Conservation Journal: John

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.

John Plummer

February 15, 2019

Growing up in New Hampshire, I learned early on how to savor a brisk morning and biting wind and get outside, to keep from going stir-crazy. I was lucky to have had skis strapped to my feet around the age of five and even luckier to have had a father who was eager to dump me in skiing lessons so he that could take some turns. By the time I was in high school, I was quite adept at handling my ‘sticks’ and joined the ski team at school, but the monotony of grand slalom turns on a wide white plane didn’t suit my style. I skied the moguls, into the trees, off of small cliffs - off of the manicured corduroy wherever I could find the chance.

Once I got out of college and started working, I wasn’t able to find the time to drive up into the mountains to ski downhill, so I bought cross country skis and started exploring the trails around my home. This was immensely gratifying, as I was able to glide on the snow through forest and along water’s edge, all through my own effort. Since leaving the “comfort” of a cubicle a few years ago, I’ve been slowly stepping up my level of adventuring and in 2018 I took the plunge and bought alpine touring skis. This winter has been unlike any other for me. 

On average, I've “earned my turns” skiing about every other day since the first day of winter because I have been getting up before the sun rises to ski before I serve at the SLA. As part of my AmeriCorps service here, I have analyzed trail parameters which are used to improve management of SLA trail resources. As a result of this, I generated and had access to trail data which, in my free time, I used to identify trails whose grade and features would lend themselves well to a vigorous morning ski. In this way, I found all “the goods” in our trail system, which are available for the plundering just a short drive from our doorstep. 

I grew up driving hours to go skiing, so it’s hard to express the immense gratitude I have for being able to see these mountains from my window today. The SLA maintains over fifty miles of trail and I feel very lucky to have such a bountiful natural playground in my backyard. Despite being consumed by skiing at the moment, I can’t wait for the snow to melt, for mud season to pass, and for many more miles of trail to become accessible to us all. 

John enjoys early mornings to himself, making soy wax candles, and adventuring in all its forms. You can read more about John here.

Join our LRCC members for weekly guided hikes, volunteer opportunities, and environmental programs. Learn more by clicking here.