Terry – (0:11:53) 1972, not 1971, (wardens) James Brink and Robert Marak (were killed in a traffic accident in Banff National Park west of Lake Louise)…They died on the Trans Canada highway.

Earl – (0:12:10) They were Lake Louise wardens…They weren’t Banff wardens, I don’t think…New guys?

Terry – (0:12.39) There are 12 wardens who have died so far in service.

Earl – (0:13:07) I remember the names now, but just vaguely that’s all.

Earl – (0:13:14) Yes, (Earl spent the rest of his warden career as the dog master in Banff National Park). When I left I took the dog with me. Faro (was the dog’s name).

Terry – (0:13:31) You had three dogs didn’t you?

Earl – (0:13:33) Ruff, didn’t last too long. Remember, he got killed on the highway. I shouldn’t say this, but he was a poor effort anyway! He wouldn’t stay with me, he would run away. I’d get out in the bush and he would run away. He would run himself until he was just played right out. He chased animals. I could never break him of that. I put a shock collar on him and everything and he wouldn’t quit. That’s why he got killed, he ran out on the highway…

Terry – (0:14:24) The two main dogs were Ruff and Faro. Ruff only last two or three years?

Earl – (0:14:29) A couple of years…I was on training with him for six weeks I think.

Earl – (0:14:51) In 1980 I retired.

Earl – (0:15:33) Well, I kind of always liked that country you know (in response to the question, “What did you like best about being a warden?) There you got out. God, you were gone for ten days on your own and you didn’t have no phone and no radios. It was perfect I thought! When I first went there I had the boys. Not so much with Terry, but David travelled with me quite a bit. Nobody ever questioned anything then. You were pretty well on your own. When I went out Ole (Hermanrude) did a lot of that work around the district because I was gone for ten days. You got to know your district pretty good.

Earl – (0:16:59) It worked out really fine (being the dog master). I think it did for me…

Earl – (0:17:14) Your dad (warden Keith Everts) tried to get me to do a little paperwork. Keith, he liked reports you know…I was poor at writing up a bunch of reports. So I used to really stall him along all the time. It was always ready tomorrow!

Keith Everts and Earl Skjonsberg at a warden climbing school – 1971

Earl – (0:17:48) That’s for sure! (Paper work was what Earl liked least about being a warden).

Earl – (0:18:08) No, like I say I had a few good rescues and a few interesting things happen, like people stole things or died out in the bush.

Terry – (0:18:20) The RCMP actually could call on them (the warden dog masters).

Earl – (0:18:22) I did a lot of work with the RCMP, except in wintertime with the slides, you know the avalanches. I was thinking about when Stevie Wonder went missing. Alfie and I, he had his dog too. We must have spent a week out there. Nobody knew where he had got to from Bow Summit… I think it was Christmas day when we were out there and found him. Alfie’s dog found him. I just happened to be in a different spot on the mountain. But Alfie’s dog found him.

Terry – (0:19:04) Stevie Wonder was a staff member at Sunshine Village.

Earl – (0:19:06) That wasn’t his name. They called him Stevie Wonder, I can’t remember his real name…He’d been missing for a couple of weeks or so…His car was in the parking lot at Bow Summit.

Earl – (0:19:38) You always felt good if things worked out. I did a lot of searches…

Terry – (0:19:43) You didn’t know if anyone was in the slide or not, did you…So it was more a double check sort of thing.

Earl – (0:19:45) That’s right. A lot of times Yes…That guy that went over off Brewster’s there. We didn’t know for sure where he was. Ruff found the ski pole there so we knew he must be there somewhere because Jack’s (Woledge) dog picked him up anyway. So those things were kind of interesting. He was up on Brewster’s….those cornices used to build out and I think he must have went out and he didn’t see where the edge was. He must have got out there and it broke off…They used to take the snow cat up there. There was no lift up there then.

Earl – (0:21:12) We had a few bears around Healy Creek (in response to the question; “Do you have any wildlife stories that stick out in your memory?”), but nothing serious. Often going into Egypt Lake you would run into the odd grizzly, but I never had any problems.

Terry – (0:21:33) Didn’t you check for unexploded avalanches shells (with your dog)…When they were doing the bombing? You had to go up and look for duds.

Earl – (0:21:58) Oh, with Walter (Perren). They used a gun and fired up there. Yes, just off the Goat’s Eye (at Sunshine ski hill)…I remember that because you were along with us…Terry was still going to school there (in Banff) then…Like I say they used to fire up there with a gun, but that didn’t last too long…I think we found one (dud) Terry. Boy that is a long time ago. We took the dog Yes.

Terry – (0:22:59) You trained the dog to smell for explosives with the RCMP. So you had to go to the training school for a week?

Earl – (0:23:15) We would do refresher courses once every year I think. Spend about a week at Innisfail, or maybe two weeks. I can’t remember just how long.

Terry – (0:23:31) What else did you train with the dog? Didn’t you train for dope?

Earl – (0:23:41) I don’t think he ever went searching for dope…I don’t think there was that much around. I’ve never gone on a search for dope.

Terry – (0:24:03) No, but the dog was trained to indicate wasn’t he?

Earl – (0:24:09) He would indicate lots of things, a dog will.

Terry – (0:24:13) But you practiced with him.

Earl – (0:24:15) Not really with dope. Where would I get the dope? From the RCMP?

Terry – (0:24:19) Yes, you had a little plastic bag of it at home. You used to hide it in the yard.

Earl – (0:24:28) Oh, I smoked that… (laughs) Okay, my bag, you carried a little bit of that. I suppose I did some (practicing with the dog to indicate the smell of marijuana). I probably picked it up in some camp. You know what those hippy camps were like around town. You found lots of strange things…

Terry – (0:24:57) So you used to hide it in the yard, didn’t you and the dog would search it out?

Earl – (0:25:00) I hid money in the yard I remember that…there is more scent on money then on anything…Yes, we used to play with, silver. I thought it was really a good search when he picked those things up. It is amazing what they’ll do. You have to keep them (the search dogs) going. I used to borrow everybody from the warden office there to go out and hide out in the bush someplace…He was with you, so you always did something with him.

Earl – (0:26:20) Oh, you know it changed (in response to the question. “In your 19 years with the warden service, did it change much?) Centralization…You can’t bring 15 people in and park them in town. I don’t think that you can do that and then you send them out into the district for ten days.

Terry – (0:27:03) I heard you talk about how the morale went down…Like you said you had guys ride out into the district for ten days, but they don’t have ownership of the district…because they knew in the next ten days they were going to be in town.

Earl – (0:27:34) Can you imagine two truckloads of wardens driving downtown to have coffee? You know it was ridiculous. Apparently it hasn’t gotten any better either…Terry (wasn’t called) a warden the last year or so that he worked, were you?

Terry – (0:27:58) We were called resource conversation staff because the park wardens are strictly the law enforcement people…I had a uniform, but they took our badges away and the flashes off …They are kind of switching over to that (getting all park staff in the same uniform), but they are in the throes of it. You guys, just had one uniform the whole time?

Earl – (0:28:29) Yes.

Terry – (0:28:30) Except they changed shoulder flashes on you guys a couple of times, didn’t they?

Earl – (0:28:41) No, I don’t think so Terry. I am pretty sure they always stayed the same.