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.
November 10, 2017
It’s been a surreal experience returning to Squam Lake after what seems like forever, even though it’s been a little less than a year since I was here last. One of the Squam activities I always enjoyed was trail work, mostly due to the satisfaction you get from seeing the effects of your hard work on a freshly maintained trail. I fondly remember working on the still-in-progress Fisher Ridge trail with Kyle and Katri in the autumn of 2016. Something that excited me about returning to the area was the opportunity to continue work on this trail, which I managed to do this week. Walking the trail again brought back memories of placing markers to designate a basic route, cutting trees to provide a corridor along the trail, raking for hours on end to help define the trail, and seeking out cool mossy areas to break for lunch.
This time, we were taking on a new task of trying to even out portions of the trail that were sloped and provided uneven footing. This was an entirely new kind of task for me, and I was a bit hesitant at first to try it out. It also didn’t help that within about fifteen minutes of hacking into the ground I had become exhausted and needed to take a break. I had obviously been gone from Squam for too long and whatever muscle mass I had built up from before was now tired and not prepared for the task. Again and again as I worked and exhausted myself, I would feel rejuvenated by looking back at the progress we were making and admiring the new aspects of the trail. The day pressed on and the breaks became more frequent and necessary, but we all kept each other going through humor and the desire to not be cold. Near the end of the work day, I had lost so much dexterity that tasks such as unzipping my jacket or turning the key in my car took far too much effort than was needed, but I thought that it was worth it.
Strangely enough, I’m looking forward to many more days like this one. It goes back to seeing your hard work and progress provide you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, and it also helps in knowing that these efforts help protect and conserve the beauty of this region.
Connor is from Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from Saint John’s University in Minnesota with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Connor's bio.