The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is a National Recreation Area situated among the islands of Boston Harbor of Boston, Massachusetts. The area is made up of a collection of islands, together with a former island and a peninsula, many of which are open for public recreation and some of which are very small and best suited for wildlife. The area is run by the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership. It includes the Boston Harbor Islands State Park.
Attractions include hiking trails, beaches, the Civil War-era Fort Warren on Georges Island and Boston Light on Little Brewster Island, one of the oldest lighthouses in the nation. Georges Island and Spectacle Island are served seasonally by ferries to and from Boston and Quincy, connecting on weekends and summer weekdays with a shuttle boat to several other islands, Hull, and Hingham.
The Boston Harbor Islands National National Recreation Area is made up of a series of discrete islands and other places on and around Boston Harbor. These include:
- Bumpkin Island, Button Island
- Calf Island
- Deer Island
- Gallops Island, Georges Island, Grape Island, Great Brewster Island, Green Island
- Hangman Island
- Langlee Island, Little Brewster Island, Little Calf Island, Long Island, Lovells Island
- Middle Brewster Island, Moon Island
- Nixes Mate, Nut Island
- Outer Brewster Island
- Peddocks Island
- Raccoon Island, Ragged Island, Rainsford Island
- Sarah Island, Shag Rocks, Sheep Island, Slate Island, Snake Island, Spectacle Island
- The Graves, Thompson Island
- Webb Memorial Park, World's End
Two islands (Castle Island and Spinnaker Island) in Boston Harbor are not part of the National Recreation Area, and two former islands (Apple Island and Governors Island) were obliterated by Logan International Airport before the area was designated.
The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is managed by the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership, a statutory body established as a federal operating committee by the park enabling legislation. The partnership consists of individual members who represent a range of federal, state, city, and nonprofit agencies, including:
Additionally the partnership includes members representing the Island Alliance, a fund-raising body dedicated to raising funds for the National Recreation Area, and the Boston Harbor Islands Advisory Council. There are 13 members in total, together with 13 alternates. Apart from the representative for the Coast Guard, who is appointed by the Secretary of Homeland Security, all the members of the partnership are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior after consultation with the appropriate agency or other body.
In practice, day to day management of each individual island or other site is the responsibility of one of the partner agencies or other bodies. The partnership provides a consistency and coordination across the whole park.
Harbor Islands Express offers ferry service from Long Wharf at Christopher Columbus Park to Georges and Spectacle Islands. Free service to additional islands is available from Georges Island.
- The Boston Globe, "Harboring recreation", Guest Editorial, June 3, 2006.
- Kales, Emily, Kales, David, "All About the Boston Harbor Islands", Hewitts Cove Publishing, 1983.
- Mikal, Alan, "Exploring Boston Harbor", Christopher Publishing House, North Quincy, Massachusetts, 1973. ISBN-13: 978-0815803034
- Northeastern Naturalist, Volume 12, Issue sp3, July 2005. Articles on the Boston Harbor Islands.
- Richburg, Julie A., Patterson, William A., III, "Historical Description of the Vegetation of the Boston Harbor Islands, 1600-2000", Northeastern Naturalist, v.12, Special Issue 3, 13-30, 2005.
- Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell, "Boston's Harbor Islands", Images of America series, 1998. ISBN 0-7524-0900-X
- Sherman, Annie, "The Other Islands: The Harbor Islands make for an easy day trip for sunbathers, history buffs—and especially the traffic-weary", Boston magazine, May 2007 issue.
- Snow, Edward Rowe
- "The Islands of Boston Harbor", 1935. ISBN 0-396-08349-8
- "Sailing Down Boston Bay", Yankee Publishing Company, 1941.
- "Some Events of Boston and Its Neighbors", printed for the State Street Trust Company, Boston, Massachusetts, 1917.
- "The Islands of Boston Harbor", in "Some Events of Boston and Its Neighbors", Chapter 4, printed for the State Street Trust Company, Boston, Massachusetts, 1917.
- Sweetser, M.F., "King's Handbook of Boston Harbor", Moses King Corporation, Boston, 1882; reprinted in 1988 by Applewood Books, and The Friends of Boston Harbor Islands. ISBN 9999021565. This book was written about the time when the first Boston almshouse was being built on Long Island.