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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2014, 4:58 pm 
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An open letter to the "Rangers" who tripped on the Grass River, northern Manitoba, July 2014

Ho wilderness travelers. My party of three American paddlers in solo canoes left Wekusko Lake on July 22 bound for Setting Lake. We were told at Wekusko Lodge you were the only other group to go down the river so far this year and that you were 1-2 weeks ahead of us. Being from the US, we had no idea who or what the Rangers were, but the lady at Wekusko Lodge said they were part of the military. We thought elite troops, training mission maybe?
Our first encounter with evidence of your party was when we made camp at the unnamed falls above Kamisota where we found a firepit heaped full of partially eaten food and burned aluminum foil. When setting our tents we noticed a tree defaced with 2-3" carved letters saying "RANGERS". Ummmm. Who are these guys, teenage vandals?
We found your fecal deposits scattered several meters behind camp in the bush. Copious, open piles of crap and white paper daisies with obviously no attempt at hiding or covering anything, unsettling.

We stayed at this camp 2 days and before leaving and we cleaned the firepit of the foil and mess, deciding to carry it out. Your piles of shit and paper were left in place, sorry... we have to draw a line somewhere.

Two days later we pulled into the landing above Whitewood Falls, a greasy wet mud slide just a few feet from the pitch off. We were discouraged and appalled to find the landing and portage trail stinking and littered with feces and more paper, again with no attempt at covering. At least 9 different piles of crap were directly on the small landing, , it was nasty, filthy and abhorrent. We had no other choice than to drag our boats through this mess.
The camp was littered with cast off gear, trash, fresh stumps from live trees being cut and this time multiple firepits littered with partially eaten food and burned aluminum foil. WTF?

We found several areas where people had laid cut evergreen boughs for beds and multiple stacks of poplar and pine poles we assumed had been used to support the two large, abandoned plastic tarps we found laying in the bushes. Used duct tape littered the camp and there was a homemade piece of gear that was either a fishing net (heavy) or a snowshoe (wrong season). We also found a laughable, small triangular sail and mast hidden in the brush and again carved grafitti... on two different trees this time.
We read your note hanging on the pole and your mention of having a "hard time", being stormbound, and your intention of going all the way to Paint Lake. Your writing was unclear concerning the size of your party though, was it nine people or nine canoes, and who is "Shiloh"?
If Shiloh was your leader he's a piss poor example.
We spent several hours picking up trash, both in camp and along the portage trail. We cleared the firepits and gathered the cast off gear, stacking it in one spot. We also took the note and pictures of the site and the carving on the trees. Again, your feces was left in place, sorry.
One of our party carried a large garbage bag of your trash and foil , 8-10 pounds full, out to Waboden. Where we made a report to the MNR. He acted quite surprised Rangers would despoil the landscape as wantonly as you did, but pictures don't lie.

Travel through the wilderness is more than moving from A to B, leaving a trail of trash and destruction in your wake. There is respect for the land and love for the pristine nature of the environment. You exhibited neither. There is a concept of traveling lightly, leaving no trace. It's not exactly new, having been around for several decades. We can't believe you haven't heard of it.

In my humble opinion you people failed miserably on this "mission" and acted like clowns.

I do hope you catch some flak.

The Angry American

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Last edited by jjoven on August 3rd, 2014, 6:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2014, 5:26 pm 
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I hope a Canadian can educate us on the contact information for the Rangers. No matter what nationality such behavior is deplorable. Unfortunately its not unheard of on both sides of the border.


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2014, 5:48 pm 
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http://www.army-armee.forces.gc.ca/en/c ... index.page


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2014, 9:42 pm 
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It is in the authorities hands. Let it rest. We supplied MNR in Wabowden with enough information to see that Rangers + Shiloh hung themselves. There is no doubt in my mind that they will be reprimanded.

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PostPosted: August 3rd, 2014, 10:07 am 
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Worth wrote:
It is in the authorities hands. Let it rest. We supplied MNR in Wabowden with enough information to see that Rangers + Shiloh hung themselves. There is no doubt in my mind that they will be reprimanded.


