This year, we hosted more than 24,600 visitors on free cruises around Boston Harbor and trips to the Boston Harbor Islands.
Free access is central to our mission at Boston Harbor Now. Our Islands and Harbor are unique natural assets that should be available for all of us to enjoy; yet the transportation needed to fully enjoy them is too often inaccessible to Boston residents, especially as many residents face hardships in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to address this challenge by dedicating considerable resources to free transportation opportunities that Boston residents can use to enjoy the waterfront, Islands, and Harbor.
At the beginning of 2021, encouraged by the growing availability of COVID-19 vaccines and improving public safety, we began to expect a more “approaching normal” Boston Harbor Island season in activity and attendance. While we didn’t reach pre-pandemic numbers, we saw nearly 42,000 people visit the Boston Harbor Islands by public ferry between June and September–a large increase over 2020. Of those visits, we were delighted to offer 24,600 at no cost whatsoever! We continue to expand our capacity to offer these free access opportunities and look forward to contributing to public enjoyment of our natural resources in 2022.
As we reminisce, we are particularly thankful that we were able to organize of a series Community Cruises for residents of specific Boston communities this year including the Asian American Pacific Islander community, the community of East Boston, and Mattapan.
Boston Harbor Now’s 2021 Free Access opportunities were made possible through contributions from public and private partners including: Boston Harbor City Cruises, Bay State Cruises, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the National Park Service. We give special thanks to the Cummings Foundation, Eastern Bank Foundation, M&T Bank, WS Development Seaport, and Anonymous, along with many other generous funders, for their support in connecting underserved communities to Boston Harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park.