"If privately owned public spaces are to contribute meaningfully to city life, they need a champion, an independent steward or curator who actively promotes their use, not only by assuring that spaces are provided as legally promised but also by encouraging improvements, activities and public educational opportunities."
— Jerold S. Kayden, The New York Times, October 20, 2011
Why is a company running this Fort Point Pier website?
You may be wondering why a paddlesports company would so insanely champion the use of one particular public dock and pier.
Our company, Kayalu Gear (http://www.kayalu.com), is a leading manufacturer of paddlesports products including navigation lights and camera mounts. Our product development workshop has been a fixture in Boston's Fort Point neighborhood since 1990.
There is no question that our Kayalu business dovetails with increasing awareness of Fort Point Pier, sea kayaking and this informational website.
But the answer is more than about business.
We've been working with our neighbors on seeing a recreational dock and pier at the Fort Point Channel seawall become a reality for over a decade. We've worked through nail-biting meetings culminating in the final decision by MassDEP in May of 2003, requiring the dock being to be constructed upon completion of Fort Point surface restoration contracts by the Central Artery / Tunnel project (the "Big Dig").
Once approved, our community waited patiently for nearly another decade for Fort Point Pier to be built. In our view, recalling and documenting the history of Fort Point Pier as a public amenity continues to prove critical in protecting the future from forces of privatization acting in years past. The history is recalled here.
We're continuing to advocate for the development of boat and kayak friendly waypoints — public and private — all across Boston's Inner Harbor.
So we're shouting as loudly as possible about Fort Point Pier, inviting paddlers and visitors to come down and enjoy the Fort Point neighborhood, the Fort Point Channel, downtown Boston and Boston Harbor.
The Kayalu Gear workshop is headquartered on Wormwood Street, one block inland from Fort Point Pier. We've been members of the Fort Point community for over 20 years.
Testing Kayalu products on boats and kayaks, we've explored virtually every nook and cranny of Boston's wharves, channels and beaches. We know the best spot to drop a lobster pot in the Harbor; where to drop a magnet on a string in search of treasure; and where to sit with a book and candle deep within in the underground tunnels of the Boston Harbor Islands.
We were among the last unofficial film and photography crew to visit Peddocks Island (a.k.a. Shutter Island) during the harsh winter of 2011, one week prior to the demolition of significant portions of Fort Andrews. We've paddled under the piers of Fort Point after dark, most recently for testing a new kayak headlight. We've worked on and off the Harbor with fellow boaters and neighbors —here's a bit of footage shoring up the docks at Boston Harbor Yacht Club while Hurricane Irene (here) arrived in Southie as a tropical storm.
With the help of paddlers and kayak fishermen living in or visiting Boston, we're hoping to help establish Fort Point Pier as the gold standard of water-dependent civic spaces — a model for future access points along Boston Harbor.
We hope you'll join us for some paddling and fishing at Fort Point Pier. And if you need some gear, give us a call or tweet @kayalugear — we'll walk it over if possible.