harborwalk-crowd-300x200 harborwalk

Boston Harbor Now’s map-based, mobile-friendly database will help people find public spaces and amenities along the city’s waterfront

By Katherine Adam and Boston Harbor Now

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) will direct mitigation funds from the Fan Pier development to the creation of the Boston Harbor Now Harborwalk Benefits Map and public waterfront amenities database. The user-friendly map and database will create a one-stop-shop option for visitors to easily navigate the waterfront and understand the full inventory of public amenities offered along the Harborwalk.  The funding comes from The Fallon Company – whose 21-acre Fan Pier development constructed in the Seaport District in 2007 includes multiple waterfront parks and is surrounded by the Harborwalk on three sides – as part of their Chapter 91 license agreement with MassDEP.

Boston Harbor Now conceptualized the online Harborwalk Benefits Map after identifying a lack of knowledge among the public, properties, and other waterfront stakeholders regarding opportunities along the Harbor. There is currently no comprehensive, user-friendly map and information about these spaces – which include green lawns, seating areas, public restrooms, fishing docks, and observation decks – making it difficult for people to understand what is publicly available and legally accessible. The Harborwalk Map will be free to the public and show all public amenities along the waterfront.

“The Harborwalk and the public spaces around it belong to everyone, and in today’s tech age, having a mobile-responsive, online map is critical to people from all neighborhoods seeking to access and enjoy their public waterfront,” said Kathy Abbott, President and CEO of Boston Harbor Now. “We are grateful to our partners at MassDEP for recognizing the potential of a user-friendly Harborwalk Map in promoting broader awareness of and access to these public spaces and extend our thanks to The Fallon Company for using their development to promote a more inclusive and active waterfront.”

“The Commonwealth’s Chapter 91 Waterways licensing program is intended to provide citizens access to and enjoyment of the benefits of an active waterfront,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “Our agency is pleased to work in collaboration with Boston Harbor Now to increase awareness of public access opportunities along Boston’s waterfront.”

“We at Fan Pier take our Chapter 91 access and activation obligations very seriously,” said Joe Fallon, President and CEO of The Fallon Company.  “For years, we have supported events that encourage public access and we will continue to do so.  We applaud the efforts by MassDEP and Boston Harbor Now to catalogue such obligations of all property stewards and to make it easy for visitors to access and enjoy the waterfront amenities and are happy to support them in this effort.”

Boston Harbor Now continues to convene regularly with property managers and other stakeholders along the waterfront to discuss ways to promote public access and further ensure residents from every neighborhood feel welcome visiting the Harbor. The Harborwalk Map will launch in advance of the busy summer season.

About Boston Harbor Now:

Boston Harbor Now works in partnership with others in the public, for profit, and non-profit sectors to plan, advocate and activate a thriving waterfront, harbor, and Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. Boston Harbor Now’s comprehensive approach to the harbor prioritizes equitable public access through parks and open spaces including the Harborwalk; well-designed infrastructure and ferries; maritime industry and other marine-related economic drivers; mixed-use and mixed-income climate-resilient waterfront development; programming that promotes recreational and educational uses; and maintenance of the clean harbor.


  1. Congratulations on this long-awaited marketing solution. I’ll definitely try it out as soon as it’s available. Our tourism visitors especially our International guests will love this convenience.

  2. Great news. on some parts of the harbor walk some of the owners/renters believe this area is Private. Signs would also help visitors to this area. The North End has a red line the tourists follow for the freedom trail, In frustration many years ago when a security man informed me that where I was sitting was a private wharf, which I informed him was Not I thought a blue line should be painted for residents as well as tourists to follow on this Public Way. Its ironic that many years ago when my friends and I walked carefully around the broken and dangerous wharf to fish (wooden stick with a line and hook attached) it was considered a public place.

  3. I am the President of the Greater Boston Concierge Association and would love to both have a representative come to speak at one of our meetings and to provide the Boston Harborwalk maps when they are ready. Please contact me.

    Many thanks,


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