Canadian Rangers kick off northern adventure to mark Canada's 150th

The Canadian Rangers are crisscrossing the North over the next year as part of the events to mark Canada's 150th anniversary.

Exercise Baton Ranger 2 officially began Wednesday in Dawson City, Yukon, when a baton was passed on to the Ranger patrol unit there.

It's commander, Sgt. John Mitchell, said the baton is actually a double-bladed axe. An axe is crossed by a rifle on the Rangers crest.

The axe will now be passed between all 60 patrol units in the North said Lt.-Col. Luis Carvallo, the commander of the 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group made up of units from Nunavut, N.W.T., Yukon and Atlin, B.C..

"There will be some challenges because the terrain itself is not always conducive between communities, but that's what it's all about," said Carvallo.

"We're going to try and confirm the navigable routes that connect all the 60 patrols across the three territories," he said.

Each community patrol has to submit a plan for taking the baton to the next patrol, Carvallo said. It will make its way to Nunavut and then loop back for a ceremony in Yellowknife next summer.

The only restriction is that it cannot be relayed by air.

Dawson's patrol is responsible for passing the axe on to its counterpart in Mayo about  200 kilometres to the south-east.

Mitchell said that will be "very, very difficult" to do overland right now as the rivers are not safe to travel on by snowmobile.

Mitchell participated in the first baton exercise to mark Canada's 125th anniversary in 1992. Dawson's Rangers carried it north by snowmobile and dogsled to a point on the Ogilivie River.

The first ever Ranger patrol was formed in Dawson City, Mitchell said.