Walden Planning Unit

Resource Management Plan and Visitor Services Master Plan

Walden Pond State Reservation holds unique cultural significance, owed to the residence of Henry David Thoreau near the northern pond shore from July 1845 to September 1847. Residing in a self-built one-room cabin, Thoreau’s experiences and observations during this time served as the cornerstone for his 1854 book Walden; or Life in the Woods. Registered as a National Historic Landmark, the Reservation is synonymous with Thoreau’s legacy and widely perceived as a symbol of the ecological and environmental movement.

Walden Pond State Reservation was placed into public ownership in 1922 with a gift from Edith and Emerson Forbes, Edward W. Emerson, and C. Fay Heywood to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The gift was predicated on preserving Walden Pond’s shores and woodlands for public enjoyment, and allowing the property to be used for specific recreation activities including swimming, fishing, boating, and picnicking. The Commonwealth assigned management of the Reservation to Middlesex County. The Reservation remained under County management until 1975, when it was turned over to the Department of Environmental Management (now DCR). As part of the terms of the transfer, a Walden Pond Advisory Board was created by the Massachusetts Legislature that was to advise the state on the “care, maintenance, use, and development” of the Reservation. Today, the Walden Advisory Board is an active partner with DCR in managing the Reservation.

RMP documents

Walden Planning Unit Resource Management Plan


Public process

Public input is an integral component of the RMP process. DCR held a series of five public meetings during preparation of the Walden RMP, including a January 31, 2013 meeting where DCR staff presented a draft RMP after which a 30-day public comment period followed. The DCR Stewardship Council adopted the RMP on May 2, 2013.


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