Willet Pond itself is a man-made lake that was created in 1913 when Hawes Brook in Norwood was dammed to provide water and power for a downstream tannery. The pond is approximately 1.3 miles long and one-half mile wide, encompassing approximately 220 acres with depths up to 20 feet. It is home to a rich, vibrant, and diverse population of wildlife. Eleven different species of fish reside in its waters, many dozens of bird species including blue heron and the bald eagle live along its banks, and a seemingly endless number of other forms of wildlife from turtles to Ritzenbergs abound.

Today, there are approximately 85 homeowners, known as “abutters” because they adjoin Neponset’s property—property which encompasses the lake itself, a small strip of property extending past the high water mark, and the dam and dike. Three towns actually encompass various portions of the pond–Walpole, Westwood, and Norwood.

The pond is private to the homeowners and their friends, though members and guests of The North Walpole Fish and Game Club,  also have use privileges. And upon occasion, we do offer others use of the pond—for example, the Fish and Game Club recently hosted a group from the Wounded Warriors project.

Willet Pond offers many recreational activities from fishing to motor boating. The Fish and Game Club stocks the pond with trout, bass and other species of fish, and the fishing is truly excellent. Motorboats and even water skiers are also welcome on the pond, though our RULES and USE REGULATIONS which sensibly limit both boat speed and size. Kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, and the like are very popular, and in the winter hockey and ice fishing are quite popular. Willet Pond is indeed a watersport gem.

Over the long 104 years since the pond was first formed, much has and has not changed. Most notably, what was a pond with only several owners in 1913 has grown to what it is today, and the best representation of these changes is the comparison below of the 1913 map to that of today’s map.

As these three towns have grown, so has the pond’s human population representing the biggest change and challenge to our conservation efforts. But despite this growth, what has NOT changed is a singular shared community focus on responsible development and conservation efforts. With Neponset as our partner, we have an effective team providing the critical stewardship to ensure that the pond, its watershed, and its ecosystem are not compromised. We strive to continue protecting these most precious natural resources and we welcome help and assistance from any organizations and individuals who are willing to help us further our mission of proper environmental stewardship.

Today, we face both challenges and opportunities in these changing times. First and of great current concern is a recent explosion of weeds—a common problem in many small lakes and ponds. We are now evaluating our options to address this problem, and have recently taken our first action steps—engaging outside professionals to provide us possible solutions that we will bring to our membership for their consideration. We will need to collectively band together even more closely to confront and overcome these issues and we welcome all ideas. The WEEDS section of the website will keep our membership up to date on these efforts.

Second, we are sensitive to the fact that the Office of Dam Safety has issued an order to Neponset to repair the dam (which they currently own). The dam and the dike are actually in excellent condition. However, as with nearly one-third of our state’s more than 6,000 dams, they were not built to today’s rigorous standards. While the dam can easily withstand the massive 500-year flood standard, today’s standards are what could be called “Noah’s Flood”.  Please go to the Our Dam section, for a more complete review of this issue and where you will find various dam-related documents.

Somewhat relatedly, we face a third challenge, one that actually represents a terrific opportunity for all of us to enhance our property values and better control our own destiny. The pond’s owner, Neponset, has decided to sell the pond, the strip of land they own at the water’s edge, and the dam itself—all as one package. They have contacted several potential buyers, such as the three towns adjoining the pond, but as of now we are the only viable buyer. Therefor, we are seriously considering purchasing it for ourselves. As of now, we are studying the many issues involved—from our liability if any as dam owners, what is the best way to structure this, whether we can obtain grant monies to repair the dam—and many others. The “Land Purchase” section of this site,  provides much more detail on this issue.

We can’t predict the future or guarantee results as we address these and other challenges. But we do guarantee effort and we are working hard on all fronts.

We welcome any suggestions from our members or others regarding our nascent website or on the challenges we face.  Use our Contact section of our website.