- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
- Department of Fish and Game
- Office of Fishing and Boating Access
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Completion of Thirteen Fishing and Boating Access Projects Across Commonwealth
Boston — In an effort to increase public access for fishers and boaters across the Commonwealth, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced the completion of thirteen fishing and boating access projects valued at close to $1.25 million that include boat ramp renovations, parking lot improvements, and new docks that will greatly enhance boating and fishing opportunities.
“The renovations and upgrades to water access points around the Commonwealth will provide even more opportunities for our state’s residents and visitors to enjoy Massachusetts’ many beautiful bodies of water,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “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.”
“Massachusetts is home to countless water-based recreational opportunities, and the improvements to the infrastructure at many of the state’s fishing and boating access points will increase safe, reliable accessibility for residents from around the Commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Department of Fish and Game, through collaboration with local and private partners, continues to ensure that outdoor recreational opportunities are available for all to enjoy.”
The Department of Fish and Game's (DFG) Office of Fishing and Boating Access (FBA) is charged with providing boating and fishing access to over 1,200 miles of seashore as well as hundreds of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams in the Commonwealth. The agency oversees more than 275 boat and canoe launch sites, along with shore fishing areas and fishing piers. The facilities give residents and visitors extensive opportunities to enjoy fishing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, waterskiing, and motorized boating.
“Access to rivers, lakes and coastal waters is extremely important to recreational boaters, fishermen, and hunters,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner George Peterson. “The construction and maintenance of these facilities is a great investment in Massachusetts’ recreational infrastructure."
The construction of the following Fiscal Year 2015 projects was overseen by the Department of Fish and Game’s Office of Fishing and Boating Access:
Quaboag River (Brookfield) - $20,000 has been expended for the construction of a new car-top access on the river. The Quaboag River facility has parking for eight vehicles and offers good canoeing, kayaking and fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel and black crappie. The facility is managed by the Town of Brookfield.
Nashawannuck Pond (Easthampton) - $50,000 has been expended for the construction of a new fisherman access boat ramp, expected to be completed in the fall, which will feature parking for a total of eight vehicles (four with trailers and four car-top only). The pond offers good fishing for largemouth bass, chain pickerel, and black crappie. The facility will be managed by the City of Easthampton.
Childs River (Falmouth) - $307,000 has been expended for the reconstruction of the boat ramp and the installation of a new float boarding system to be completed this fall. The facility, which is open for the summer, includes a gravel parking lot for about 40 vehicles, most of which accommodate vehicles with trailers. The venue provides access to Vineyard Sound and good fishing for striped bass, bluefish, bonito, false albacore, scup, and black sea bass. The facility is managed by the Town of Falmouth.
Allen Harbor (Harwich) - $100,000 has been expended for the reconstruction of the parking area, which features a boat ramp and parking for 12 vehicles with trailers. Fishing for striped bass, bluefish, flounder and other fish is available from the Allen Harbor access. The facility is managed by the Town of Harwich.
Martha’s Vineyard - $4,000 has been expended to improve access roads and parking areas at three access areas-- the Great Tisbury Pond Access in Edgartown, Great Rock Bight in Chilmark, and Pecoy Point Preserve in Oak Bluffs. The facilities are managed by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission. Additionally, $14,000 has been expended for parking lot improvements at Aquinnah’s Dogfish Bar shore fishing area. The facility is managed by the DFG’s Division of Marine Fisheries.
Merrimack River (Methuen) - $300,000 has been expended for the construction of a new boat ramp, float system for boarding, and paved parking for 19 vehicles with trailers and 12 car-top spaces to be completed this fall. The location provides access to boating opportunities in the Merrimack River and good fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, chain pickerel, and shad. The facility is managed by the City of Methuen.
Cashman Park (Newburyport) - $332,000, a portion of which was funded by the sale of recreational salt water fishing permits, has been expended for a 21-foot extension to the old pier, structural repairs, new decking and handrails, new boarding floats at the boat ramp and measures to make the entire pier compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The location provides 130 parking spaces and access to the mouth of the Merrimack River, with good fishing for striped bass, bluefish, flounder, and other fish. The facility is managed by the City of Newburyport.
Plymouth Harbor (Plymouth) - $3,700 has been expended for repairs at the Plymouth Harbor Boat Access Area which also offers more than 100 parking spaces for vehicles with trailers. The facility is managed by the Town of Plymouth.
Salem Harbor (Salem) - $89,000 has been expended for the installation of new boarding floats at the boat ramp. The boat access area, located at the City of Salem’s Winter Island Marine Recreational Park, has 45 parking spaces for vehicles with trailers and offers access to fishing for striped bass, bluefish, flounder and other fish. The facility is managed by the City of Salem.
Wickaboag Pond (West Brookfield) - $35,000 has been expended for reconstruction of the boat ramp. The boat access area provides parking for eight vehicles with trailers and the pond offers good fishing for trout, largemouth bass, and chain pickerel. The facility is managed by the Town of West Brookfield.
“The funding of these projects is a great benefit to the towns of Falmouth and Plymouth,” said State Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth). “Much of the allure of these communities lies in their proximity to our beautiful coastline. Increased public boating access allows more people to access that coastline, providing greater economic and recreational benefits for residents throughout the region.”
“The reconstruction of the parking area at Allen Harbor will help improve access for locals and visitors alike. On behalf of anglers and boating enthusiasts, I would like to thank the administration for this $100,000 grant!” said State Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown).
“Waterfront communities, like Salem, offer unique commercial and recreational opportunities to its residents and visitors,” said State Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem). “I want to thank the Administration for making this investment to improve boating and fishing access at Winter Island, and for recognizing Salem Harbor as a valuable asset to the Commonwealth.”
“I am pleased that the Commonwealth could improve access to Nashawannuck Pond for the local community fisherman and boater,” said Senator Donald Humason (R-Westfield).
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 the FBA projects.
Most state boat ramps are open free of charge to the general public. However, some heavily used sites are authorized by the DFG to collect user fees in order to recover the costs of site maintenance and daily management. Unlike the FBA sites, boating facilities acquired and constructed entirely with municipal funds may charge higher fees to out-of-town users or prohibit use by non-residents.
The Department of Fish and Game 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.