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Local Boy Scouts headed to high adventure at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico

Eighteen local Boy Scouts and seven leaders are off on a backcountry hiking and camping adventure to New Mexico this week. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Eighteen local Boy Scouts and seven leaders are off on a backcountry hiking and camping adventure to New Mexico this week.

Local Boy Scouts from Troops 635 and 676 of Essex, along with Scouts from Isle La Motte and Northfield, headed west to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico on Monday for a high adventure experience. The group of 18 Boy Scouts, from age 14 to 17, and seven leaders are destined for 12 days of backcountry hiking, camping and outdoor activities at the Philmont Scout Ranch.

The Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scouts of America’s largest national high-adventure base, covering 137,000 acres (about 214 square miles) of rugged mountain wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains in northern New Mexico. The ranch has been providing Scouts a wilderness experience for over 75 years, which is unequalled anywhere in the U.S.

In anticipation for the Treks, the Scouts have been preparing with training hikes to test equipment and condition them for the physical challenges of being at high elevations in the backcountry. The group has spent three days on the Long Trail summiting Bolton Mountain, a weekend hiking to summiting Mount Mansfield, an overnight trek to Sterling Pond, a weekend at Kettle Pond State Park in Groton, and 5 days on the Long Trail in Southern Vermont.

The group is split into two crews with different itineraries at Philmont. The first crew is hiking 88 miles, which will end on a hike across the Tooth of Time ridge at 9,003 feet before arriving back at Base Camp. The second crew is hiking 75 miles into an even more remote area in the northern part of the Scout Ranch. Both crews will be summiting the largest peak at the ranch, Baldy Mountain, at 12,441 feet.

Treks will take the crews through a selection of 34 staffed camps and 55 trail camps and provide outdoor activities at the backcountry camps which will include rock climbing, touring historic sites, mountain biking, black powder and shotgun shooting, gold prospecting, working on a conservation project and much more.

This will be an experience of a lifetime, and one that will provide stories and memories for many years to come.

Moose hunting permit winners drawn

The winners of Vermont’s 2015 moose hunting permits were determined Thursday, July 16, at a lottery drawing in Barre.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, standing alongside Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter, started the computer-generated selection process that randomly picked 265 winners from more than 9,500 lottery applicants.

The drawing is done by a random sort of applications that were submitted by a June 17 deadline.

As part of the regular lottery drawing, a “special priority drawing” was held for five permits to go to applicants who have received, or are eligible to receive, a Campaign Ribbon for Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  The unsuccessful applicants from the Iraqi-Afghanistan drawing were included in the larger regular drawing that followed.  All applicants for both drawings who did not receive a permit were awarded a bonus point to improve their chances in future moose permit lotteries.

The lottery was held for 40 moose permits to be used in the Vermont’s Oct. 1-7 archery moose hunting season and 225 moose permits for the Oct. 17-22 regular moose season.

“Today’s lottery drawing helps celebrate one of Vermont’s successes in science-based wildlife management,” said State Wildlife Biologist Cedric Alexander.  “Vermont’s first moose hunt was in 1993, when 25 moose were taken with 30 permits issued.  We expect close to 120 moose will be taken this fall in a carefully regulated hunt.”

Winners in this year’s moose hunting lottery are posted in a searchable database on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s website (

If your name wasn’t drawn, you can still bid in Vermont’s auction for five moose hunting permits, which is open until Aug. 13.  Sealed bids must be received by Vermont Fish & Wildlife by 4:30 p.m. that day.  Contact the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to receive a moose permit bid kit.  Telephone 802-828-1190 or email

Vermont has about 2,400 moose statewide, with the greatest concentration in the Northeast Kingdom.


Joe Flynn appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Dept. of Public Safety

Gov. Peter Shumlin and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn announced the appointment of Joe Flynn as the new Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety last week. Flynn will assume the position that is currently held by Francis (Paco) Aumand, who is retiring on July 24.

Joe Flynn has been with the Department of Public Safety since February 2012, when he was appointed Director of Vermont Emergency Management. Before coming to public safety, Flynn served briefly in the Agency of Administration working in the Irene Recovery Office from November 2011 to February 2012. From October 2009 to August 2011, he was Rail Director with the Vermont Agency of Transportation. When Tropical Storm Irene occurred, he was relocated to Dummerston to help coordinate the agency’s response and recovery.

He has had lengthy experience in emergency services. He formerly served as chief of the South Hero Volunteer Fire Department, member of the Vermont Fire Service Training Council, chairman of Local Emergency Planning Committee 13, chairman of the Grand Isle County Mutual Aid Association, member of the South Hero Select Board, Deputy Sheriff with the Grand Isle County Sheriff’s Department and member of the Regional Emergency Response Commission. He currently is the Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator for the Town of Grand Isle, the U.S. co-chair of the International Emergency Management Group, a member of the Northeast States Emergency Consortium and chairman of North Country International Fire Training Service. Flynn graduated from Saint Michael’s College and lives in South Hero.

A search is underway for a replacement for Flynn’s current position of Director of Emergency Management Homeland Security.