FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2022 (BOSTON) – On May 21, the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership will celebrate the opening of the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park for their summer season with Free Ferry Day during their landmark anniversaries: Boston Harbor Islands’ 25th anniversary as a National Park and 50th anniversary as a State Park. Free Ferry Day will kick off a summer filled with opportunities to visit the Islands and reconnect with nature. To learn more about where to get your free tickets and other opportunities throughout the summer, visit this website. [https://www.bostonharborislands.org/boston-harbor-islands-anniversary/]
Limited, first come-first serve free ferry tickets to experience the Islands will be available at Long Wharf North starting at 8 a.m. While waiting to step aboard your free ferry to Georges or Spectacle Island, engage with free family fun including art, music, and children’s activities from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. [https://www.bostonharborislands.org/event/free-ferry-day-may2022]
Communities along Boston Harbor worked for decades to revitalize what used to be one of the most polluted harbors in the country. As harbor renewal became a reality, the Partnership revolutionized access to these incredible spaces. Today, the harbor landscape is an urban oasis minutes from Boston’s center because of the unwavering collaborative spirit of the Partnership and other stewards.
Free Ferry Day is just one of the ways the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership supports equitable access to these public lands. Opening Day kicks off a season of summer programming designed to provide visitors with an opportunity to find their better nature. To learn more about these programming opportunities, visit the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership website. [https://www.bostonharborislands.org]
“On behalf of the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership, I am delighted that we are celebrating the anniversary of this state and national park,” said Fred Laskey, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s executive director and chair of the Partnership. “Who would have believed that the harbor would have rebounded so completely after so many decades of neglect, sparking a waterfront renaissance and making the Boston Harbor Islands such a magnificent resource.”
“The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is pleased to join our partners in committing to preserve the historic Boston Harbor Islands, something we are proud to highlight during this anniversary celebration,” said Acting DCR Commissioner Stephanie Cooper. “We know that they bring enjoyment to both Massachusetts residents and tourists each year. Moreover, DCR is committed to protecting all of the Commonwealth’s green spaces for the public’s benefit.”
The local, state, and federal parties that make up the Partnership have forged a great working relationship ensuring that the Islands will continue to thrive. Eleven different public agencies and organizations make up the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership, which collectively own and operate this unique urban park. The success of the park’s collaborative public private management structure has become a model for partnerships across the country.
The Islands’ state park designation in 1970 came with funding to purchase the private islands and make them public. The national park designation in 1996 leveraged federal, state, local and private funding to make significant investments in natural and cultural resource stewardship and in improving the visitor experience.
MWRA is an environmental and public health agency created in 1985 to end decades of pollution to Boston Harbor and modernize one of the country’s great water systems. Today, the Boston Harbor Cleanup is widely recognized as a national, environmental success story and the region’s drinking water is safe, reliable and tastes great. Day-to-day, MWRA employees operate and maintain hundreds of miles of water and sewer pipes, and dozens of other facilities that deliver water and collect and treat wastewater. Over 3 million people in eastern and central Massachusetts depend on MWRA for these vital services.
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is the largest landowner in the Commonwealth, managing close to 500,000 acres of property in the majority of the state’s 351 cities and towns, including parks, forests, beaches, historic sites, reservoirs, watersheds, campgrounds, dams, and recreational facilities. DCR’s mission is to protect, promote and enhance these natural, cultural, and leisure resources for the well-being and enjoyment of all residents and visitors. In meeting today’s responsibilities and planning for tomorrow, DCR’s focus is on: improving outdoor recreational opportunities; conserving natural resources; and, committing to climate change mitigation and adaptation.