Frequently Asked Questions

Throughout his adult life, Don Henley has been active in numerous philanthropic endeavors, particularly those related to the environment. He grew up in a small town in Northeast Texas, and during his high school and college years, he had several influential teachers/professors who introduced him to the writings of Thoreau and Emerson. Don developed an early appreciation for the natural world that evolved into a lifelong commitment to the preservation of open space and wetlands, and environmental advocacy on a wide range of issues. In 1989, while watching the news on CNN, Don learned of two major commercial development threats to historic Walden Woods. He immediately offered support to a local grassroots organization in Concord, MA that was coordinating the opposition to a proposed office park and condominiums in Walden Woods. Not long after, Don founded The Walden Woods Project. Don is also the founder and Chairman of the Caddo Lake Institute in Northeast Texas – the Caddo Lake Institute – a non-profit scientific and educational corporation with the mission of protecting the ecological, cultural and economic integrity of Caddo Lake, its associated wetlands, and surrounding plant and wildlife habitats.

Many people would like to contact Mr. Henley on a variety of topics. The Walden Woods Project is not involved in matters related to the music industry, nor do we forward unsolicited materials/documents/proposals on any subject to Mr. Henley or his representatives. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

The Walden Woods Project does not manage Walden Pond. The Pond is part of the Massachusetts State Parks system, managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (MassParks). Decisions about capacity and summertime closures, and all permissible uses of Walden Pond are entirely up to MassParks. For further information, visit MassParks or call the Walden Pond State Reservation headquarters at 978-369-3254.

The Walden Woods Project is the official Friends of Walden Pond State Reservation. We are working to raise funds for major improvements, such as the new visitor center and shoreline stabilization, that will both protect and enhance the park for visitors from around the world. We also work closely with park staff and managers to provide interpretive expertise and artifacts that enhance the visitor’s experience and understanding of the global significance of Walden Pond and Henry David Thoreau.

Walden Pond State Reservation is located on Route 126 in Concord, Massachusetts. It is a 30-40 minute drive from downtown Boston.The Walden Pond State Reservation is run by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. There is limited public parking at the Reservation for a $5 fee. There are no additional admission charges. A trail surrounding the pond offers access to the site where Thoreau’s house at Walden Pond once stood. There is also a Thoreau house replica near the Reservation parking lot.

Swimming is permitted at Walden Pond, as is fishing with a Massachusetts state fishing license. Boating is also permitted, but gasoline engines are banned. No pets are allowed at the Reservation. There are no open fires and no camping. The Reservation parking lot is open from 8 a.m. to approximately one hour after sunset. However, hours vary seasonally. For further information and directions to Walden Pond, please go to MassParks or call the Walden Pond State Reservation headquarters at 978-369-3254.

All of the properties owned and managed by The Walden Woods Project are open to the public for passive recreation. Most of our properties have established, groomed hiking trails with parking nearby. Our headquarters, the Thoreau Institute campus located on Baker Farm in Lincoln, is open during regular business hours, but we recommend calling ahead before visiting.

There are no private or public camp grounds in the immediate area of Walden Woods. A few miles to the west is Boston Minuteman Campground, in Littleton. For information about camping in Massachusetts, visit

We encourage people interested in knowing more about the life and writings of Thoreau, or who want to see our exhibits, to come and visit. The library is open most weekdays, Monday through Friday, 10-4. The library has limited staff: to be sure staff is on hand when you come, we encourage you to please call ahead at (781)259-4730 or contact our Curator. We look forward to greeting you!

The Walden Woods Project is headquartered in Lincoln, Massachusetts at 44 Baker Farm Road. The main building on the Thoreau Institute campus is a Tudor style mansion that was built in 1906 by Henry Higginson, founder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The estate, run by Higginson’s son, was a fox hunting club known as Middlesex Meadows. In the 1930s, the estate was sold and the Middlesex Meadows hunt club came to an end. The Higginson House was in private ownership until The Walden Woods Project purchased it in 1994. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Learn more here.

We receive numerous inquiries from people who want to hold weddings and private parties at the Thoreau Institute, which is located in the midst of Thoreau’s Walden Woods. The Institute is located at the end of a private, residential road and has extremely limited parking. We do not rent the facility for private events.

Yes. There are portions of Walden Woods, both in the towns of Lincoln and Concord, which continue to be vulnerable to development. Walden Woods is 2,680 acres. Approximately 80% of it is protected by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The Walden Woods Project, and local conservation groups. The remaining 20% is vulnerable to development, and The Walden Woods Project continues to work toward protecting as much of Walden Woods as possible.

The Walden Woods Project actively manages our land for conservation and recreation purposes. Invasive species are a major threat to open space in the Walden Woods ecosystem, and we work to control infestations of invasive plants on our properties, as well as working with neighbors and partners on adjoining properties in the area. The Walden Woods Project is a founding member of the Sudbury-Assabet-Concord River Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, a group of over 50 land owning organizations in the Su-As-Co River Watershed that work together on understanding and addressing the threat of invasive exotic plants in the area.We also actively maintain trails for passive recreation on most of our land, including the self-guided interpretive trail, Thoreau’s Path on Brister’s Hill, located at the intersection of Route 2 and Walden Street in Concord.

In 1998, The Walden Woods Project held a benefit concert in Los Angeles called “Stormy Weather.” It featured Sandra Bernhard, Bjork, Natalie Cole, Paula Cole, Shawn Colvin, Sheryl Crow, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Gwen Stefani and Trisha Yearwood, performing pop, jazz, and blues standards. The live performances were recorded. AT&T, a corporate supporter of the Project, bought a limited quantity of the CDs, which were distributed exclusively to AT&T customers. The CD is not available in stores, or through The Walden Woods Project. There are no plans to release it in the future. However, you may find it in used record stores or at Internet auction sites.