Wollaston Beach

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Coordinates: 42°16′36″N 71°00′34″W / 42.27661°N 71.009531°W / 42.27661; -71.009531

Wollaston Beach, with the Boston skyline in the background

Wollaston Beach is a public beach located along Quincy Shore Drive in the Wollaston, section of Quincy, Massachusetts. It is located on Quincy Bay, part of Boston Harbor. It is cared for by the Friends of Wollaston Beach (FWB), and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). At its northern end is the Moswetuset Hummock. It is formally part of Quincy Shore Reservation, which was created by an act of the Mass. Legislature in 1899. Quincy Shore Drive was completed and opened to the public on May 30, 1908, which is considered to be Wollaston Beach's birthday, as the completed roadway connected the small beach known as 'Wollaston' at Beach street, with Atlantic, and Fenno beaches.

Wollaston Beach is the largest Boston Harbor beach with roughly 2.3 miles[1] of shoreline, and features a continuous walkway, a seawall, parking space, and concession stands and park areas on the land side of Quincy Shore Drive.[2] The views from Wollaston beach include Boston, including South Boston and the Edison power plant there; parts of Quincy, including Houghs Neck to the Southeast, and Squantum to the Northeast. The major Boston Harbor Islands that are visible are Moon, Long, Georges and Peddocks, with Spectacle visible over the causeway between Squantum and Moon Island. Boston Light is visible just North (left) of Peddocks Island, the HULL1 Wind Turbine (~200 ft) is visible beyond Peddocks, and The HULL2 Wind Turbine (330 ft) is visible beyond Houghs Neck. A 400 ft Wind Turbine is being considered for Moon Island, which is owned by the City of Boston. The 1/2 acre Hangman Island is barely visible right in the middle of Quincy Bay. It is situated 2 miles from Moon Island, Nut Island, and the shoreline of Wollaston Beach.

The Friends of Wollaston Beach host regular events and fundraisers,[3] and the beach has been deemed safe for swimmers by the Quincy Health Department.[4] Wollaston Beach is also a favorite recreation area for boating and fishing, as several fishing and sailing tournaments are held each year. The Squantum and Wollaston Yacht Clubs are located on the Beach and was founded in 1898. The Club hosts several of these tournaments each year.

Panoramic view of Wollaston Beach at night

History[edit]

In the 1980s, Massachusetts Bay, Wollaston Beach included, was one of the most polluted areas in the United States due to a waste-disposal system that discharged approximately 138 tons of waste each day into Boston Harbor, from the Nut Island plant at the end of Houghs Neck. The outfall pipe was known as the 'bubbler'. Officials permanently closed the beach to shell fishing and even swimmers. In 1982, the city of Quincy successfully sued the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for violating the Clean Water Act.[5] The city of Quincy has been a leader in environmental cleanup around Massachusetts Bay[6] and, in 1988, a program was established to help clean up Massachusetts Bay beaches, and testing along Wollaston Beach has demonstrated since 2006 that it is once again safe for swimming and recreation.[7]

In 1990, Massachusetts Bay was selected by the Environmental Protection Agency as an Estuary of National Significance.[5] Despite the environmental challenges, Wollaston Beach continues to be a well-known spot for walking along the boulevard and sun bathing.

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