• Lush vegetation on the top of Spectacle Island's North drumlin dominates the foreground. Boston's skyline can be seen in the distance.  The park's logo with tag line minutes away, worlds apart empashises the stark contrast between the city and islands.

    Boston Harbor Islands

    National Recreation Area Massachusetts

Island Facts: Moon Island

This island serves as a firefighter training facility and police firing range.


Short History
Like many of the islands, Moon was farmed by colonists then abandoned. Beginning in the late 1800s, Moon served as the terminus for Boston's then state-of-the-art sewer system and as the site of Boston’s garbage reclamation plant. The garbage reclamation plant was relocated to Spectacle Island in 1912 and the sewage treatment plant closed in the 1970s. In 1959 and 1960 the island was selected for training centers for fire and police protection, which are still operational today.


General Information
This island of Boston Harbor Islands national park area is managed by City of Boston.

Agency Designation: Boston Fire Department Training Facility; Boston Police Department Firing Range
Current Use: Public safety purposes
Harbor Location: Quincy Bay
Acreage: 45.70 upland acres
Highest elevation: 98 feet
Longitude: 42° 18' 20.9" North
Latitude: 70° 59' 06.4" West
Miles from Long Wharf: 5.5
Visitor Facilities & Services
Access is restricted to city personnel. No docking. Boaters must anchor off shore.
Not open for recreational use
Visitor season:
Boat slips:
Visitor staff:
Guided tours:
Park boats:
Car access:
Flush toilets:
0 (capacity ea: 0)
Composting toilets:
Group campsites:
0 (capacity ea: 0)
Picnic areas:
Camping capacity:
Cooking grills:
Drinking water:
Walking trails:
On-island Circulation: ACCESS IS RESTRICTED. A 4,175-foot causeway extends from Squantum; 2,500-foot road connects causeways from Squantum and to Long Island viaduct. Moon Island has a 2,850-foot secondary road for administrative use.

Visitor Cautions: PUBLIC ACCESS IS PROHIBITED. The island is used for fire training and a police firing range.
Natural History Overview
Meadow grasses; hardwood; sumac groves.

The drumlin at the center of the island rises to an elevation of 98 feet. At low tide extensive mudflats surround the island.

Water Features
A 19th century sewage treatment facility was constructed with four tanks-each is 900 feet long, 150 feet wide, 17 feet deep. They are separated by walls approximately seven feet thick at the base. The facility is no longer in use. A water system for the fire training facility are in place, as well as water pipes to Long Island.

Views and Vistas
Views from the island include Downtown Boston, Quincy, Hangman, Long, and Peddocks Islands.
  • Firefighters' training building
  • Police firing range headquarters
  • Building foundations
  • None
Other Structures
  • Pier remnants - north and south shores
  • 19th century sewage disposal tanks
  • Granite seawall
  • Rip rap - northern and western shores
Alternate Names
Island names have changed, depending on ownership and the customs of the times. What's in a Name? lists alternate names for park islands (and a few Harbor islands not within the park). Following is another known name for Moon Island:
  • Half Moon Island

Did You Know?

Bembidion nigrpiceum

Scientists have recently identified a beach-dwelling ground beetle at Boston Harbor Islands that has not been seen in North America for over 100 years. It is believed the beetle, Bembmidion nigropiceum, was brought to Boston from Europe in the 1800s via ship ballasts.