Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Harbor Island History!

Hey everyone,

This week we had a staff bonding day which we spent kayaking in the Fort Point Chanel picking up trash we saw. This was a really nice activity, which I felt made an impact on the harbor as well as bring SHSB together as a group. I was in a kayak for most of the day scooping pieces of plastic, Styrofoam, and various other trash. The day went by very fast on the water and it was a really cool experience to see the impact that a small group of people can have on such a large area, and we ended up taking multiple garbage bags we had filled up to the dump. I truly enjoy days like this where I can enjoy a nice day on the water while making a positive impact on the environment so people can enjoy it to the fullest. 

Overcast day fishing at Spectacle Island 
I find myself most days of the week on Spectacle Island so I've gotten to know quite a bit about its history. Before Spectacle had grassy paths and beautiful views, the island was used as a landfill and leaked toxins into the harbor. The floating landfill’s garbage mass measured 80 feet high, and the old stories say a bulldozer sank into the heap in the 1950's, never to be seen again. The island has seen various uses in its time from a smallpox quarantine hospital to a horse-rendering plant and the dumping finished on the island in 1959. The island and all of the trash was then set on fire and burned for decades before the next step could be taken. Spectacle wasn’t saved until Boston’s Big Dig project was announced. It was decided that all of the land dug up from creating the city’s various new tunnels would be shipped out to Spectacle to cover up the burning trash. Spectacle Island was capped and resurfaced. Topsoil was added and thousands of trees were planted. After a few years of rapid transformations, the island opened to the public in 2006. It's easy to forget that you're standing on a pile of garbage when you are on the island. It just goes to show how much hard work and dedication went into the making of these amazing parks, and it would be a shame not to take advantage of what has been given to us.

See you out on the water,
Will Miller.
A picture of me doing the worm at Carson Beach

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