Bill was born on January 30th, 1940 in Cardston, Alberta.  His family lived at Leavitt, west of Cardson.  Bill rode a horse to school for 7 years, a distance of 4.5 miles each way.  As a youngster, Bill wanted to be a cowboy, a policeman, a fireman and a heavy equipment operator.

Bill started in 1962 with a job as a ranch hand, and then worked for Dave Simpson in Waterton Lakes National Park at the pony barn. He liked horses and he enjoyed the people whom he took out on trail rides. The first trip he went on was up the head of the northwest branch of the Old Man River. He was out for 23 days with 23 people from Connecticut.   After working at the pony barn for 2 years, he was hired onto the Trail Crew for Waterton Lakes National Park where he worked from 1964 to 1966.  When Bill was on the trail crew in Waterton he and his crew raked the trails with a fire rake from the townsite to the lake. Bill described the results, “You could take your wife on her wedding day with her wedding dress or pushing a baby carriage in her high heeled shoes and not snag her dress.”   During this period of time, Bill married Cheryl.  They had a little daughter Ione.  In September of 1966 Bill accepted an offer to become the assistant park warden at Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park.  He, Cheryl and Ione, who was a year old, moved to Jasper.  Bill worked in both the back-country and front-country of Jasper National Park.  He and his wife Cheryl enjoyed the Blue Creek District.  His horsemanship skills proved valuable when top-packing Gypsy on three different trips transporting a treadle sewing machine, gas wringer washer, and later a galvanized bathtub complete with drain and legs in to Blue Creek Cabin.

In 1969 Bill accepted a job with the National Parks as a park warden in Yoho National Park.  Their son David was born that year.  While in Yoho Bill was in charge of the warden service horses. Bill had many experiences while stationed in Yoho.   Bill once again accepted a transfer, this time to Elk Island National Park in 1974.  He designed a safer elk-trapping program there.  While in Elk Island, Bill joined the Lakeland Rodeo Association and on weekends he would team rope and won buckles.

Bill left the parks service in 1981.  He became a grader operator for 12 years and a Weed Inspector for Cardston County for 20 years.  It is safe to say that Bill achieved his childhood ambitions.

Source:  Silent Partners and Park Warden Service Alumni Oral History Project.


 Memories of Bill and Cheryl Walburger, by Don Mickle

I worked with Bill for about three years in Yoho Park from 1972 to 1974.

First on the horse trail crew with Chris Schober; then I was the ranch boss. Bill was in charge of the horses and a great guy to work for.

Bill was at the Ottertail Warden station west of Field on the Trans Canada Highway.  I remember that he was quite an inventor and always building something in his garage. He had a bucking barrel in his yard and we all collected a few bruises with the combination of bucking barrel and beer!

Cheryl was the unofficial barber for the Wardens – especially when Hal Shepherd was the Chief Warden and Hal with his military background he hated long hair.

In late fall Chris and I had to go to Twin Falls in a snow storm and take out the cable bridge above Twin Falls. There was about a foot of snow and it was a miserable wet dangerous project. We finally got back to Takkakaw Falls and loaded the horses in the truck. On the seat of the truck was a large thermos filled with coffee and rum. Bill had left us a well received gift for two wet and cold guys.

How can you beat a boss like that?




[1]Sources:  Silent Partners and Park Warden Service Alumni Oral History Project.