Metropolitan Beaches Commission Releases Report on Improving Access to Public Beaches

On Friday morning Commissioner of DCR Brian Arrigo joined legislative and community members of the Metropolitan Beaches Commission 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, 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.”

According to Rep. Adrian Madaro, who Co-Chairs the Commission, “Equity, inclusion and diversity are critically important to me and my constituents in East Boston. Save the Harbor’s free programs have improved beach access for everyone, bringing our beaches to life, connecting kids and families from across our diverse community to each other and Boston Harbor.”

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 and 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 Vice Chair Senator Lydia Edwards is also looking forward to the work ahead, saying “I believe that investing in improved public access for people of color, people with limited English proficiency, and people with disabilities will make our region’s public beaches better for everyone.  I am confident that Governor Maura Healey and DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo care about these issues and I look forward to working with them to make our public beaches more welcoming for all.”

According to Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s Executive Director Chris Mancini, the Metropolitan Beaches Commission (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 the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Today the Commission 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 pubic hearing in August to hear from DCR on their progress on the recommendations included in the report. If you would like to attend, send an email to [email protected] .

You can find our more about the Metropolitan Beaches Commission and download transcripts, meeting materials and prior reports at

In the spring of 2021, the Metropolitan Beaches Commission focused its attention on ways to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion on the Metropolitan Region’s public beaches from Nahant to Nantasket. 

The Commission conducted this inquiry in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and a national conversation on race, as protests against police brutality and systemic racism were breaking out across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. These two factors shaped the conversation and our perspective on the importance of our beaches to all the residents of the region, of every race, age, nationality, and ability. 

The Commission’s initial goal was to find ways to improve access to our public beaches for people of color. However, at the suggestion of several Commissioners, the inquiry broadened to include people with disabilities and people who do not speak English as their first language, many of whom also do not enjoy equal access to the benefits of our more than $5 billion investment in clean water and better beaches. 

Over a period of 18 months, the Commission held four public hearings 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. The report contains our findings and recommendations, which we hope will serve as a blueprint for improving beach access going forward.

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