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.
December 11, 2017
I’m experiencing Squam in a whole new way this time around. In the past I have mostly worked during the summer with about a month of fall time up here. Now, with the first true snowfall, I am finally experiencing a winter Squam. It’s almost like there is a piece of the puzzle that I was missing before. I already know how serene and green the summer can be and that adds a beautiful contrast to Squam now. The trees don’t have leaves anymore (aside from those admirably persistent beeches), there aren’t as many critters and birds zipping about, and if I were to see another boat on the lake with me while doing water quality I would be astonished. It’s almost eerie, but it gives me a totally different perspective of the area. But change is good. With change, new doors are opened and new opportunities are available. I can ski here now. I can put on my micro-spikes to use and hike up an icy four thousand footer. I can go sledding down Shepard’s Hill. Ok probably not that one, but it’s fun to imagine. As if I wasn’t already enamored with the natural beauty of the area, now it’s contending with a giddy desire to skate on a frozen lake every morning. But there’s still work to be done.
The ice I so badly want to skate on is being crushed daily by the weight of our Calypso as we clear a path to the open part of Squam from Piper Cove so that we can easily get out to perform lake duties such as Water Quality and shipping lumber to the campsites to repair platforms. That’s a long sentence without punctuation, but I promise it’s right because we are also performing a lot of indoor research and computer work that requires extensive writing and reading skills. We can work on so many projects so late into the season because our working winter staff numbers are effectively doubled, with our AmeriCorps team being capable of impactful field work that includes trail maintenance and snowplowing. On top of that, we each have independent projects that are working to improve the Squam Lakes Association as an organization ranging from becoming a cyanobacteria specialist to spearheading updated trail signage.
The abundance of staff also allows us to run adventure programs twice a week. Have you always wanted to add a winter hike on your quest to become a Squam Ranger, but never felt safe doing it without a hiking buddy? Well now some of us are hosting hike days where you can join us on a hike. Just this past weekend I was joined with others to work on campsite skills such as knots, wood splitting, and bear hangs. There’s just so much opportunity to tackle projects, and we’re all tugging at the reins to begin as many as we can.
I can’t say I like winter in Squam better than summer yet, but I suppose time will tell. The one thing I can say is that I miss seeing a lot of the summer regulars, and I hope that with the increased amount of winter events that we are hosting some of the summer folk will have increased incentive to experience and enjoy the area in the winter as I am.
Kyle is from Rochester, New York. He is working towards a degree in Chemistry from SUNY Oswego. Click here to read Kyle's bio.