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Love that open water, ohhh, Walden, you're my pond

WBUR reports on growing outrage among the Boston area's open-water swimming community (yes, there is one) over the state's ban on swimming outside the lines at Walden Pond.

Webster, 70, says the Walden ban effectively restricts swimming entirely, since the small areas roped off for swimming and monitored by lifeguards are crowded with people splashing and bathing.

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Most of the open water swimmers I've witnessed at Walden are seniors. Crowding them among families and children seems discriminatory and risky as it seems insensitive to the higher risks they face from flu and COVID.

How would banning open water swims not hasten a senior's physical decline, loss of independence, and create an artificial financial obligation among a fixed-income population for a gym membership, which again, seems to raise their risk by crowding them indoors?

How is this COVID-sensitive?

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The Walden restrictions are dopey, but your line is lame.


The risk of a vaccinated adult catching Covid outdoors is just about nil. The scaremongering doesn't help.

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Lifeguards have been harassed, threatened, stabbed and now face civil disobedience by swimmers. They face more danger from land sharks than great whites. It's going to be a long hot summer.

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I hadn't heard lifeguards have been threatened at Walden Pond. When did this happen?

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Have any of those things happened at Walden Pond?

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I particularly want to hear about the great white shark attacks (or even sightings) there.

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Watch out all. It lurks underneath.

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Inflatables are not allowed at Walden.

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As an aside -- the water at Walden is truly disgusting, and people should avoid it at all costs. between all the plant material and dead fish, plus human additions -- namely piss, have made the water there really gross. remember in 2015 when the state had to beg people to stop pissing in Walden because of how badly it was messing up the environment? kettle ponds have no outlets, so everything that doesn't evaporate off stays in the water.

the pond is beautiful, and a great place to hike around, but you couldn't pay me to get into that water recreationally.

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It's true. What happens in Walden stays in Walden. I once had words about the lack of outflow with a person washing their hair in the pond. "It's just conditioner."

The place has been closed in the past ('80s? Google fails) for excessive levels of human waste. It would certainly be a lot better for the water if people would get out and take a short walk into the woods to do their business. Not better for the woods, but they are better able to deal with all that pee.

I went to Walden a lot when I was a kid, around 1960. At that time, there was a lot of animal and plant life* in the pond. When I started going there again maybe 15 years later, the combination of acid rain from Ohio power plants (thanks, John Glenn!) and pee from locals had killed ALL of the life. I don't think current levels of pollution are hazardous, and they test for that all the time, but it's certainly not the cleanest place for swimming.

*Fish, frogs, turtles, crayfish, and a lot of plants in water deep enough that it wouldn't get stepped on, including right next to the big concrete pier that used to stick out from the official beach. All gone these many years.

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Covered a "red flag warning" there a year ago.

It's really a shame that we don't have more options for swimming, especially in rivers and lakes with shorter residence times (the amount of time it takes to change all of the water in a body of water). Walden is 5 years, which is relatively long for a body of water of its size (but relatively short compared to Lake Superior at 191 years and Tahoe at 650).

Probably more of an issue than humans are fertilizers and nitrates and the like, which are a problem across the region because people just have to have bright green lawns.

DYK that Walden Pond is the deepest pond in Massachusetts? According to the USGS, anyway. You can find that, and more, here!

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