Perhaps it’s the hauntingly beautiful call of the loon as it echoes across the lake in the evening calm; or the quiet peace of countless coves, sweet spots, towering pines, and rocky outcrops; it may be the happy sounds of children preceeded or followed by the splash; or that quiet trail that skirts the lake with views that never seem the same, painted by season, wind, weather, and clouds. For residents and visitors alike the kept and un-kept secrets and special places of Squam make it a gem in a region already renowned for its beauty. The Lakes Region is beautiful. . . but there something about Squam. . . something that speaks to the corner of our souls that long for peace and beauty even in the midst of flash, fun and culture,
The story of Squam is first and foremost a story of the marvels of nature – the work of glaciers, mountain building, erosion, destruction, growth, renewal, change.
But it is also the story of generations of families and people who have built their lives around this place - eeking their living from the land and water or simply designating it as their place of renewal. In recent years, it is the story of both land-owners, residents and visitors, who have been drawn here by the beauty and peaceful feeling of this place and have struggled to find the balance between protecting this place and recognizing that it is indeed a resource that belongs to all of us. In short to assure that we do not love this place to death.
While almost everyone who works on a day to day basis to protect the beauty and charm of the Squam Lakes will tell you that there is much still to be done, it is fair to say that the success of efforts make the Squam Lakes area a model of conservation and intelligent use, built on years of struggle, creative conflict, at times rancorous debate . . . even class “warfare”. Fortunately for all of us, Squam itself and the love and reverence for this special place served as the vehicle around which consensus could be built.
Ironically, the tranquility and beauty of Squam owes much to both geological and geographic as well as historic happenstance. Along with human effort, these things have paved the way to this conservation success story. The rocky nature of the Squams make them less desirable for high speed boats. The fact that transportation modes that drove population growth for the most part passed by rather than through the immediate region has, in hindsight, been a blessing. Finally, one cannot discount the proximity of nearby Winnipesaukee where speed, hustle and bustle and crowds are the norm. Without Winnipesaukee the pressure for development and heavier use on Squam would probably have been overwhelming.
Intellectual reasoning aside, the outcome does not change. Squam is something special. There just something about Squam . . . with apologies to Cole Porter . . . something delicious, delightful, delovely.