Exercising their rights

Canada and United States military reserves makes rare public
appearance this weekend in Trail.

The exercise of the right to bear arms could cause minor disruptions of daily life in Trail this weekend as Kootenay Castor 2012 kicks into gear.

The combined exercise of Canadian and American Army Reserve and National Guard combat engineers is underway in the Trail-to-Castlegar corridor.

Although activities have been coordinated within the jurisdictions and most training is taking place in relatively remote locations, some activities will be visible to the public and could cause minor local disruptions, said 44 Engineer Squadron Major Dan Thomas.

Today from 4-5 p.m. military trucks will extract boats from the Columbia River at the Indian Eddy boat launch in Gyro Park. But due to high water, the boat launch area is unusually confined, Maj. Thomas said.

“For safety reasons, due to the size and weight of the military equipment, the public is requested and welcomed to observe the extractions from a safe distance, following the guidance of on-site military personnel,” he said.

On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be intermittent boat extractions at the boat launch, with groups of soldiers undergoing a skills competition in full equipment, including unloaded weapons, and may be seen moving along or near Bay Street.

Exercise Kootenay Castor 2012 is intended to sharpen the skills and improve the operational readiness of combat engineers in their technically and physically challenging tasks, said Maj. Thomas.

Around 150 reserve soldiers, primarily from the Canadian Army’s 39th Combat Engineer Regiment and the 204th Engineer Battalion of the Washington Army National Guard, are in Exercise Kootenay Castor until Aug. 24.

Reserve soldiers serve their communities through participation in domestic operations at home, such as support to the province during the 2003 forest fire season and to the RCMP for the security of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.