by road from the mainland. Moon Island and Long Island are not open to the public; though Moon Island is accessible by road from Quincy, access is controlled by a police guard station at the beginning of the causeway on the Squantum peninsula. The causeway from Moon Island to Long Island was demolished in 2015 and it is no longer accessible by road.
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