Amend The Ban of Open Water Swimming at Walden Pond

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Amend The Ban of Open Water Swimming at Walden Pond

This petition made change with 11,057 supporters!

Boston Open Water Swimming Community started this petition to Olivia Dorrance and the Massachusetts DCR

***Please Do NOT contribute money to this petition.  This is about SIGNATURES.  Very kind of those who have donated thus far.*** Image credit "Alpine Swimming"

****Fred Copeman and members of the Boston Open Water Swimming community authored this original letter:

We, the open water swimming community of greater Boston (and other concerned community members), are writing to express our frustration with the recent ban on open water swimming at Walden Pond and wish to propose an amendment. We understand there have been an alarming number of drownings in the state this year, and we recognize the tragedy and need for action around that. We are encouraged to see that the state is taking a number of positive proactive steps like offering complimentary swimming lessons and stepping-up the presence of lifeguards at popular swimming spots.  However, restricting open water swimming at Walden Pond is passive and negative, and it infringes on our reasonable right to access the natural assets of our state. For many of us, we live in this beautiful state because of our access to spots like Walden Pond. Some of us have been starting our mornings at Walden for decades; some find that the long swims across Thoreau’s oasis are our greatest connection to the natural world. Walden also represents one of the safest places for us to practice and hone our sport due to the minimal boat traffic, as opposed to open water swimming in the ocean. We are grateful for the work the Massachusetts DCR does to protect and ensure access to our natural assets, but we feel strongly that this recent ban is a misuse of DCR energy and an infringement on our basic rights.

If the DCR is looking for an alternative measure which could better serve the goal of promoting safe swimming in Massachusetts, we propose that the ban on open water swimming at Walden Pond be amended to a ban on open water swimming without open water swim buoys.  These are flotation devices which are pulled behind open water swimmers via a harness around the waist and a short tow line. Most open water swimmers already use such devices and, for many of us, these already offer a great increase of safety by providing necessary flotation if needed and increased visibility of swimmers from other water users (boats, paddle boarders, kayakers, etc). This feels like a proportional response and a reasonable step our community can take to help ensure a safer swim environment in our beautiful state. By signing below, our community members (and other Massachusetts residents) are stating their support for the above statement and their willingness to help enact and uphold this proposed amendment to the Walden open water swimming ban.

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This petition made change with 11,057 supporters!