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Somerset — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the completion of the Somerset Village Waterfront Park boat access reconstruction project. Located off Main Street, the facility has 26 parking spaces for boats with trailers, provides access to the tidal section of the Taunton River and Mount Hope Bay, and offers fishing for striped bass, bluefish, flounder, white perch and other fish.
“Boating access improvements greatly enhance boating and fishing opportunities and support the Commonwealth’s valuable tourism economy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “It is our administration’s priority to ensure all Massachusetts’ residents and visitors can enjoy the beauty and recreational opportunities our public lands and waters provide.”
“Proper maintenance of boat access facilities is of critical importance to the recreational boating and fishing communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “I would like to thank the Town of Somerset and the many municipal partners who work with our administration to provide quality public access to Massachusetts waterways.”
At the formal dedication of the boat ramp, officials unveiled a new sign renaming the facility as the William and Harold Meehan Memorial Boat Launch. Harold Meehan was Somerset’s first executive secretary to the Board of Selectmen, and his son William was one of the town’s longest serving selectmen, an enthusiastic boater and strong advocate for public access to Somerset’s waterfront.
“This facility provides an important access point in the region for recreational boaters and saltwater anglers, and I am pleased it will just open in time for Labor Day weekend,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “By increasing access to outdoor recreation, we hope to enhance the lives of citizens from every corner of Massachusetts and heighten appreciation for our natural resources.”
“I am pleased that the capital budget supported by the Baker-Polito Administration and the Legislature provided the necessary funds for the reconstruction and maintenance of this and other similar facilities in the Commonwealth,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner George Peterson.
The Department of Fish and Game provided $625,000 for the project, which was managed by DFG’s Office of Fishing and Boating Access. The improvements at the facility include construction of a completely new boat ramp, including improvements to the width, length and slope of the ramp, and the addition of new boarding floats to ease entry and exit. Engineering services were provided by Tibbetts Engineering Company of Taunton and Biszco Building Systems of Fall River was the construction contractor.
Located off Main Street, the facility has 26 parking spaces for boats with trailers, providing access to the tidal section of the Taunton River and Mount Hope Bay. The area offers very good fishing for striped bass, bluefish, flounder, white perch and other fish.
“The Somerset waterfront has become one of the most utilized spots in the community,” said Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport). “This facility will expand and improve access to the community’s great natural resources, while also paying tribute to Bill and Harold who were always strong advocates of improving the waterfront.”
“We felt it would be an appropriate measure to honor the Meehans, father and son, for their contributions to the town,” said Representative Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset). “Harold was Somerset’s first executive secretary to the board of selectmen and his son, Bill, was one of the town’s longest serving selectmen and avid advocate for public access to Somerset’s beautiful waterfront.”
“The boat ramp is used by many Somerset residents and others from around the region and out of state,” said David Berube, Somerset Board of Selectmen Chairman. “Great collaboration between the town and the state has resulted in a much-needed improvement to this popular facility.”
In keeping with its commitment to increase public access and outdoor recreational opportunities for residents throughout the Commonwealth, the Baker-Polito Administration recently announced the completion of 11 fishing and boating access projects valued at more than $1.9 million in fiscal year 2016. The Somerset project is the first project completed in fiscal year 2017.
The Office of Fishing and Boating Access provides boating and fishing access to over 1,200 miles of seashore and hundreds of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams in the Commonwealth. The agency oversees more than 290 boat and canoe launch sites, along with shore fishing areas and fishing piers.
Appropriations for the acquisition, construction, and maintenance activities of the FBA come from several sources. State general funds, bond appropriations, revenue from the sale of the Division of Marine Fisheries’ recreational salt water fishing permits, and federal reimbursements by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the federal Sport Fish Restoration Act all help fund FBA projects.
The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land protection and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and wildlife species, and ecological restoration of fresh water, salt water, and terrestrial habitats. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth's rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.
Click here for a table of information about the individual access locations, maps, and fisheries information.