SOUTHWEST COAST, N.L. - It’s a popular part-time job.
Signing on with the Canadian Rangers to help protect remote, isolated and coastal regions of Canada, offers skills building, personal improvement, civic pride, as well as social benefits.
It’s not an easy gig to get though. The waiting list to join the Channel Patrol Rangers, which covers the southwest coast of Newfoundland from Crabbes River to LaPoile, is six-eight people long.
Those hoping to get hired might have a while to wait as the Rangers does not impose a compulsory retirement age and have a very low turnover rate. People who join this arm of the Canadian Armed Forces don’t generally want out.
Canadian Rangers are located in two hundred communities across Canada. The majority of ranger patrols are located north of the sixty-degree latitude line and along Canada's east and west coasts.
Rangers support the military by conducting patrols, reporting unusual activities or sightings, collecting local data, performing sovereignty or national security duties, assisting in search and rescue efforts, assisting with natural disasters such as forest fires and floods and advising full time military personnel on local and traditional survival skills and geography. Rangers receive 12 days of initial training then meet up three weekends a year to practice their skills, learn new ones and brush up on the latest military policies.
Master Corporal Randy Osmond, who lives in Port aux Basques, has been a Ranger for 12 years. He said he joined because he always wanted to be in the military.
“I love the training,” Randy remarked. “I love learning new things, the outdoors, the adventure of it, spending time with fellow rangers and living in a tent.”
One of the biggest assets of the Rangers are the traditional skills and local knowledge that come in handy for search and rescue operations and which they teach to full-time military members.
“We know our domain,” Osmond explained. “We know all the spots, the geography and the local customs. A number of military personnel go to Goose Bay every year. Our rangers show them how to snowmobile, ice fish, snare, how to survive. If our troops ever have to go north, at least they will know how to survive in harsh conditions.”
Of all the perks to being a ranger, Osmond appreciates the camaraderie the most.
“When you sign that pay sheet that morning, you are in the military with all their rules,” Osmond explained. “You got a job to do and everyone chips in to get things done. We take it serious but have fun as well.”
Osmond is looking forward to an upcoming training weekend May 25 – 27.