MH: Do you ever miss being a Warden? 5620:
BD: No, I don’t miss it. Everyone moves on to new stages in your life. More than anything, I reflect on and cherish the good times, the people and especially the places; being able to live and work in these places in Canada was a blessing. I still have good friendships from Parks Canada and the United States Parks Service too. We still connect for visits, hiking and canoe trips…and some old stories over a campfire. Of course, you lose touch over time with new staff in Parks Canada and you don’t have those same connections anymore; but that’s just the way life is.

MH: Do you have any photos of yourself as a warden that you would like to donate? Artifacts? 5715:
BD: I can take a look and see what I can find. I have lots of pictures of other Wardens. I do have some artifacts, a branding iron from the Sweetgrass Station in Wood Buffalo. It was a facility where they handled bison over the years with the disease issues. I do have an axe from the Sugarloaf Warden Cabin which has an “NPC” on the back of the head. It may have been used for timber scaling but I’m not sure. I have a big sign of the Prince Albert National Park Warden Service which I’m not sure where I got it from.

MH: What year did you retire? 5855:
BD: I retired in February 2009. In one sense, I wasn’t ready to retire. But, given the changes at higher levels in the organization, I just was losing some confidence in the leadership. I felt like it was time to move on. As a middle manager you need to be able to bridge direction and information between senior management and staff. Essentially you need to support staff around the rationale for changes in the organization. However, it was hard to do that as there wasn’t effective communication with senior management. So I thought, time to move on. I took a job as the Resource Management Coordinator for Alberta Parks in Southern Alberta. I was responsible for the science and Resource Management Program in provincial parks and protected areas south of Calgary. I spent 7 years working out of the Lethbridge office and really enjoyed the provincial program and staff. It was a good move and I was still able to maintain connections that I had developed while in Waterton. In another sense, it was perfect transition to my second retirement in 2016.

MH: What do you enjoy doing in retirement? 5958:
BD: We have our own place and we aren’t renting anymore. I’ve spent a lot of time doing renovations in the house and working on the land. We have 40 acres and there’s always a lot to do in terms of fencing, gardens, clearing ski trails, etc. When I retired, I told people that my objective was to “become more inefficient with my time”. I’ve achieved that; slowing down a little and not trying to cram your personal life into evenings or the weekends. I do 2-3 canoe trips with friends and family every year. I’m still volunteering. I’m on the Board of Directors for the Waterton Biosphere Reserve and I’m the Vice President of a local land owners group, the Boundary Creek Landowners Association. We’re focused on maintaining the ranching community and the native landscape. No horses, when we moved here we wanted to maintain flexibility to travel. We’ve done a lot of trips for family history and travelled to Ireland, Scotland, Sweden and different places. We want to keep that flexibility.

MH: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you think I should know about the Warden Service? 10100:
BD: The only thing I would say is there are a lot of staff and stories from Northern and Eastern Canada (I’ll mention a few names). I’m not sure where the oral history project is at, but it would be nice to capture a lot of those folks too.

MH: Anyone else to interview?
BD: A couple of people. Ron Davies – I worked with Ron in Prince Albert and Wood Buffalo. . He was Assistant Chief Park Warden in Wood Buffalo (Fort Chipewyan) and CPW in Nahanni in the latter part of his career. Neat guy, he could really tell some stories about the older Wardens in Prince Albert. (Ron Davies was interviewed in Phase 5)
Ray Breneman – started out in Prince Albert and went up to Auyuittuq and then Kluane, retired in Okanagan area.
Brian Macdonald – He’s from Banff originally, worked as a warden in Waterton. He was an incredible support to a lot of Wardens in Prairie and Northern Region when I worked there. He was the Warden Services Officer in PNRO.
(Brian MacDonald has been invited to participate in the Oral History Project).
Another one from the east who also spent time in the west, Ian Morisson – spent time in Cape Breton, Kejimkujik, Riding Mountain and Wood Buffalo.
George Mercer – from the East and was in Wood Buffalo, Jasper and the Gulf Islands and has written some books about the Warden Service. (George Mercer was interviewed in Phase 11)
Jacques Saquet – he’s from a community near Riding Mountain and we worked together in Riding Mountain and Wood Buffalo. He also spent time in Grasslands.
Paul Galbraith – He’s been to a lot of Parks as a warden and CPW and is retired near Kootenay NP. (Paul Galbraisth was interviewed in Phase 10).

MH: Any final comments?
BD: One of the things I didn’t say was, in the 1990s-2000s, I really valued the relationship with the Chief Wardens in the Mountain Parks like Perry Jacobson, Bob Haney, Paul Galbraith and others. We had a good group that worked really hard to create an environment that encouraged consistency between parks, yet recognized variability where needed. It was a really good group of managers. (How long did you work in Wateron?) I worked in Waterton for 19 years. We moved there when we left Inuvik. We wanted to find a place where the kids could grow up in one place. It could have been anywhere but it had to be a place where we were comfortable with schooling and we could raise the family. By that point, Carrie was going into grade 4 and our son, Ryan, was just starting school. Ryan was born when we were in Wood Buffalo. I was encouraged to consider moving to some other positions after we were in Waterton for a while. But the staff was great in Waterton and we really wanted to have some stability for the family until they were through high school.
(So you would have been there when Cyndi Smith was there?) I hired Cyndi Smith after Kevin Van Tighem moved on. She’s a good lady. We were sorry to see her and Peter move to Canmore but understandable with their place there.

Interviewer : Monique Hunkeler
Monique Hunkeler worked with Parks Canada as Secretary to Banff National Park Finance Manager. She moved to Dispatcher for the Banff Park Warden Service and later worked within Banff National Park and Town of Banff’s IT departments. She is experienced with the interviewing, transcription and archiving process for the Park Warden Service Alumni Society oral history project.