On Friday morning Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Brian Arrigo joined legislative and community members of the Metropolitan Beaches Commission (MBC) at Carson Beach in South Boston for the release of “Breaking Barriers,” a report on improving public access to the metropolitan region’s public beaches from Nahant to Nantasket. The report is based on a series of public hearings and listening sessions focused on overcoming obstacles to beach access for people of color, people with disabilities and people who do not speak English as their first language.
According to the report, which is available online at https://www.savetheharbor.org/breaking-barriers-report, the Commission “found that our beaches have increasingly drawn residents who represent the rich diversity of our region. However, more progress is needed before we can say they are truly inclusive…People’s perceptions of their beaches are shaped by their personal experiences and those of their friends and families. For people of color, people with disabilities and non-native English speakers, this has often meant feeling unwelcome and uncomfortable on their beaches, which are spectacular public resources that belong to them and their communities.”
At the event DCR Commissioner Arrigo reaffirmed the Healey/Driscoll Administration’s to climate equity, environmental justice, public health and economic opportunity, saying “The Department of Conservation & Recreation sits in the middle of all that. I look forward to the work ahead, and hope to be the longest-serving DCR commissioner.”
Metropolitan Beaches Commissioner Rep. Jessica Ann Giannino of Revere is also looking forward to the work ahead, saying, “Improving access and signage on our region’s public beaches make them a more inclusive environment for all. I know that Governor Healey and DCR Commissioner Arrigo care about these issues, and I look forward to working with them to make our metropolitan beaches a welcoming place for residents and visitors.”
According to Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s Executive Director, Chris Mancini, the MBC was created in 2006 to “take an in-depth look at the Boston metropolitan region’s 15 public beaches in Nahant, Lynn, Revere, Winthrop, East Boston, South Boston, Dorchester, Quincy and Hull.”
These beaches are owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and managed by DCR. Today the MBC is a permanent legislative Commission managed by Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and is charged with making specific findings and recommendations to the Legislature, DCR and the public on ways to improve the region’s public beaches.
The Commission will hold a public hearing in August to hear from DCR on their progress on the recommendations included in the report. If you would like to attend, email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about the Metropolitan Beaches Commission and download transcripts, meeting materials and prior reports at https://www.savetheharbor.org/mbc