MH: What was it like raising children in a National Park? 1:45:45
DM: I don’t think there were any drawbacks. I think because of Doug it was always a super special place. We were very fortunate to be able to raise our kids there because of the purity of the area, pristineness. I knew we would always be healthy living in a place like that. And again, the opportunities that it afforded us, I can remember talking to kids in Banff who had never been beyond Canmore. Our kids, they got to get into the bush and learned a different lifestyle and it shows in their lives now. Steven is a mountain man in Switzerland and Bradley is an avid outdoorsy person in Los Angeles. Doug never mentioned it but he was a cub leader for years and years and he gave to all of those kids a very, very special time being outdoors because he was so much a part of the natural entity. If you were to talk to any of those kids, you would hear how special Doug made their National Park experience living in Banff. And as a teacher, I was able to call upon Doug and other Park Wardens to help me teach an outdoor class. It was an opportunity for kids in Banff to experience the National Park. Unfortunately, in our school system, we did not have people who really wanted to teach about the specialness of National Parks, so I took it upon myself to be an advocate for National Parks to ensure that the kids knew where they were living and how lucky they were. Kids are isolated to what their families do just as when I was a kid. I didn’t get to appreciate the outdoors because my family didn’t do it but I had special time in other ways. I can certainly say my life has been enhanced by meeting Doug and the life we live.

MH: Do you have a favourite park? 1:49
DM: Obviously Waterton. Our kids were born in Lethbridge but I always refer to Waterton as where they were born.

MH: Do you have any lasting memories of your time with the Warden Service? 1:49
DM: I think that the skiing, the night skis. We used to go into the backcountry on New Year’s all the time…we were some of the first people to do that. Then it became a lottery system and became difficult to get in. We’d ski in to Bryant Creek or the Palliser for New Years. We did it for many many years. Those were lasting memories that were pretty special. And being able to just take the kids. One trip we took the kids up to Bryant Creek on these horses that Larry Gilmar so nicely provided, and you know that was special. Being able to almost pretend that we were part of the old group of Wardens wives, to cook on the old stoves, try baking bread in there, doing all sorts of silly things for the heck of it. I think as a result of taking our kids out and them spending time with theirs our grandchildren will always be outdoor types. Teach them what you want them to be! Our grandsons in Switzerland are total mountaineers. They can walk for 6-8 hours, even the 3-year-old. But one of our grandson’s most proud moments was that they got to stay in a cabin that some friends owned up in the Swiss Alps and our grandson showing us how he was cooking on one of the old stoves like grandpa used to. That was very cool. The idea of mountaineering and being in the mountains is very much part of our grandchildren. Our granddaughter comes up to Kimberley and is a very avid little skier! And she is a climber! Our boys and their children are happiest outside, just like Grandpa.

Doug and Dale at Palliser New Year’s Eve

National Parks are special. We were very very fortunate to be able to live within them and when we had a choice to move to Canmore, we thought, no this is our home. (Monique says, “Since you had to call Pierre Elliott Trudeau in order to get Valleyview built in Banff, there was no way you were going to leave your home!”) I do miss friends there, I do miss a lot of things about Banff because we raised our kids there…every morning looking at Cascade…first thing in the morning, last thing at night.

MH: Anything else to add?
DM: We were fortunate, we were very lucky that Doug was a member of the Warden Service, to be hired as a Park Warden and lucky to have been able to live that life and experience hallowed ground. I was worried about Doug being able to talk about this, because the last couple of years were so tumultuous and really devastating, and here I’m the one who breaks up! A lot of people liked to hide their head in the sand when it came to important issues but Doug was never one to do that. Doug took his role as a warden very seriously, tackled each and every task given to him with pride and determination. I am proud of him and the opportunities we had in the Warden Service were for the most part, wonderful.

Doug Martin on the Colorado River

Doug Martin and Bull Trout on the Kootenay River

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.