Important Bird Area
Boston Harbor Islands webpage
Boston Harbor Islands (National Park Service) webpage
Boston Harbor Islands map
Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area IBA
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There are several informal footpaths that traverse the island to views on ledges. Much of the island is impenetrable due to poison ivy and brambles.
In an 1893 account, The History of Hingham, author Bouve describes Langlee as “a beautiful spot. Steep ledges surround it, except for small intervals, where there are gravelly beaches, upon one of which stands a fine linden. Shrubs abound upon the uplands. It will be, in a few years, more beautiful than now, thanks to the enlightened taste of the gentleman who owns it. He has planted many small trees, which will eventually cover it with forest growth, as was originally the case when the country was settled, and restore it to the condition in which all the islands of Boston harbor should be. Had they been kept so for the past two centuries, the forces of erosion would not have succeeded in practically sweeping some of them from the face of the earth, and destroying the contour of all.” Over one hundred years later, the island contains several remarkable trees, including oak, maple, cedar, and birch. Most notable is an enormous oak in the center of the island that has become part of a camping area. The abundant shrubs described by Bouve in 1893 have likely been eliminated by these large shade trees. Groupings of huckleberry and viburnum appear to have self-seeded and are mixed with greenbriar, dewberry, sumac, and poison ivy. Several grassy areas under large trees appear to be popular camping spots.
About Boston Harbor Islands
Located just minutes from downtown Boston, the Boston Harbor Islands include 34 islands and peninsulas spread over 50 square miles. Working with city, state, federal and nonprofit partners, the park is a place where you can walk a Civil War-era fort, visit historic lighthouses, explore tide pools, hike lush trails, camp under the stars, or relax while fishing, picnicking, or swimming, all within reach of downtown Boston.
Between the horn of Cape Ann to the north and the defiant, jutting arm of Cape Cod to the south and east, the Boston Harbor forms a giant crescent in the central coast of Massachusetts and is the beating heart of the New England shoreline. The harbor sits within an ancient feature, known as the Boston Basin, which predates the formation of North America. Over the course of over 400 million years, it has seen tropical latitudes, multiple advances and recessions of the sea, and multiple periods of glaciation—the latter couple of which deposited and then carved many of the hills that currently dapple its surface. Today, within a vibrant metropolitan area, the Boston Harbor Islands provide a dynamic assembly of ecosystems, ranging from rocky, windswept shores to dense forests to developed and filled land—all with a long and complicated history of human use.
The hub islands, Georges and Spectacle, offer a world-class experience complete with hiking trails, picnic areas, interpretative walks, recreational programs, concessions, and state-of-the-art visitor centers. The more rustic islands, Peddocks, Bumpkin, Grape, and Lovells, provide camping adventures that offer a unique experience for locals and visitors to the Boston area. Thompson Island is open to the public via public ferries on specified weekends throughout the summer and fall.
Allow at least a half day to see one island and a day to see more. Georges, Spectacle, and Peddocks Island have fresh water and restrooms, while Lovells, Bumpkin, and Grape island have composting toilets. There are no trash receptacles; please pack out what you pack in.
A visit to the Boston Harbor Islands is an opportunity to play, learn, serve, and work within the largest recreational open space in the Boston area.
From Boston Harbor Islands (National Park Service) webpage
The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area comprises 34 islands ranging in size from less than 1 acre to 274 acres. A variety of habitats, including marine, rock cliffs, beaches, salt marsh, and forests support many different species in all seasons. Several species of special concern in Massachusetts have been observed on the Islands including Common and Least Tern, Barn Owl, and Common Loon. The Northern Harrier, a threatened species, also occurs on the islands. Significant numbers of colonial-nesting waterbirds, including Double-crested Cormorants, Black-crowned Night-Herons, and Snowy Egrets have been present for at least two decades. Migratory shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds utilize the harbor islands during the spring and fall, and great flocks of waterfowl overwinter there.
From Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area IBA