This week we were pleased to hear from Roger LaRochelle of the Squam Lakes Conservation Society. Meeting minutes below:
In attendance:
Denise, Ben, Steve, Omer, Bill, Ken, Mike, Alex, Braden, Lisa, Sara, Sharon, Harry
Guest: Roger Larochelle, Squam Lakes, Conservation Society
Meeting brought together with The Pledge, Prayer and Song.
Ben acknowledged Steve's 35 years of service with Rotary and Sharon's birthday
Ken introduced his guest, Roger.
Roger spoke about the SLCS's efforts to reorganize in the face of COVID, and that they were pretty much back to basics with masks and an outside tented meeting area.
A powerful statement of " The outdoors is for everyone" documenting the sharp uptick in outdoor trail and lake activities since COVID. As a land trust, they have crafted two new parking lots and several new trails. They have not had any staffing cutbacks and currently have two Americorps volunteers. SLCS chose not to utilize the paycheck protection package and relied on their donor base of members.
Roger shared a map showing a new area in the North East watershed area of 2,000 acres, with little development. They manage 154 properties in their care and have fewer donations of land and rely more on purchase power. The Thompkins project was purchased in June and has a new nature trail, over 82 acres to Lost lake. It has the largest Black Ash tree and the trails are off limits to dogs. There is a new parking lot at Milbridge Rd for the Dot Bank's Nature Trail, and the second is at Eastern Brook Reserve. SLCS is currently working with Hubbard Brook on a climate change project measuring carbon and its effects. The Citizens Science Project and climate change information documents the need to protect as much as possible. Currently 30% of the watershed is protected.  Roger reminded us about their upcoming "event" celebrating 60 years of service with  A Night With The Stars, calling for a black out of lights from 9to 10pm on August 15th. He told us they have an increase in young volunteers as many older ones are still social isolating. 
     Steve voiced concerns and asked about the damage of WakeBoard boats on Squam, and their impact on normal lake activities due to the huge wakes they create. Roger stated that a study has stalled and that the youth and financially stable have redirected how we recreate on the lake, with boats that run up to 6 figures. 
     Ben asked if the increased activity affects property purchases on the lake, and the response was that there is little land available for development.
     Harry asked about lot development vs housing and Roger said there is really none available. Roger stated there are no more working farms and that the Trust seeks out even the less desirable land for protection.
     Lisa asked about the cost of purchasing land for protection being too expensive and Roger stated that of the 154 properties, 120 were donated.
     Ben asked about the Societies biggest concern for the watershed, and Ken spoke to the obvious changes that limited management caused if you compared Squam to the Meredith/ Lakeport area of over development. The character of the community is the concern that SLCS works to preserve during evolving values.
     Ben asked about The Dollars for Scholars committee and Bill was reminded that volunteers would sign in with him for the various committees. 
     Ken reminded us of the Lakes Region Rotary's virtual Car show and it's entry fee and voting mechanism.
     Ben spoke about the last minute change back to virtual meetings until the board has time to discuss the liability issues.
     Steve reported on a follow up thank you card from Midstate on their Feed The Need Grant.
     Harry said good bye for now, but asked to remain on the mailing list as they are selling their NH home and moving to Florida permanently. His 43 years of service has been a gift to all of us.
Respectfully submitted,