Fighting to be free [pdf]
But Eldred had barely driven his white-and-red camper into the parking lot of the Walden Pond Reservation and tacked up a handwritten sign reading “Free Walden” when a state park ranger asked him to leave. Eldred said he was told he needed a permit to hand out copies of the book, free or not, and would be arrested if he continued.
“Obviously, Thoreau didn’t ask for government permission before he published ‘Walden,’ ” said Eldred, sitting inside his bookmobile last week. “It seems absurd for me to go the government and have them look at the content and see whether it’s approved or not. . . . It demeans the whole spirit of Thoreau’s work.”
Eldred, 60, has been seeking legal advice on whether the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, which oversees the Walden Pond State Reservation, is violating his constitutional right to free speech if it refuses to allow him to distribute the books.