Boston Harbor Islands: A Partnership Park

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Mission and Purpose

The mission of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is to make the Boston Harbor Islands system—with opportunities for education, recreation, and restful solitude within an urban area—an integral part of the life of the region and the nation by protecting the islands and their associated resources while at the same time improving public knowledge and access.

 
Picnic tables line the rocky edge of a grassy area that meets the ocean. Blue sky with puffy clouds.
Spectacle Island. NPS.

The above mission describes the management philosophy for the Boston Harbor Islands national park area and what the park is to be like in the future. It reflects the park's purpose and significance, derived from the park's enabling legislation. The purpose of Boston Harbor Islands national park area is:

  • to preserve and protect a drumlin island system within Boston Harbor, along with associated natural, cultural, and historic resources

  • to tell the islands' individual stories and to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the island system as a whole

  • to provide public access, where appropriate, to the islands and surrounding waters for the education, enjoyment, and scientific research of this and future generations

 

Significance

By its configuration, assemblage of natural, geologic, cultural, and historic features, and proximity to a major metropolitan area, the Boston Harbor Islands system offers a resource that has no parallel in the United States. The primary significance of the park's resources resides in:

  • the only drumlin field in the United States that intersects a coast, formed by the glaciers some 15,000 years ago

  • opportunities for solitude and personal renewal, and land- and water-based education and recreation within an urban area

  • an island complex composed of 1,200 acres of land, archeological resources, historic sites, open space, wildlife habitats, and 35 miles of relatively undeveloped shoreline; all inside an area of 50 square miles

Contributing to the significance of the park are:

  • archeological resources dating from thousands of years of occupation of the islands by American Indians

  • three National Historic Landmarks—Boston Light, Fort Warren, and Long Wharf—and other historic sites resulting from Euro-American use

  • complex natural communities adapted to coastal and island life

 
Graphic of Boston Light. Text reads, Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park.

Boston Harbor Islands Partnership

Boston Harbor Islands is managed collaboratively as a partnership park. Eleven different agencies make up the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership, which serves as the federally legislated body that oversees the park's management. Each of these agencies carry out operational goals to provide for visitor experiences and preserve resources within the park.

The Boston Harbor Islands Partnership represents a range of federal, state, city, and nonprofit agencies. The Partnership coordinates the activities of the managers of the islands in the development and implementation of a management plan for their islands and the national park as a whole.

The Partnership was established as a federal operating committee by the park's enabling legislation. Each year the Partnership elects a chairperson and vice-chairperson. Among their leadership duties are calling and presiding over meetings and appointing committees. Bylaws guide the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership.

Planning is conducted by the Partnership planning committee, which holds meetings monthly. The committee has begun work on a resource stewardship plan and several other implementation plans that will chart the course for implementing the management plan in the near term. Sub-committees work on specific issues and bring recommendations to the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership through the planning committee.

» Boston Harbor Islands Partnership Charter
» Boston Harbor Islands Partnership Bylaws

Boston Harbor Islands Partnership Organizational Model:

  • Federal
    • National Park Service
    • United States Coast Guard
  • State
    • Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
    • Massachusetts Water Resource Authority
    • Massachusetts Port Authority
  • Municipal
    • Boston Planning and Development Agency
    • City of Boston
  • Private/Non-Profit
    • Boston Harbor Now
    • The Trustees of Reservations
    • Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center
  • Advisory Council

The most current and up-to-date trip planning and park status information can be found at our partnership website.

Partnership Members

Twelve members are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, one member is appointed by the Commandant of Coast Guard. The member organizations are represented by voting partners and voting alternates.

 
Brown arrowhead with green tree, white bison, white-capped mountain, and lake. White text reads: National Park Service.

National Park Service

  • Michael Creasey

  • Voting Alternate - vacant

 
Yellow anchors crossed across United State Coast Guard seal.

United States Coast Guard

  • CAPT Eric Doucette

  • CDR Elisa Garrity - Voting Alternate

 
Grey letters "DCR" over grey leaves in maroon background.

Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation

  • vacant
  • Priscilla Geigis
  • Susan Hamilton - Voting Alternate

  • Susan Kane - Voting Alternate

 
White text "massport" and white bridge on purple background.

Massachusetts Port Authority

  • Andrew Hargens

  • Stewart Dalzell - Voting Alternate

 
Black and white striped water droplet. Alternating black and white stripes create background.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

  • Chairman Fred Laskey

  • Voting Alternate - vacant

 
Black and white, laurels wrapped around skyline of Boston. Text reads: "Bostonia condita AD 1630"

City of Boston

  • vacant

  • Christopher Cook - Voting Alternate

 
Turquoise square shapes on a blue background.

Boston Planning & Development Agency

  • Richard McGuinness

  • Chris Busch - Voting Alternate

 
Black compass with 8 directional points.

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center

  • Arthur Pearson

  • Voting Alternate - vacant

 
Green background, with large white T; text reads, "trustees."

The Trustees of Reservations

  • vacant

  • Jocelyn Forbush - Voting Alternate

 
Blue and yellow text reads "Boston Harbor Now." The "O" in Now has a block image of Boston light in black.

Boston Harbor Now

  • Kathy Abbott

  • Voting Alternate - vacant

 
Black, white, and blue block image of Boston Light. Text reads: Boston Harbor Islands in white and orange.

Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council (not currently chartered)

Last updated: October 27, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

15 State Street
4th Floor

Boston , MA 02109

Phone:

617 223-8666

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