Walden People
Walden Pond Highlights

See also her Walden Pond Gallery with larger works.

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Tanya Joyce first visited Walden Pond in 1982. Since 1989, she has been to the site over a dozen times - painting, photographing, and as Thoreau put it, "sauntering."

Walden Boat

Tanya was attracted to the site through a story told by Dr. Dolores Burton, who was teaching English at Boston University in 1982. Dr. Burton, a native of Boston's Irish community, took her students on annual tours of literary and historic landmarks in the greater Boston area. One year, she had students from India who were especially looking forward to the landmark trip. When the group arrived at Walden, these students felt they were in the wrong place.

"This isn't Walden Pond," they said.

"Yes, it is," Dr. Burton assured them.

After a moment of mutual culture shock, it turned out the students from India thought that since Thoreau had been a major influence on Mahatma Ghandi, Walden Pond should be about the size of the Atlantic Ocean.

Walden Trees

"The beauty of this story galvanized my interest in Walden," Tanya said. "I had no better idea of the size of Walden Pond than these students did. 'You mean you can walk around the whole pond?' I asked Dr. Burton in surprise. She replied that you could ski around it in winter as well."

"I developed my slideshow talk about Walden Pond when I discovered that even people who knew Thoreau's writing much better than I do had no idea what the pond looked like. To me, it's a place of magic!"

Walden Beach

Visitors can stroll around the edge of Walden Pond in about 45 minutes. That's approximately twice as long as it takes to walk around Stow Lake in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. In some regional varieties of American English, Walden Pond would more naturally be called "Walden Lake," because in many places a pond is thought of as a small body of dammed up water, such as a farm pond used for fire protection.


Quick Facts

  • Walden Pond does exist, and it is beautiful.
  • Conservation and restoration are ongoing projects at Walden.
  • Land acquisition for open space around the site began in the late 1980s and is continuing.
  • Peak season day use of the pond is now limited. 500,000 people visit annually.
  • The current bioengineering approach to restoration at Walden includes:
    • Stabilizing and protecting the shore
    • Brush layering and bundled fascines to retard erosion on the slopes
    • Live staking, to hold the fascines in place
    • Planting 30,000 seedlings grown from seeds and cuttings collected at the Walden State Reservation

For more information, contact:
The Thoreau Society

Walden Pond State Reservation
Walden Woods Project
18 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108
Telephone 978-369-3254


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