The BSA Aquatics Program encourages Scouts to build confidence in the water, learn teamwork, and have fun while enjoying aquatic adventures. It aims to teach Scouts essential water safety skills, promote physical fitness, and develop leadership qualities through aquatic adventures. The program includes various activities such as swimming, snorkeling, boating, lifesaving, kayaking, and more.
To participate in the canoe treks, a unit needs swim checks for everyone (youth AND adult) and at least one adult who has taken safety afloat to serve as a qualified supervisor. It is HIGHLY recommended that the unit have at least one adult who has taken Paddle Craft Safety.
Canoe to an island campsite for a 1-night stay. Explore Squam Lake and its islands, and climb a mountain.
Arrange through Squam Lake Association (SLA), squamlakes.org
They have a 12-person group campsite on Moon Island, and another on Bowman Island next door. Each island also has several 6-person campsites, but you can only reserve one campsite per island. A reservation lottery takes place each January, and the sites are popular. Fees are per-site: $110 for a 12-person site, or $60 for a 6-person site.
While Moon or Bowman Islands are ideal, there are alternative campsites at the south end of the lake – see the SLA website.
Put-in, Take-out, Parking
Campers are allowed to park at the SLA Headquarters, 534 US Rt. 3, Holderness, NH. This is on sheltered Piper’s Cove, and there are docks for launching and loading canoes. From there it’s about a 2-mile paddle to Moon or Bowman Island, or 3.5 miles to the campsites at the south end of the lake.
The lake can get rough, and crossing to the islands requires crossing about a mile of open water. There may be motorboats, including waterskiers, on the lake.
At the Campsite
During the summer there are docks near the campsites. Each 12-person site has 3 large wooden tent platforms, a nearby composting toilet, and a firepit. One bundle of firewood is included with your campsite fee, and more can be purchased from SLA. Do not collect firewood on the islands, and do not bring your own firewood. There are no picnic tables or running water; bring your own water or plan to purify lake water.
Saturday morning, put in at SLA Headquarters and paddle to the island campsite. Set up tents and have lunch. Walk the nature trail around the island, and possibly visit the neighboring island. Saturday afternoon, go for a paddle – possibly circumnavigate Great Island to the south (3-4 miles of paddling), or explore the lakeshore looking for wildlife. If you choose to paddle after dark, bring lights to make yourself visible to motorboats.
Sunday morning during the summer consider a 1.5-mike paddle to Church Island (aka Chocorua Island) for the outdoor chapel service at 10:30 (www.churchisland.org). Volunteer to help pass out hymnals or whatever is needed. After the service, continue north 2 miles over open water to Rattlesnake Cove, beach the canoes at the neck of Five Finger Point, and climb one or both of the Rattlesnake Mountains for lunch with a view. Return to your campsite, pack up, and return to the take-out.
Cell coverage is spotty, but here are some useful numbers:
- Holderness Police dispatch 603-536-1626
- Marine Patrol Dispatch 603-293-2037
- Squam Lake Association 603-968-7336
The nearest hospital is Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth.
The Golden Pond Country Store, 10 Shepard Hill Road, Holderness, at the west end of the lake, has groceries, sandwiches, and ice-cream – maybe a good spot to stop after the trip.
As written by Michael Rounds
This is the link to youth group camping sites at Wellington-as well as contact information. The state set the sites up for youth group.
There are two islands with sites, fire pits and small beaches. Across the islands is a beautiful beach.
Canoes are launched from the boat ramp and there is no more than a two mile canoe trips.
On the larger island there are individual sites perfect for individual troops and a central site for a night campfire. Much like a Klondike derby or Fall Camporee. A supply boat would be needed to bring the equipment a short distance to the islands.
I have done trips to this spot three times. I called it the Skull Island trip based upon a Hardys Boys novel.
It is the perfect spot for canoe orienteering on Sunday or Saturday. It is very doable if canoes are launched at 4:00 pM Friday and depart on Sunday. As you can see the cost is very minimal because it is state owned property.
What I would suggest is to run it like a camporee and have troops be responsible for getting to the island and cooking their own meals. Setting up their own tents and canopies. There could be a meal competition. At night the district could organize the fire and the Saturday activity. At the south end of the lake, it is very shallow waist deep for all kinds of fun activities.
I usually ran the trips in late September when no-one was around. There is ample parking and the boat ramp is in great condition.