The Squam Conservation Internship provides skills and experience for future conservation professionals while working as the driving force behind the SLA’s conservation mission. This volunteer internship provides hands-on conservation work experience and certifications over a broad range of activities. Interns serve as campsite hosts and caretakers at our backcountry campsites, work toward the eradication of variable milfoil, help preserve loon populations on Squam, engage both youth and adults in environmental education, and perform other conservation duties such as shoreline restoration and trail maintenance and construction. Squam Conservation Interns also regularly write about their experiences in the Squam Watershed. Learn more about the internship program here.
July 27, 2017
Hiking has always been one of my favorite outdoor activities. Growing up I would go on daytrips with my parents and, as I got older, lunches on the top of a mountain turned into week long backpacking trips. However, until recently I feel as if I have taken for granted the amount of work that is required to maintain the trails that I love. On one of the earlier days of the internship, we were taken out and shown how to do basic trail maintenance, from removing encroaching brush to clearing out waterbars. This was not easy work, but it didn’t give me the full respect I now have for the true difficulty that maintenance can entail.
Recently, we started putting in new stone features on West Rattlesnake’s Old Bridle path. A delivery of rock and gravel to the base of the mountain three weeks ago, and someone has to move all that material from the base of the mountain to the work site, halfway up the trail. While some of the labor was ‘crowdsourced’ to people doing their day hikes, the larger rocks could not be handed out in the same regard. With help from the University of New Hampshire, Elizabeth and I had the pleasure of moving the granite pavers up the mountain. We carried these massive hunks of rock, weighing in at over 125 lbs, up the mountain. After several trips, empty nalgenes, and covered in sweat all the pavers had finally made their way to the site.
The work is hard, but rewarding. I love to hike, and it is great to finally be able to give back in such a tangible way. Tens of thousands of people hike rattlesnake each year, and with each passerby the trail gets a little wider. What started out as a two foot wide trail many years ago is now close to six feet wide at many points. The hope is that a better-defined trail will keep people on it, keeping the trail from widening anymore. These are the features I took for granted, but not anymore.
Eric is a rising sophomore at Bates College where he hopes to major in environmental economics. Click here to read Eric's bio.