The Lakes Region Conservation Corps (LRCC) is an AmeriCorps service program that develops skills and experiences for conservation professionals. LRCC members are the driving force behind the Squam Lakes Association’s conservation efforts. The program provides hands-on conservation work experience and numerous certifications over a broad range of areas, which ensures that LRCC members are capable of independently approaching a variety of tasks in the environmental conservation field. Members remove invasive species from the Squam watershed, manage and act as caretakers at our backcountry campsites, maintain the SLA’s 50+ miles of trails, educate the public on local and regional conservation initiatives, spearhead reports on conservation efforts, lead SLA volunteer crews and ensure the daily functioning of the Squam Lakes Association’s programs. Click here to learn more about the LRCC program.
May 17, 2019
One of the best things about being part of the LRCC is that I’m always learning something new. Whether it’s how to drive a boat, filter water quality samples, or peacefully live with seven other people in a two-bedroom cottage, it’s a never-ending learning experience. This last week, for example, I learned how to install docks.
Growing up near the ocean, more than a few of my happiest memories took place on these mooring structures. As a kid, I would hang off the edges of Seattle’s docks to experimentally run my fingers through the feathery tube worms and clinging anemones hidden below. Years later, the docks became the place where my parents and I would unload our morning’s catch of Dungeness while chatting with the boaters visiting from British Columbia. All this time and I never knew anything about how those docks actually got there.
Now, on literally the opposite side of the country, I’ve finally learned the ins and outs of how docks are installed. The process, as a whole, is simple enough: you drill some brackets into each dock segment, lower the segments into the water, and drop long metal poles through the ring of each bracket before sledgehammering them into the bottom of the lake. Once the poles are solidly embedded, you can then use the brackets and a raiser to raise the docks to the desired height. It’d be a pretty straightforward task if it weren’t for the fact that each individual dock presents its own unique challenges.
Rocks, for instance, require a ridiculous amount of troubleshooting. On our third day we had two poles on one of our island docks that kept hitting rocks. No matter how we angled them, the poles refused to sink into the ground. After an hour or so of fruitless sledgehammering, we finally decided to reposition the brackets, which required us to lean over the sides of the SLA’s boats (Lil Whaler & Calypso) and reach under the dock to loosen the bolts. While leaning over the edge and up to my elbows in freezing water, I tried not to think about the fact that we’re scheduled to have our swim test in that very same water in less than a week. Once both brackets were relocated, we dropped the poles into their new locations and breathed a collective sigh of relief when they sunk into soft mud.
Despite the frustrations, it was great to finally get out on the water and enjoy some of the Squam Lake sunshine. Working on the docks also led me to a few realizations—the first of which being that dock spiders are massive. As a proud recovering arachnophobe (my anti-spider weapon of choice has recently become a cup and a piece of paper instead of a sturdy shoe) I’m actively working to become more comfortable with our 8-legged friends. But dock spiders? That’s gonna take some time.
My second realization was that there’s a ton of “invisible” work that goes into public access. Even though I may not have seen them in person, every time I’ve camped out in a clean campsite, hiked a well-maintained trail, or cast off from a public dock, I’ve been able to do so because of the hard work of caretakers and volunteers. Now that I’ve had my turn as one of these “invisible” workers, it makes me all the more grateful for the work that public access organizations like the SLA are doing to ensure that we can all enjoy our natural resources.
Adel's favorite meal is whole fried red snapper- with the eyes and fins and everything, roasted asparagus, garlic mashed potatoes, and matcha ice cream! You can read more about Adel here.
Join our LRCC members for weekly guided hikes, volunteer opportunities, and environmental programs. Learn more by clicking here.