Members of the Canadian Rangers were in Port Alice last week as part of Exercise Western Spirit. From left to right

Members of the Canadian Rangers were in Port Alice last week as part of Exercise Western Spirit. From left to right

Rangers show their Western Spirit

An exercise across the North Island demonstrated the Rangers' skill

The Canadian Rangers had their camp set up in Port Alice last week.

Warrant Officer Brad Williamson from Victoria explained that the Rangers are participating in Exercise Western Spirit. The exercise sees a baton with GPS beacons being transported by the Rangers all over the North Island.

The baton arrived in the North Island after spending time in Haida Gwaii on a sailboat.

“The purpose of the exercise is just to move that thing around and so the head honchos can watch it moving on the computer screen and see what we are doing.”

The baton will be travelling in an orange hard and waterproof case around the area in different phases, including through the Quatsino Narrows and to Port Alice by kayak, on foot on the North Coast Trail and by mountain bike on logging roads.

“It’s kind of a trains, plans and automobiles sort of thing,” Williamson continues. “We can demonstrate our capability to move through these difficult bits of terrain.”

Port Alice was chosen for the Ranger base camp as it is centrally located in relation to where they will be operating different phases of the exercise.

The Canadian Rangers are part of Canada’s reserve army forces, and they provide a military presence in Canada’s more remote and sparsely-settled northern and coastal areas.

About 50 individuals from the North Island will be involved in the exercise at some point.