A Boy Scout is always prepared. The Concord Scout House troop has been getting ready for the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord for years now.
The contribution of Troop 132? The Minutemen’s Pursuit Trail – a hiking trail from Concord to Somerville, tracing the route of the April 19, 1775, battle as the American Minutemen chased the retreating British soldiers back to Boston.
Mapping the trail was one of five Wood Badge projects for Scoutmaster David Owen, part of the leadership training the Boy Scouts of America provides for adults. Like each scout, adults choosing to do the training must complete badges.
With a close connection to Troop 11 at Mather School in Boston, the oldest public elementary school in the nation, a new Boy Scout National Historic Trail was a logical project.
In keeping with the value that the Boy Scouts place on learning leadership skills, Owen involved the troops in establishing the route.
Boys of different ages remain in the same troop as they get older, learning to lead the younger boys. The scoutmaster said.
The Massachusetts scouts jumped right in. One of the scouts in Boston loved learning about history and thought that hiking the trail on April 19 would bring the scouts closest to engaging with the history of that day, Owen said.
That scout, William Cline, has since passed away. His family is happy that William is honored through his association with the trail.
Another troop in Florida looking to earn a Historic Trails Award created a printed map with QR codes for more detailed information.
The scouts first walked the trail as a group on Patriots Day in 2017. Starting at Meriam’s Corner, three legs follow the historic events and passing by related sites and buildings. More than 15 miles later, the trail arrives at Prospect Hill in Somerville, a strategic viewpoint occupied by Americans throughout the Revolutionary War.
An additional two legs serve a dual purpose. Scouts can add one in to complete a 20-mile hike and anyone can use the routes to get from public transportation to the termini of the route.
The organized hikes usually involve lunch and ice cream, a treat colonials could only imagine.
Because Boy Scouts plan their events so far in the future, Owen is already looking at scheduling a group hike for 2024. The date for the 2025 hike on the 250th anniversary of the shot heard ‘round the world hasn’t yet been set by organizers.
There is no need to wait for an organized event to explore the route. Everyone is welcome to hike all or part of the historical trail. A map of the trail is available at the Concord Visitors Center and online at http://concordscouthouse.org/