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 30, 2018
The past month has been full of snowy hikes, icy trail work days, and winter excitement!
On my first full trail work day of the season, Adel, Sydney, Alex and I headed to the Doublehead Trail so that we could hike to the last part of the Crawford-Ridgepole Trail that needed to be worked on. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I was looking forward to a full day on the trails. With only a few inches of snow on the ground, we decided to leave the snowshoes and head up the trail. I recently hiked this trail in October, but just a few weeks later it was already remarkably different. I was amazed and in awe over the transitioning forest we hiked upon; snow on the ground, streams starting to freeze, and trees without leaves that allowed for views that were not visible during the summer months. The wintery conditions also posed new challenges as we hiked up the steeper parts and I struggled to get up the packed snow. Once we made it to the top, we took in the views before venturing across the ridge. What we expected to be the easier part of our hike quickly turned into trekking through several inches of unpacked snow. At times the depths extend to my knees! “This is so fun!” was not what I was expecting to hear from any of my fellow crew members, but it was said. No sarcasm either. And Adel was right. While difficult, this new experience was fun. We were surrounded by beautiful blankets of snow, in the middle of the woods, trudging through snow! After a few more challenging spots, we finally made it to the spot that needed to be worked on. We spent the next couple of hours clearing the trail before having to head back down. I think we all learned that we should bring the snowshoes, and I began to learn the challenges and joys of winter hiking.
Another one of our recent trail work days involved going to Cotton Mountain trail to clear bent trees and blowdowns. Despite this trail being cleared a week before, we headed to the trail to respond to the damage that was reported after our most recent winter storm. We did not expect most of the beginning of the trail to be completely impassable. Luckily, we had the help of three amazing volunteers that day. We were able to remove the ice from bent trees, lop branches, and remove fallen trees, all in a matter of a couple of hours. We even had time to make it to the top to enjoy the views of the lake. It is always very exciting and rewarding when a lot of work needs to be done and you are able to walk back down a cleared trail. Thank you again to our volunteers!
I was not expecting my November to be an introduction to a New England winter. I guess the unexpected is all a part of the experience, so I am told. So, as the temperature continues to drop, the lake continues to freeze, and season spirit grows, I am looking forward to more challenges and exciting moments in the next month and the coming New Year!
Kim is originally from Deland, Florida and graduated from the University of North Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies. To read more about Kim, visit her bio here.
Join our LRCC members for weekly guided hikes, volunteer opportunities, and environmental programs. Learn more by clicking here.