• 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

Carrying Capacity Guidelines

The Boston Harbor Island Partnership planning committee prepared a carrying capacity implementation and monitoring guideline for the park. It is based on resource and social research in order to utilize a scientific carrying capacity framework. The concepts of the plan have been endorsed by the Partnership.

Establishing both a social and ecological carrying capacity is essential to providing guidance on acceptable visitor use management, from closure (to protect rare species, wildlife habitat, and other sensitive areas), or use dispersal (such as hiking and camping), to concentrating use (such as high density visitation with developed facilities) for the long-term protection and preservation of the natural characteristics of the islands. The plan establishes what levels of use are appropriate in different areas of the park to provide quality visitor experiences and to protect resources, all within the framework of management areas delineated in the general management plan.

» Research to Support Carrying Capacity Analysis at Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area (Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR-2006/064). Study photographs in Appendix C illustrate a key feature of the study. [PDFs]

» Research to Support Development of Resource Indicators and Standards for Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) Implementation in Boston Harbor Islands, A National Park Area (Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management North Carolina State University, May 2004) [PDF]

Did You Know?

View from Spectacle Island

Spectacle Island has had one of the most colorful histories of all of the Boston Harbor Islands. Once used as a dumping ground for the city of Boston, Spectacle Island now stands as a symbol of "renewal and reconnection" with over five miles of hiking trails and a solar-assisted visitor center. More...