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  • Writer's pictureDavid A. Van Wie

Scouting Walden Woods

"Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in"

I had a great visit today with the good folks The Walden Woods Project / Thoreau Institute ( to scout some information and ideas in preparation for kicking off my Storied Waters Tour at Walden Pond in Concord, MA. I was in Lexington last night to do a book talk about The Confluence, so I arranged a stop in to scope out the area for my first stop. Many thanks to Juliet Trofi, Matt Burne and Samantha Corron for sharing their insights, and showing me the Thoreau Institute facility.

Matt Burne is the Conservation Director for WWP, which is the official Friends of Walden Pond group, so we discussed some of the ecological and water quality challenges at Walden Pond, which has over 600,000 visitors per year. The Walden Pond Reservation is in a fairly developed suburban area. I found it interesting that the nearby town transfer station is only 1000 feet down the road, with a large 1.75 MW solar power facility atop the former landfill. I learned that Walden is now home to an invasive freshwater jellyfish, Craspedacusta sowerbii, originally from China, and reportedly an invasive softshell turtle.

We also discussed how Thoreau's influenced other environmental thinkers, including John Muir (founder of the Sierra Club), Gifford Pinchot (founder of the US Forest Service and advisor to President Teddy Roosevelt), and Aldo Leopold. I will be visiting the Aldo Leopold Foundation ( later in the trip, so I'll have a chance to talk to the folks there about Thoreau's specific influence.

I also stopped into the beautiful new Visitor Center at the Walden Pond Reservation, where I picked up a great T-shirt with the HDT quote above.

It was a cold rainy day, so I hope to get better weather when I visit on May 13 to fish the pond, and hopefully get some better photos and video. I look forward to my return visit soon.

Headquarters of The Walden Woods Project:

Headquarters for The Walden Woods Project

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