Junior Canadian Ranger’s trip impresses her community

Junior Canadian Ranger Nova Gull in front of the abandoned Hudson's Bay Company trading post at Lake River in Polar Bear Provincial Park in Ontario.
Junior Canadian Ranger Nova Gull in front of the abandoned Hudson's Bay Company trading post at Lake River in Polar Bear Provincial Park in Ontario. Photo: Canadian Rangers

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By Peter Moon

Junior Canadian Ranger Nova Gull faced a 300-kilometer snowmobile trip back home after giving up her seat on the return flight to a Ranger who had a family emergency following Exercise MOBILE RANGER in February.

Seventeen-year old Nova lives in Peawanuck, Ont., an isolated Cree community near the Hudson Bay coast. She was one of six Junior Rangers who spent three days at a Ranger training camp at Lake River, the site of the abandoned Cree settlement of Lakitusaki. The former Hudson’s Bay Company trading post, church, and several residential buildings still stand on the site.

Coming from Attawapiskat, Fort Albany, and Peawanuck, the six Junior Ranger went to Lake River to watch Ex MOBILE RANGER. The exercise involved 98 Rangers from 23 First Nations, and 28 other military personnel conducting training at four sites across Northern Ontario.

The Junior Rangers worked with the Rangers and made signal fires and emergency shelters, learned how to prepare and cook bannock and caribou, and helped erect a radio antenna mast.

Nova was all set to fly home with the other Junior Rangers when a crisis hit. Ranger Madeline Hunter of Peawanuck had to get to Timmins immediately for a family emergency. The nearest airport was a two-day snowmobile trip away.

Nova immediately gave Ranger Hunter her seat on the plane, and offered to drive her snowmobile back to Peawanuck. She drove the snowmobile in the company of the Peawanuck Rangers travelling back to their community. The arduous 300-kilometer trip took two days, and involved travelling during the day and at night.

“There was one night when there was a blizzard, my headlight was out, and I was pulling a heavy sled,” Nova said. “I’d only done day trips by snowmobile until then. I was really tired when I got home but I’m glad I was able to do it.”

“A Junior Ranger kept up with a group of senior Rangers all the way back to Peawanuck,” said her father, Sergeant Matthew Gull, commander of the Peawanuck Ranger patrol. “We’re proud of her here in the community for stepping up and helping out in the way she did.”

(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.)

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  • Junior Canadian Ranger Nova Gull
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