FORT SEVERN – A group of Junior Canadian Rangers from Fort Severn, Ontario’s most northerly community, have completed an unusual two-day, on-the-land training session.
They travelled about 120 kilometres by all-terrain vehicle from the small Cree settlement to camp out above the tree line on the shore of Hudson Bay.
“There were lots of polar bears around,” said Warrant Officer Ron Wen, a Canadian Army instructor, “but whenever they heard us they’d all run away. If you have only two or three people on an ATV the bears tend to stick around. But with all those kids and Canadian Rangers on ATVs they took off.
“There’s lots of polar bears around Fort Severn and I trust the Rangers. They know what the bears are likely to do and if they say it’s safe they know. We had nine Canadian Rangers with us.”
The Junior Canadian Rangers are a Canadian Army program for boys and girls aged 12 to 18 in remote and isolated communities across Canada’s North.
As part of the training the Junior Rangers set gill nets to catch fish in the tidal waters of Hudson Bay and practiced fire lighting techniques. Because they were above the tree line they had to collect drift wood for fires. They slept in tents and an empty hunting cabin.
“They all fired the Rangers’ .303 Lee-Enfield bolt action rifle as part of firearms safety training,” Warrant Officer Wen said. “They shot at boxes and cans.”
The Junior Rangers also used shotguns to harvest more than 80 geese.
Food consisted of fish, caribou ribs, and army field rations. “The kids love the army rations,” Warrant Officer Wen said. “They go straight for the candy and desserts in them.”
Getting ATVs for the trip was not a problem. ‘In Fort Severn an ATV is like a family car,” he said. “There’s plenty of them and the community really supports the Junior Ranger program.
“This was a good trip. The kids had a great time.”
Photos: Warrant Officer Ron Wen, Canadian Rangers
(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.)