History, Vision & Mission

The Squam Lakes Association (Federal ID 02-0256498) is a non-profit organization issued exemption under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.


At the turn of the century, Squam was quite different from the scene we enjoy today. The surrounding mountains were cleared by logging, sawdust several feet thick had settled in many of the coves, driftwood made navigation hazardous, and refuse, including tires, mattresses and dead animals, had been dumped in the lakes.

In 1904, the Squam Lakes Improvement Association was formed by a group of concerned landowners. In 1905, the association was legally incorporated as a non-profit conservation organization and renamed Squam Lakes Association (SLA). Initial efforts of the SLA were focused on eliminating pollution from the lakes, maintenance of the water level, boat safety and navigation. Through cooperative relationships with local and state governments and the dedication of four generations of people who loved Squam, the watershed has been uniquely conserved. 


The Squam Lakes Association is dedicated to conserving for public benefit the natural beauty, peaceful character and resources of the watershed. In collaboration with local and state partners the SLA promotes the protection, careful use and shared enjoyment of the lakes, mountains, forests, open spaces and wildlife of the Squam Lakes region.


The Squam Lakes Watershed is a model for living in harmony with unique natural resources and cultural heritage.


Squam Watershed Wellness is the strategy through which the Squam Lakes Association will carry out its mission. A healthy lake, healthy land and healthy communities make for a healthy watershed.