Members of Andover Boy Scouts Troop 76 took their first camping trip amid the pandemic at the Andover Conservation Commission’s Pole Hill Reservation from Sept. 11 to 13.

A total of 20 scouts and adult volunteers went on the adventure, all following CDC, state, and Boy Scouts of America regulations. While there, along with many other activities, they completed a service project involving clearing brush from the the trails to make them safer for hikers.

This was the first camping trip with the troop for five of the scouts and their families, who said they look forward to going again in the near future.

In the early 20th century, Pole Hill was known as “The Grove,” according to the Andover Trails website.

The Boston and Maine Railroad promoted the area where there was a dance hall, picnic area, running track, and a small rail siding to load and offload.

The Grove attracted lots of people and at one time you could also rent small craft like canoes to paddle upstream to the attraction.

After various difficulties, the dance hall was closed down, and now you can only see some evidence suggesting faint memories of Pole Hill. Pole Hill is 34 acres and can be accessed from Pole Hill Drive, where you can park in the circle, or by canoeing up the Shawsheen River.

Troop 76 is part of the West Wind District, Spirit of Adventure Council, Scouts BSA. The troop currently meets Friday at 7 p.m. on Zoom, but normally meets at Ballard Vale United Church, 23 Clark Road, Andover.

Troop 76 is open to boys and girls age 11 and older, or who have completed the fifth grade. For more information email webmaster@andovertroop76.com.

— By David Irza, junior assistant scoutmaster and Owen Finaly, assistant senior patrol leader. 

 

 

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