Scouts from Troop 76 in Ballardvale participated in a socially distant hike through several AVIS reservations July 18.

Eight Scouts, along with adult leaders and families, hiked a 2.5-mile loop through the Indian Ridge, Baker’s Meadow, Sakowich and West Parish Meadow reservations. The hikers were split into two groups to maximize safety, and all hikers wore masks and were required to stay 6 feet apart.

This was the first hike for several of the scouts who just joined the troop. They were able to practice skills such as orienting a map and identifying local plants and animals.

Scouts were also given the opportunity to travel the loop twice for a 5-mile hike, a completing a requirement for the Second Class rank or the Hiking merit badge. The loop passes through at least five Troop 76 Eagle Service Projects, including the bridge at West Parish Meadow.

The Andover Village Improvement Society owns and manages 30 miles of trails in 1,100 acres of reservations throughout Andover. AVIS reservations remain open to the public during the COVID-19 outbreak and locals are encouraged to hike as a safe activity.

Troop 76 is part of West Wind District, Spirit of Adventure Council, Scouts BSA. They normally meet Friday nights at 7 p.m. at the Ballard Vale United Church, 23 Clark Road. They have continued to meet online during the pandemic.

Young people ages 11 to 17 who would like to be part of outdoor adventures or visit an online troop meeting should contact the troop at



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