Hawk Mountain camp teaches young rangers survival skills

ALBANY TWP., Pa. - Learning the skills to survive in the wilderness and how to help find a downed aircraft are among the goals of a local camp.

The Hawk Mountain Ranger School in Albany Township is underway along the Appalachian Trail.

Cadets learned about tying knots and then spent a good part of the day Sunday learning how to repel down a structure.

The climbing part is just a fun exercise, but the course includes intensive book work, plus navigation skills on how to use a compass and a map.

Leaders of the camp say the toughest part is getting ready for the mental challenge of roughing it.

"A lot of kids don't go out in the woods anymore, so spending nine days out in the field after being at home in the A/C or just coming back from the beach," said Jonah Trop-Pedersen, cadet school commander. "It's a bit of a different environment, especially with the humidity. A lot of cadets aren't used to it so it's stressful."

More than 300 students from across the nation are attending the camp this year.

The Hawk Mountain Ranger School has been in operation for 62 years, making it one of the longest running schools in the nation.

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