BECOME PART OF BEARCAMP POND ASSOCIATION HISTORY
Whether you grew up near it, summer on it or just discovered it, become part of the Bearcamp Pond Association history and its ongoing purpose. Join the Association and volunteer. Help to ensure that this beautiful treasure in nature remains a place where future generations can continue to swim, fish, kayak, canoe, sail, watch sunsets and sunrises, watch birds, deer, moose, muskrats and beavers, pick berries, welcome the redwings, loons, and swallows back each spring, X-country ski, and skate when a perfect ice forms on the pond.
Bearcamp Pond, where “There is an endless variety of things to do. Canoe or ski to the Big Rock on the island for picnics or stargazing. Snowshoe up the river in winter to watch beaver gnawing through trees and sailing down their escape tunnels. Drill a hole through the ice and drop a line to catch a fish. Canoe down river in spring during high water all the way to Ossippee Lake. Or just paddle out to mid-pond on a clear day and sit there in the quiet and see nothing but the trees and the mountains and the blue water.” Excerpt from 1984 Wetlands Report
HOW WE STARTED
Interest in the protection and preservation of Bearcamp Pond began over 60 years ago. In 1955, Mr Leroy White who owned woodlands around Bearcamp Pond formed the White Sylvania Trust to protect the area and in 1956 the trust gave the beach area to the Town of Sandwich. On the evening of August 12 in 1956 a group of Sandwich residents and friends with a special connection to the pond, gathered informally at the home of Mrs. Robert Gifford in Sandwich, NH. The names included Bryant, Hambrook, Quimby, Miner, Wood, Beattie, Carlson, and Leonard. They discussed how to protect and preserve the area and that night they created an informal association called the Bearcamp Pond Association for that purpose. These folks understood the importance of their volunteer role in preserving the natural beauty of Bearcamp Pond for future generations. The mission they undertook in 1956 to accomplish that purpose continues today.
WE ARE VOLUNTEERS
The Bearcamp Pond Association has been and continues to be a local community volunteer organization and relies solely on donations in order to sustain the activities directly related to its purpose – water quality testing, maintenance of a loon nesting raft, and participation on NH Lakes Association.
Volunteers participated in State water testing initiatives in 1980 and since the 1990’s volunteers have collected water samples during the summer for testing through NH DES VLAP (Volunteer Lake Assessment Program). Water quality of the pond has remained stable and is fairly healthy, although Bearcamp, is considered an impaired water body due to low pH, the result of acidity from pollution; a problem condition for most NH Hampshire water bodies. The invasion of exotic aquatic plant and animal species is an ongoing threat to the pond and requires continued monitoring and the cooperation of boaters who bring their craft to the pond to follow NH State laws which mandate cleaning their boats prior to launching. Warmer dryer summer weather also poses a threat of increased algae and the possibility of toxic cyanobacteria growth, which is an increasing problem in New England and across the country. Volunteers are also participating in the EPA’s Northeast initiative to monitor cyanobacteria.
Volunteers have worked with the Loon Preservation Society since the 1990’s, to maintain, launch, and remove a loon raft during the nesting season. Since 2006, Bearcamp loon pairs have successfully reared eight chicks during eight nesting seasons (out of eleven) through to fall migration. Volunteers have assisted with monitoring the loons and chicks and educating visitors on the pond about observing loons from a safe distance and using lead-free fishing tackle according to the NH State law.
Volunteers assisted the dam owners with repairing the dam when a major repair was done about 40 years ago, with the removal and replacement of boards when desired, and the Association also reimbursed the owners for minor repairs done in 2014.
Volunteers worked to conduct observations, collect samples, and write reports in order for the areas surrounding the river to become a designated wetland in 1984.
WE BECAME A NH NONPROFIT AND A 501(C)3
The Association voted unanimously at the Annual Meeting held on July 19, 2015 to become a NH Nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization and volunteers worked to accomplish this by January 2016. All dues and contributions are 100% tax-deductible and pay for:
· Water testing through NH Department of the Environment’s Volunteer Lake Assessment Program
· Participation in the NH Lakes Association
· Support and assistance from the Loon Preservation Committee with providing a nest for the loons, as well as, monitoring their health and well-being.