Walden Pond and open water swimming

I was very pleased to learn that Will Brownsberger is on the side of open water swimming at Walden Pond. As a life long swimmer living in the city/suburbs, there are precious few fresh water lakes in the state available for a half mile swim with a parking lot or public transportation. I have been swimming at Walden for only 15 years or so, and during that time the number of open water swimmers has climbed, and their attendance early in the morning, before work has risen even more sharply. This is a gratifying trend, people choosing to improve their health by getting closer to nature. The state has responded to the request to open the parking lot earlier (thank you senator).

I am not surprised that the fishermen who partake of the state-sponsored seeding of the pond with fishlings, dislike the disruption of the early morning swimmers. The fishermen have the same problem, too few public deep fresh water lakes (without motorboats) to support their recreation. The answer is not the retraction of open water swimming at Walden. We need more lakes to be motor-boat free and more lakes to be provided with parking lots.

I applaud the state for recently expanding the guarded swimming area for families. Their guidance on how to assure that children will not follow long distance swimmers into the unguarded area is sensible, actionable. So I walk a little farther before jumping in. Definitely worth it to make their difficult job more successful.

The state should not feel it is responsible for preventing my natural death during my chosen exercise. The state doesn’t expect a municipal golf course to have life guards to speed the heart attacks off the greens. Not finding a body at the bottom of a lake for a few days is different from not finding a body at the bottom of a municipal swimming pool for a few days. As an older person, I choose to swim with a flotation device in case I need to rest, but flotation device doesn’t prevent me from dying of a heart attack.

Lets keep Walden open for swimmers at all levels at all distances, early in the morning, during the fleeting few months of blue skies and no ice.

4 replies on “Walden Pond and open water swimming”

  1. Many thanks, Will, for advocating for Walden open swimming. I know I am only one of many many folks who find AM swimming at Walden a fairly unique and spiritual experience. To be able to preserve this public opportunity for the community at large is an enormous service.

  2. Senator Brownsberger sent a letter to DCR Commissioner Jack Murray regarding open water swimming at Walden.

    You can view a copy of the letter here.

    Andrew Bettinelli
    Legislative Aide
    Office of State Senator William N. Brownsberger

  3. I’ve recently had very good conversations with DCR on this issue.

    I think we should feel good about the future of open water swimming at Walden. DCR is committed to working things out with open water swimming community in a way that preserves the experience.

    I am very confident that as DCR develops policy on this issue, it will (a) be reasonable; (b) afford the open water community a real chance to negotiate any concerns; (c) fundamentally preserve Walden as a special place for open water swimming.

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