For Immediate Release - August 04, 2010


BOSTON - Wednesday, August 4, 2010 - Governor Deval Patrick has signed into law a measure to greatly expand the public's access to the waterfront along the Fort Point Channel in Boston, opening the area up to increased boating and harbor-walk access.

The bill, "An Act Authorizing Certain Development in the Fort Point Channel in the City of Boston," allows the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to issue licenses for the construction and maintenance of piers and floats that extend beyond the current Fort Point Channel harbor line. This will expand public access to the waterfront and allow the construction of boat docks in the channel.

"As a Commonwealth, Massachusetts cherishes public access to our waterfront and coastal areas, and Fort Point Channel has been inaccessible to the public for too long," said Governor Patrick. "Under this new law, private companies will be allowed to build docks and piers that expand everyone's ability to enjoy this Boston waterway by boat, canoe, kayak, or just going for a walk."

The new law provides a pathway for private property owners interested in redevelopment of properties adjacent to the Fort Point Channel to earn Chapter 91 licenses from MassDEP. This will facilitate pending plans for Gillette to construct a dock that allows residents to drop canoes, docks, rowboats, and kayaks into the channel, and for developers of 470 Atlantic and 500 Atlantic to fund public access walkways along the channel as part of their Chapter 91 permits.

The law is also consistent with the goals of two separate Fort Point Channel Municipal Harbor plans and the City of Boston's Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Plan, as well as the city's 2000 Water Transportation Plan.

"This legislation both protects the public's investment in Boston Harbor and opens up the Fort Point Channel for exciting new uses like boating and fishing that were once a distant dream," said Patricia A. Foley, President, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay.

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, The Boston Harbor Association, The Boston Natural Areas Network, the Fort Point Channel Abutters' Group, the Children's Museum and the Boston Tea Party Museum all support this effort to increase public access to the waterfront.