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Newburyport — Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton today joined state and local officials, recreational anglers and other project supporters for a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the completion of significant improvements to the recreational fishing pier and boat access at Cashman Park in Newburyport.
“Increasing access for all citizens to enjoy the natural beauty and splendor of the Commonwealth is a goal of the Baker-Polito Administration,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The expansion of the fishing pier and the new boarding floats at the ramp will greatly enhance this facility and benefit Massachusetts’ boaters, fishermen, and the City of Newburyport.”
“The Cashman Park boat access is one of the more popular salt water recreational access facilities in the Commonwealth, providing great fishing opportunities and access to the mouth of the Merrimack River and the North Shore coast,” said EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton. “As an avid fisherman, I am proud we could improve North Shore residents’ access to these recreational opportunities.”
Reconstruction of the sport fishing pier included a 21-foot, L-shaped extension, structural repairs, completely new decking and handrails, and measures to make the entire pier compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. DFG’s Office of Fishing and Boating Access (FBA) also installed new boarding floats on each side of the boat ramp that are six feet wide and 132 feet long, to make launching and retrieval of boats easier and more efficient.
Total construction cost for the pier and ramp improvements was $332,000. $113,000 in state capital funds was provided by the Baker-Polito administration. The Division of Marine Fisheries’ (DMF) recreational salt water fishing permit fund provided $209,000 for the pier renovation.
“We are pleased to make significant improvements to the ramp and the recreational fishing pier, which will greatly improve salt water fishing opportunities in the region,” said Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Commissioner George Peterson. “I would like to acknowledge the role that recreational salt water anglers played in this project, as their permit fees funded much of the construction cost.”
“We appreciate the state investment in this signature park in our downtown and we are happy to partner with the Commonwealth by managing the Cashman Park access area for use by recreational boaters and fishermen,” said Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday. “It is a great day for Newburyport whenever we celebrate investment in the City’s waterfront.”
“The abundance and diversity of marine species available to anglers at this north shore site was key to the Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Panel endorsing our plan to improve the pier at Cashman Park,” said DMF Director David Pierce.
“This is a smart state investment to improve our recreational amenities—growing visitorship and economic opportunities on the Merrimack River,” said State Senator Kathleen O’Connor-Ives (D-Newburyport).
“The recreational fishing pier improves fishing opportunities for kids and anglers with mobility issues, and the boarding floats will help speed the use of the boat ramp,” said State Representative James Kelcourse (R-Amesbury). “I am pleased to voice my support for this project as an amenity for Newburyport’s waterfront and the many boaters and anglers in the area.”
The engineer for the project was GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., of Newburyport, and the contractor was Ribiero Construction Co. of Taunton.
The Department of Fish and Game’s Office of Fishing and Boating Access expended $1.25 million on thirteen access projects in fiscal year 2015. FBA provides boating and fishing access opportunities along Massachusetts’ 1,200 mile seashore, as well as access to 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 recreational fishing piers.
DFG’s Division of Marine Fisheries manages the recreational salt water permit program, which ensures that all funds collected from the sale of permits are used solely for research, conservation, and public access efforts of Massachusetts’ marine recreational fisheries. Under the law that established the recreational salt water permit requirement in 2011, one-third of all annual license fee appropriations are dedicated to recreational saltwater fishing infrastructure projects in Massachusetts, ensuring better access to coastal fishing.