An Essential Urban Park
With over 90% of Massachusetts residents living in urban areas—most of whom call the Greater Boston area home—our metropolitan parks are more important than ever before. They clean the air, cool the city, and sustain nature. When well-maintained, parks attract visitors from near and far and provide a high quality of life for urban residents. They have a profound, if largely invisible, impact on the local economy and encourage a healthy and productive lifestyle for all who choose to use them. Studies show that more than three million individuals visit the Esplanade annually, and as many as 20,000 people enter the park on a typical summer’s day. A half a million people crowd onto the Esplanade and surrounding shores for the nation’s July 4 birthday celebration. Few state parks are as intensely used and deeply loved as the Esplanade.
Showing Its Age
The Esplanade is indeed the heart and soul of the Boston metropolitan park system, threshold to one of the world’s great urban water park resources: the Charles River Basin. Despite all of this, or perhaps because of it, the narrow piece of land we call the Esplanade is in generally poor condition today. The ongoing efforts of state park maintenance staff and the substantial capital investments made in recent years to rebuild docks, fields, and fences still have not turned the tide against deferred maintenance suffered by the park over decades. Aging trees are past their prime and in decline. The soil is exhausted and the grass worn out in many places. Pathway shoulders continue to erode, increasing the amount of pollutants that find their way into the river. Historic granite structures and railings are crumbling. Once active public recreation and restroom facilities are dilapidated, closed to the public, and appear abandoned. In short, after a century of change and heavy use, the park is depleted in need of substantial revitalization.
The Esplanade Association
Since our founding in 2001, The Esplanade Association has worked tirelessly to restore and enhance this vital resource, and to elevate it to its intended and deserved status as one of the world’s most spectacular urban parks. In collaboration with the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation, among other groups, we strive to improve both the park’s uniquely beautiful landscape and the experience of its millions of annual visitors. Through infrastructure projects, park programs, and advocacy efforts, The Esplanade Association has made a tremendous impact on the park, and we look forward working with the Esplanade's many friends to truly bring the park back to life.
Learn more at: www.esplanadeassociation.org.