Walden Pond's so full of water there's not much beach left

The deepest point of the historic Massachusetts pond averages around 102 feet deep, but with all this excess water, it's currently closer to 110 feet deep

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The beach at Massachusetts' famed Walden Pond is almost completely underwater. And it might stay like that all summer.

Walden Pond park officials said the El Niño year brought an extra 10 inches of rain, prompting the kettle pond to overflow and park officials to close down the overflow parking lot.



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The beach at Walden Pond will stay open throughout the summer, but the capacity is being cut down by a third.

"It's like kind of fitting 10 lbs. of potatoes in a 5-lb. sack with all the folks here," Visitor Services supervisor Kyle Griffiths said.

Una playa abarrotada en el desbordado Walden en Concord, Massachusetts, el miércoles 26 de junio de 2024.
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A crowded beach at the overflowing Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, on Wednesday, June 26, 2024.

"We are letting folks know that we have reduced beach. We are not letting in as many folks as usual," Walden Pond park supervisor Lisa Little said.

Officials say the water levels rise and fall naturally — something Henry David Throeau wrote about back in the 1840s.

But with about 10% of their normal beach coverage, pond-goers are laying their towels down on the trail that wraps around Walden Pond.

"It was just difficult to find a place to set our stuff down because we were expecting a lot more beach area than there actually is," Belmont resident Subin Pyo said.

Swimming is once again restricted at Walden Pond, a water safety move that some athletes say unfairly affects them.

"I hope that at some point it gets a little bit bigger so the crowd doesn't seem to be all squished in together," said Jacqueline Jowet, a mother of five from Cambridge. "But we still love it here. It's so peaceful and family friendly."

Walden Pond is Massachusetts' deepest natural body of water. The deepest point averages around 102 feet deep, but with all this excess water, it's currently closer to 110 feet deep.

Keith Bergman lives at White Pond in Concord, which Henry David Thoreau called Walden's lesser twin. He watched the water levels rise all winter and then sat on a submerged bench in the spring.

"Many times during the winter I thought, 'Well, on some hot day I'm going to be able to sit on that submerged park bench,'" Bergman said.

It's unclear when the water levels will return to normal, but officials hope it happens within the year.

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