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Open-water swimmers win: State to let them back into Walden Pond

DCR announced today that people can swim outside roped off areas at Walden Pond again starting Friday.

Of course, there are limits:

For the summer, people who need room to move can swim the pond between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and between 6 and 8 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p .m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.

After Labor Day, the state says, knock yourself out anytime the Walden reservation is open.

DCR had all banned swimming outside the lines on July 2 due to a spate of drownings in eastern Massachusetts. The department said "a thorough review of safety protocols" convinced it to partially lift the ban.

Free tagging: 


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If the pond is available for open swimming then why is it called walled in????

Voting closed 36

That's a groaner

Voting closed 15

And remains for the vast majority of Walden's patrons. This was a solution to a problem that simply did not exist and the DCR's clumsy overreach on this issue continues. It's sad what has become of our state parks under this administration: increased fees, reduced recreational opportunities, reduced hours and seasons for campsites and cabins, a complete disregard for hiker safety on many trails, especially ones that cross highways in our state parks (highways that were never intended to be highways in the first place such as the Fellsway, South Border Road, and Woodland Road in the Middlesex Fells, and many of the roadways that crisscross the Blue Hills Reservation, most are speedways with dangerous unmarked trail crossings). As a former interpretive ranger at Walden Pond and a regular and experienced open water swimmer, I can say confidently that this does absolutely nothing to promote safety, and will likely lead to more problems. This was just an attempt to save face after an extremely clumsy misstep and PR disaster by the DCR Commissioner and the Governor, and instead of admitting they were wrong and reversing the ban, they continue with an unworkable "solution". These continuing and very unwelcome restrictions make no sense: they limit open water swimming to the early mornings and evenings before and after the lifeguards are on duty -much of the time when it's still dark out- and ends when the park closes. The predecessor agency that managed Walden Pond State Reservation was the Department of Environmental Management and was a relatively well run agency that was usually responsive to input by its constituency: the users and owners of our state parks, the people (we were regularly reminded that neither the Department nor the Commonwealth actually owned the properties it managed, but rather was the steward of them, and that the general public owns public spaces under an ancient trust doctrine). When I worked there, Walden's management team would likely never have dreamed of such a ban or restriction (again, people have been swimming there for centuries with very few incidents), but if they had, they would have had the sense to seek input from the communities served, instead of just slapping a decree from the top. DCR's current leadership is out of touch with the needs of its constituents.

Voting closed 70

The emperor has no clothes

Voting closed 20

Open swimming might be allowed but it still isn't a nude beach!

Voting closed 19

Does the Curley Recreation Center in South Boston still allow nude bathing? If not why do they still have the fences that separate the men from the women that jut out into the ocean.

Voting closed 20