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Swimming Allowed To Continue At Historic Pond

March 2, 1988

BOSTON (AP) _ A bill to ban swimming and restrict other recreation at Walden Pond, the retreat idealized by Henry David Thoreau in 1845, has sunk in the Legislature.

The Natural Resources Committee declined Tuesday to adopt a bill that would eliminate a manmade sand beach, restrict fishing and boating and require construction of sound barriers beside roadways near the pond in Concord, 15 miles west of Boston.

Mary Sherwood, whose group Walden Forever Wild Inc. opposes continued recreation at Walden, contends that 50 years of public recreation at the pond have endangered its fragile banks and spoiled a pristine site.

But Department of Environmental Management Commissioner James Gutensohn told the committee, ″I’m sure the Indians swam at Walden Pond, I’m sure Henry David Thoreau swam at Walden Pond and I’m sure the people of Boston should.″

The 62-acre pond, in a 333-acre state-owned reservation, has 350,000 visitors a year.

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