Perhaps, I don't have your confidence in the MNR official. I feel he will issue nothing more than a wrist slap, if he does in fact follow through.

Regardless, I found that Army/Ranger site as soon as I got home, didn't see a "contact us" link or button or I would have already sent the above letter there.

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PostPosted: August 3rd, 2014, 10:35 am 
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You might be dealing with Junior Rangers to, it's run by the military and recruits kids from a variety of isolated reserves and runs programs for them in the summer.

http://www.jcr-rjc.ca/en/index.page

They run a good program up here every summer, I've been to the sites after they leave and it's tip top.


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PostPosted: August 3rd, 2014, 11:18 am 
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The handwritten note dated July 18th on army stationary and the carvings implicate the First Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (1RCHA) who operate TBR 5 personel carriers based out of Brandon, Canadian Forces Base Shilo. Check your email for contact information.

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PostPosted: August 3rd, 2014, 1:37 pm 
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What a shame. Very nice of you to pick their trash.


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PostPosted: August 3rd, 2014, 5:46 pm 
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Wow, just wow. They are an embarrassment to the military, and to me personally, as a Canadian citizen. I hope someone gets demoted, and has to clean latrines.

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PostPosted: August 4th, 2014, 2:34 pm 
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Jjoven and Worth. Wow, just wow. I would appreciate if you could forward the pictures and a pic of the note to me.I will pm youi with my private email.

These guys appear to be with the artillery regiment in Shiloh MB and this was likely what they call an adventure training trip. Our guys in Winnipeg do them too. It is fairly common. What is NOT common is this type of behaviour. I know a couple of nco's in the regiment and will email them looking for some info.

If you know the name and location of the MNR office that you stopped at, and the name of the officer you spoke to, that wouild help as well.

There was a similar incident last year on the Rabbit River and I have to wonder if that is tied in with this one?

Regardless, this is not going to just go away and I am fairly certain that senior management will take a pretty dim view of this affair. If it is not pushed though, it will be swept under the first convenient rug they can find. My member of parliament is an undersecretary for national defence so I believe I will start with him and branch out from there, it that is ok with you gentelmen. You did the right thing by reporting it and letting us know what happened. I woiuld love to follow it up for you.

Christine


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PostPosted: August 4th, 2014, 7:25 pm 
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Jjoven, you and your fellow trippers are to be commended, first of all, for your dealing with as much of the mess as you could as you came upon it. You expect to clear some deadwood and sweepers on the river - but not this kind of stuff.

Thanks too for not just letting the matter rest. This represents a "teachable moment" and I do hope that something comes of it.

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PostPosted: August 4th, 2014, 7:36 pm 
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Firstly I'd like to apologise on behalf of Manitoban paddlers for the appalling things you found. Truly awful behaviour. Unfortunately the garbage and the feaces is becoming all too common in some of our heavily used more southern parks though I had hoped that the days of carving trees was long gone.

I will contacting a number of folk I know in the forces, Provincial Govt as well as the MP for the area.

As well as the damage to the environment, risk to health from this kind of behaviour I plan on stressing the harm things like this cause to tourism in Manitoba. What is the the point of spending millions on campaigns to attract tourists when things like this are taking place.

If you want to contact me directly with more information my Paddle Manitoba email is president "at" paddle.mb.ca

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PostPosted: August 5th, 2014, 4:50 am 
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deleted duplicate post

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Solo canoes and single blades, with a sail for those windy days...

...........O
......(___|/____)
.........../


Last edited by jjoven on August 5th, 2014, 4:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: August 5th, 2014, 4:51 am 
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Thanks Chris and True North. Christine now has pictures of the trash and carvings at Whitewood Falls. We are still trying to locate the "RANGERS" carving from the 12 foot falls camp.

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Solo canoes and single blades, with a sail for those windy days...

...........O
......(___|/____)
.........../


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PostPosted: August 5th, 2014, 12:22 pm 
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Thanks for cleaning the mess as best you could and for not letting the issue rest. You're efforts are appreciated. It was in Army Cadets that I first learned to paddle and while we certainly doubt we practiced anything we could call LNT, we did clean up after ourselves and put sh!t where it belongs.
Cheers,
Bryan

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