Park Planning: Boston Harbor Islands General Management Plan

The Boston Harbor Islands are part of the national park system and are managed by a Partnership of federal, state, and local officials and private non profits working under the guidance of a general management plan. The management plan establishes the philosophical underpinnings of park management for the next 15-20 years.

The final general management plan was endorsed by the Partnership and printed in 2002. An environmental impact statement (EIS) accompanies the general management pan. On October 17, 2005, the NPS Northeast Regional Director concluded the general management planning and environmental analysis by signing a record of decision. This is the first general management plan for the newly established Boston Harbor Islands national park area.


Purpose of the General Management Plan

The purpose of the general management plan is to clearly define the park's mission and management direction. It provides a foundation to guide and coordinate all subsequent planning and management. The purpose of the plan is also to ensure that this basic foundation for decision making has been developed by the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership in consultation with interested stakeholders and has been adopted by the National Park Service after adequate analysis of the benefits, environmental impacts, and economic costs of alternative courses of action. It acts as an agreement among the Partnership and between park managers and the public.

The plan is a policy-level document that provides guidance for park managers. It is not detailed, specific, or highly technical in nature. As the foundation for all subsequent planning and management, other plans tier off the general management plan. It provides a consistent framework for coordinating and integrating all the various types of park planning and implementation that are needed.

The general management plan takes the long view, 15 to 20 years into the future. The plan considers the park holistically, in its full cultural and ecological contexts: as a unit of the national park system and as a part of Boston Harbor, harbor communities, and the region. The primary action of this general management plan is to designate specific "management areas" for each area of the park. By designating these areas, the Partnership has prescribed the resource conditions and visitor experiences that should exist at Boston Harbor Islands and the reasons for these proposed conditions. The plan describes what the management areas mean in terms of broad direction for resource management, visitor use, and development of park facilities, or infrastructure. Taken as a whole, the management area prescriptions, the park policies, and other provisions of this plan meet the above legislative requirements.

Last updated: May 10, 2021

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