Wah-Tut-Ca Magazine February 2014 - Page 10

Living The Code Wah-Tut-Ca Stream & Forest Restoration It is less widely known than the Scout Oath and Law, but it is an important expression of the values we teach young people. The Outdoor Code of the Boy Scouts of America declares as part of our mission to be conservation minded. In 2010, the Yankee Clipper Council obtained a USDA Wetlands improvement grant to protect over 180 acres of Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation’s forest. In obtaining this funding WTCSR was federally recognized as an ecologically significant site worthy of perpetual protection. With this recognition also comes funding to restore and improve the land owned by Yankee Clipper Council in Northwood NH. Several projects are underway that are focused on improving and protecting the special features of this natural treasure. The council’s properties and conservation committees have been working closely with the USDA to balance the needs of the land with the needs of the Scouts. Progress is already visible. An area at Wah-Tut-Ca commonly called the “hole and the woods-where the dragon sleeps, is a five acre plot of land that was clear cut in a 2006 tree harvesting project. It is located along a skidder trail, (orange trail) which was created to access the lumber. The trail and the site had issues with erosion, evasive species and access. A sand and gravel pit behind the rifle range also had serious conservation issues. With funding and expertise from the USDA these sites have been improved. The orange trail was graded and fit with erosion bars and French drains. The site is now not only more attractive it is stable and easier to hike on. The “hole in the woods” was cleaned up and leveled. The intention is to keep it as open space so it has been seeded with a conservation mix of grasses and clover and mulched with marsh hay to support the seedlings and reduce erosion. Both these projects have created opportunities for current and future program development. The Outdoor Code Of The Boy Scouts Of America As an American, I will do my best to Be clean in my outdoor manners. Be careful with fire. Be considerate in the outdoors. Be conservation minded. the USDA attributed the lack of fish was due to the three undersized and/or damaged culverts located on its course. As a result of this finding the USDA is funding the replacement of the culvert at Medicine Bow Campsite with a new truck accessible bridge. The small culvert near the lake will also be removed and a footbridge will be installed to access the Project Green area. Where the Sagamore Brook crosses the Griffin Gulf Road there is a granite culvert that is over 100 years old. This culvert has collapsed. The USDA will be removing the old culvert and replacing it with a new one. Once the Sagamore Brook project is completed it will be able to support several species of fish as well as prevent erosion of this valuable stream. All these projects demonstrate the Yankee Clipper Council is conservation minded. Future generations will be able to enjoy, study and appreciate the efforts of those who practiced good conservation and valued the Outdoor Code of the Boy Scouts of America. There are other on going projects to improve Wah-Tut-Ca’s forests and streams. Last spring the USDA and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department surveyed the Gulf and Sagamore Brooks for fish. Four species of fish were identified in the Gulf Brook, including brook trout. These trout never live in the lake so finding them in the brook is quite significant. Also discovered were “redds”-nests which the trout rear their young. Later during Wah-Tut-Ca’s Biosphere week Scouts identified two Banded Sunfish. These small sunfish are endangered and finding them in the Gulf Brook gives further evidence of the significance of Wah-Tut-Ca’s importance as a wildlife preserve. Although the stream is capable, no fish were found in Sagamore Brook. The New Hampshire Fish and Game as well as Measuring Brook Trout From Sagamore Brook