SLA COVID-19 Changes to Operations, Summer 2020

In response to CDC and the New Hampshire Governor's guidelines, our operations will look a little different this summer. Please read the sections below to see changes made to our camping, youth programs, hiking trails, and more. Thank you for your continued support and we hope you understand that these decisions were made to protect the health and safety of our staff and community. If you have any questions, please email info@squamlakes.org or call (603) 968-7336. 

Campus & Boat Launch

While our physical offices, deck, and all public restrooms are closed to the public, our campus and boat launch remain open for paddle boats, sailboats, and powerboats 25 HP or less. We ask that visitors follow CDC guidelines on social distancing and are aware that they will not have access to a bathroom on our campus and that shared public surfaces, such as picnic tables, will not be frequently sanitized throughout the day.

Hiking Trails

The over 50 miles of trails managed by the Squam Lakes Association (SLA) are open to the public. The SLA embraces that access to the natural world is important for maintaining good mental and physical health in both times of certainty and during this current time of uncertainty. Please continue to follow the CDC’s guidance on social distancing while on the trails. No public restrooms will be provided at any trailhead. When a trailhead’s parking lot is full, the SLA and local police departments ask that hikers please refrain from hiking that trail and find an alternative hike. A full parking lot indicates that the trail is at capacity. Parking on the road creates safety hazards and frequently impedes the ability for ambulances to pass if there were an emergency. Some trails, like Rattlesnake, are well known and get overwhelmed quickly. There are a lot of hiking options around Squam Lake, so explore—give people space, and you will be able to find a little seclusion and solitude.

Moon Island, Bowman Island, and Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest

A limited number of docks are currently installed at these three locations. We ask that docks are reserved for campers only, so as to limit the amount of people on the islands and to allow campers access to their sites. Bathrooms at all locations are closed, because we are unable to clean these facilities with a frequency that ensure the health and safety of our staff and visitors. When visiting these locations please keep in mind that relieving oneself on the forest floor close to a waterbody can lead to harmful nutrient off-loading and the spread of viruses and bacteria. We are providing campers with portable toilets that they can retrieve at SLA’s campus. If you are camping at these locations more information will be provided regarding the portable toilet system and other camping procedures a week prior to your visit.

Camping

Campers who already have reservations will still be able to camp at our sites but we are not accepting any new camping reservations. This enables us to limit the number of people out on our sites, while implementing procedures based on the guidance of the Governor of New Hampshire and the CDC to ensure the health and safety of our staff, campers, and community. Depending on the success of these procedures, we will decide whether to open reservations up again later in the season. Campers who currently have reservations and plan to camp will receive an email explaining these procedures a week before their reservation. While we want to continue to provide people with access to the natural resources of Squam, we are prioritizing the health and safety of staff, community, and campers. If campers are canceling due to Covid-related reasons we completely understand and will provide refunds.

Boat Rentals

Canoe and kayak rentals are currently closed to the public. While we are considering solutions to enable rentals later in the summer, this depends on our ability to ensure the health and safety of our staff, community, and renters.

Youth Camps (JSLA & CYSP)

The SLA is sad to announce our decision to cancel the JSLA and CYSP 2020 Summer Youth Programs. After extensive review of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and proposed camp protocols, we have come to the conclusion that no amount of careful preparation and safety precautions can eliminate the risk of a possible outbreak in our camps this summer. We do not want to endanger the health of our campers, staff and the surrounding community.

When it becomes safe to do so, we hope to offer small group experiences, most likely for family groups. For now, however, we will continue to connect with the SLA community through our Share Learn Adventure program, which you can find on our Facebook, Instagram and SLA website pages. We hope that our posts will inspire you and your family to learn about and explore a variety of nature topics, and we hope to see you and your families on the trails and the lake this summer (practicing social distancing of course!). We ask that you please share your photos, questions, ideas and inspirations with us, using the hashtag #ShareLearnAdventure!

Sailing Programs

All sailing programs are canceled this summer due to the difficulties of teaching and assisting sailors while maintaining appropriate distance via CDC guidelines.

Educational Programing (Adventure Ecology, Guided Hikes, Speaker Series, etc.)

While our in-person Adventure Ecology, Guided Hike, and Speaker Series programs are canceled, we will be offering virtual versions of some of these events—such as our Zoom Science Pubs—in addition to posting regular virtual Share Learn Adventure activities. You can find these Share Learn Adventure activities on our Facebook, Instagram and SLA website. We hope that our posts will inspire you and your family to learn about and explore a variety of nature topics! Please share your photos, questions, ideas and inspirations with us, using the hashtag #ShareLearnAdventure!

Squam Ridge Races

We are not opening registration for the Ridge Races at this time. In the coming weeks we will decide the feasibility of running this event in 2020 and will announce updates on our website and social media.