Conservation Journal: Erica

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.

October 16, 2018

Erica

Here at the SLA, we just finished up the whirlwind that was the sixth annual Squam Ridge Race. The Ridge Race is a fun event that brings runners from all over New England to run a 4 or 12-mile course on Squam Ridge. The week leading up to the race was all hands on deck at the SLA, making signs, marking the course, a massive grocery run, organizing food and gear, moving everything to the race, and a hundred other things that made the race day run smoothly. And the race day did run very smoothly!

For me, it was incredibly fun to see the race from the SLA side this year. Being from Holderness, I have enjoyed being a part of the race since its beginning, running it in 2013, volunteering at an aid station in 2014, and running again this past year in 2017. All of my Squam Ridge Race experiences have been exceptional, but this year I got to see, behind the scenes, what goes into putting on an event like this. As a hiker and a runner, my favorite aspect of preparation was marking the racecourse. On Thursday and Friday last week, a crew of AmeriCorps headed for the trails, weighed down with laminated trail signs (mile markers, arrows, and big ‘X’s, indicating you’ve gone the wrong way), sign posts, hammers, nails, flagging tape, and an unthinkable number of yellow blaze arrows, all to make sure runners had no problem following the course. We also brought two GPS devices, to make sure our mile and half-mile signs were as accurate as possible. On Friday, that was my task. A group of us headed up Percival Friday morning to the summit, where, the evening prior we had placed the 5 mile marker, and prepared ourselves for a long, beautiful hike across the ridge. With two GPSs in hand, I walked as straight as I could down the center of the trail past Morgan, Webster, and Livermore and back down to Burleigh Farm. For 7 miles, I watched the mileage slowly increase on each GPS as I carefully hiked and those behind me placed signs and readied the trail.

On Sunday, the race came and went in a blur, before I knew it, runners had started and finished, medals were awarded, food was happily consumed, and everyone went home on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The SLA staff and AmeriCorps packed everything up and headed back to headquarters. It is amazing how much goes into this event to make it run.      

Erica is from Holderness, NH. She graduated from Colby College with a degree in Geology and Environmental studies. Click here to read Erica's bio.     

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