Walden Pond

Commissioner helps illuminate the pond's history and appeal.

"A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature."

The above quote is from Walden Pond's most famous inhabitant, the transcendentalist author, Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau made Walden Pond his home for two years from 1845-1847 where he worked on his most magnanimous works, the essay, Civil Disobedience, and the novel on simple living and nature named after the pond itself – Walden.

So what made this humble piece of 61-acre “kettle-hole” (created by glaciers) pond and surrounding area such an attraction to Thoreau and thousands of nature-seekers following his path?

“It's just one of those iconic nature spots with hiking, swimming, fishing, trails, everything” explained Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner, Ed Lambert. “And certainly the cabin is a popular spot for hikers and people who enjoy Thoreau.”

The “cabin” Lambert refers to is a re-creation of Thoreau's 1845, 10 x 15 square foot homestead where Thoreau famously refused to pay the land's poll tax in refute of the state's role in upholding slavery. Thoreau notoriously spent the night in jail, before returning to woods where he vowed to, “live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life” - the quote that adorns the placard before Thoreau's cabin.

Swimming is a popular trend these days at Walden Pond. As Lambert explained, “There are lifeguards on duty at the main beach and a bunch of little coves to swim in.”

Another popular attraction is fishing. Lambert detailed, “The pond is stocked with all kinds of fish: several kinds of trout, bass, sunfish. It's a deep water pond and again, has lots of little coves to fish from."

If you want to simply explore the 462 acres of reservation, there are numerous trails and hiking areas.

“The main pond path is the most popular hiking trail that circles the entire pond,” said Lambert. “There are also hikes we call, 'Thoreau Rambles' that follow some of the lesser known trails.”

The DCR also offers interpretive programs, year round, guided nature walks, a Junior Ranger Program for kids (coming up this July) and even a story-time reading at the main beach for families. Lambert also mentioned that non-motorized boating, canoing, picnicking, and cross-country skiing in the winter are also popular trends at Walden.

The cost for all of these wonderful wetlands is the $5 parking fee charged to pull up into the pond's parking lot.

For more information on Walden Pond, visit the DCR's website by clicking here.

Lambert urged residents interested in setting up a nature walk or other activity to either call the DCR at 978-369-3254, or email them at walden.pond@state.ma.us to request a recreation guide book and calendar of upcoming events. You can also click here for a full list of events and programs.

Frank Breen August 18, 2011 at 06:24 PM


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