Member Welcome Letter

Welcome to Willett Pond

Congratulations and welcome to your new home.  Your decision to own a home at Willett Pond will bring you many beautiful memories and a sense of nature that is difficult to come by in most neighborhoods.

It also comes with a few responsibilities if your property directly touches lake property or if you intend to boat or swim on the pond.  These responsibilities are easy to live with and are in effect, to protect the pond as well as our rights to use it.

This message comes from the Willett Pond Charitable and Protection Association, Board of Directors.  Our organization represents the home owners that are licensed to use the ponds.   Both ponds and the strip of land around the pond is owned by the Neponset River Land Holding Association (NRLHA) which is a sub corporation of the Neponset River Watershed Association (NepRWA).  A bit of history might probably make it easier to explain how it came to be that these organizations work together to protect the pond.

In 1913, the pond was created by George Willett.  Using horses and many immigrant workers, they built the dam and the earthen dike that runs down Brook Street in Norwood, which turns into Bullard Street in Walpole.  The rest of the area the pond now sits on, was a field with a natural bowl shape created by a glacier.  Once the dam and dike were put in place, the area was flooded by Bubbling Brook, that flowed into the area from Pettee’s Pond, as well as a number of underground springs and small brooks to the east.  George Willett’s main purpose for creating this reservoir was to maintain water power for factory use down-stream in both Norwood and East Walpole.  It also served to flush pollutants from those same factories as needed.  Willett also felt that the town’s people should have a unique place to live and play and felt the Pond would enhance the communities where the factories were located.

Many people called Willett Pond, “New Pond”, because it was the new pond in their town.  It was open for all to use and a lovely sandy beach was created, where St. Timothy’s Church is now located.  Time passed on and the 50’s and 60’s rolled in, with a bit of mischief here and there at first, but eventually enough trouble was caused by the attraction to the pond, that the Town of Norwood sold all their public land to the Roman Catholic Church.  This parcel of land was the only public entrance to the pond.  All other land that surrounds the pond, was and is owned by private parties, (abutters), like you and me and The North Walpole Fish and Game Club which is a private members only club; therefore the pond is currently private.  Because it is private, it also is the cleanest body of water in all three towns, Norwood, Walpole and Westwood.  It is also one of the few ponds in all three towns that has little or no weeds to deal with.

In the 1990’s the companies that previously owned the pond had improved their manufacturing process (thank you EPA), to the point that the water from the pond was no longer needed in their processes. They began to look for the proper organization to own the pond, by giving it to a non-profit, they saved quite a bit on their tax bill.

Our organization the Willett Pond Charitable and Protection Association, was formed to try to obtain the pond, but the owners chose the Neponset River Watershed Association – both organizations are 501 3C Non Profit.  NepRWA, in turn formed another corporation, the Neponset River Land Holding Association (NRLHA), which enables them to receive the stock for the pond.

The Willett Pond Charitable and Protection Association continued, even though they were very disappointed they were not chosen to receive the stock in the pond, in order to represent the people that previously were given permission, or licensed to use the pond.  NRLH, agreed to keep the pond private as long as we, the abutters, agree to pay the fees to manage the pond properly.

NRLHA continues to issue all abutters, in good standing, a license to use the pond.  It’s important to read and be aware of what you are allowed to do on the strip of land that belongs to NRLHA and what is not allowed.  The rules on the water are also very important for safe fun for everyone.

The rules to use the pond are pretty simple, here are some of them:

  • Don’t mess with the shore of the pond in a any way without written permission from NRLHA – the strip of land that goes around most of the pond is owned by NRLA, it can be as small as inches but or as large as 50 ft.  The average is about 20 ft.  Most of us do not own up the the water’s edge – NRLHA must give us the right to trespass – they do this through the license procedure.  If you alter their land, in any way without WRITTEN permission, you may forfeit the right to use the pond.  If you do, there is a large cash penalty to be re-licensed.
  • If you intend to put a boat of any kind on the water, make sure it has the proper stickers on it, you must be licensed to put your boat in the water.  You must also put your license number on your boat and any dock. All docks must be approved by NRLHA before putting them in the water.
  • If you use a motor boat, make sure it is within the proper size (length and motor HP) before you launch it on the pond.  Max boat length is 18 ft., with a power boat motor of 135 HP.  No jetski or jet propulsion type boats are allowed.
  • If you intend to water ski or tube, make sure you know all the rules before you begin.  There are some areas that are off limits and you must use the established pattern or you will get a visit from the Security Patrol.
  • No speed over 5 mph. or load noise on the pond after dark.  No water skiing or tubing after dusk.  Always have a spotter in the boat when water skiing or tubing.  It’s the law.
  • All boats must stay a reasonable distance from other’s shore and at least 50 ft. from canoes, kayaks and swimmers.
  • Fox Island is to be kept clean, no fires, no trash.  Always respect the wildlife.

There is a safety patrol that looks out for all of us around the pond.  If you see anything that you feel you are not comfortable with, please contact the safety patrol.  Once you move in to your home, NRLHA will give you the current list of contact names and numbers.  You can always contact a Willett Pond Board Member.   Give a board member a call and they can arrange for a boat ride around the pond.  There are some shallow areas that you should try to avoid and some “no wake” zones that you need to know about ahead of time.

If you take your boat to different waterways at any time, please make sure you thoroughly rinse off all invasive matter from the vessel before you launch in the pond.  Milfoil, water chestnuts and other invasive plants can ruin a pond like this in a matter of a few years.

The rules are simple and are in place to keep us all safe and to keep the pond quiet and pristine.  Enjoy!


The Board of Directors
Willett Pond Charitable and Protection Association.

Map of Willett Pond – Safety Areas