But then it was the lawsuit over time, there were two of them. There was one American woman who was a naturalist for the Parks down there, and there was an Australian who was living in England, and he was actually the worst hurt. They were going after lost revenue, injuries and all that sort of stuff. So there was a whole defense. It took many years to go to trial and then we went. You know we had rewritten the Bear Management Plan, that bear management plan had gone to the US, it had been peer reviewed, it had been signed off by the Superintendent. It was a pretty reasonable solid document. We had demonstrated that we were doing what our management plan, that had the Superintendent’s signature on it, we were doing all of that stuff. We were doing our due diligence, the signs were up, all of that stuff.

Anyway, long story short, we won the case, there was no settlement. But what’s interesting is, when you first go into those things, the Crown Prosecutor, our side, typically will say we’re settling, we’ll write them a cheque. There’s always a no fault clause that goes with those things and you write them a cheque and they go away, mainly because it’s typically cheaper than doing the whole defense thing. But in this case our Crown Prosecutor said “No.” And I was frustrated with that approach as we did everything right as far as I can tell. So it took years, the guys from England had to come back.

SH: Boy that would have been costly for them. Because that would have been out of their own pocket.

Glen: Ya it was, all of it. And so it wasn’t until I retired and I had to come back and I remember going into that secured locker there with the files and getting my whole, it’s called a TIPS file right, pulling that out and re-reading everything before going to court. They had Steve Herraro on, Owchar was on, and the Judge just clearly agreed with us that well, there is a certain amount of unpredictability about the natural environment. But things changed after that you know, the fencing around the campground, the electrification, and you always learn and move ahead with it. So that was a big deal, that particular event. (Tape 12:49)

The cougar stuff, you know that was just a sad, sad case but it was also at a time when we had never seen (this type of attack). The public in Banff National Park communities, Banff, Jasper and so on, they know where they live and if somebody gets mauled by a bear, they don’t usually get up in arms about it and they understand usually how it comes about and so on then you say we can improve things but that’s just part of the deal. The cougar thing was totally different. It was the first and only fatality as far as I know in Alberta from a cougar, and certainly the only one in a national park, and it just bothered the community. They were nervous. “What do you mean, in the wintertime I’m supposed to be able not have to think about bad stuff out there.”. Syme was really involved in all of that stuff, so we did lots of presentations and so on. So that was a big event as well. (Tape 14:01)

There were some of the public safety stories that, (like the) kid, a local kid actually, I knew his parents, his mother, July 1st I think, went up on Tunnel and fireworks and all that stuff, and he fell off the back. And that’s like about 800 feet. So, I ended up being the one that found him and then did what we had to do, but that was the next day. So I can’t remember if I met the mother afterwards or not. I might have, in fact I’m sure I did because I know there was some questions about “Well I want to see my son”, and I just said “No, you don’t need to do that, remember him the way he was”. And I remember that cougar event, what was her name, Frost?

SH: Frost.
Glen: Yes, and it was like on January 2nd or something. (Tape 15:16)
Glen, and doing that, it was the Duty Warden and an assistant that went out there. They had to shoot the thing right on top of her and then I was there right after that and we had to do the whole investigation. Of course there was a lot of blood around in the snow.

SH: Somebody reported that back to us didn’t they?

Glen: You know who that was? That was Marg Gmoser. She was the one that reported it to the duty warden. It was typical of, “Oh it’s a deer” you know the cougar’s on a deer but we better go ahead and look at it.” Then lo and behold, wow … this cougar is on top of this woman. That one I’ll never forget, what a cougar can do to a human. Anyway, a few days after that, and this is very typical. I was involved in a number of those. The parents, the family is always struggling. How can this happen. We need some answers. Particularly, I think she was from Edmonton or Calgary. So they were mountain visitors. They understood the environment. But often they aren’t from the mountains. So it’s really important. We did it many times. Tim was great at that. Having them come out. Putting them in the helicopter and flying them around. Anyway, I remember the family wanted to come up and see where their daughter died. I thought “Oh my God”. So I remember going up there a day before with a shovel, and trying to get rid of all of the blood and stuff. Covering it up with fresh snow, throwing it into the bush, and all of that stuff. And then I walked down there with the parents

SH: Her dad just died a little while ago. They came to Canmore a lot. It was in the Canmore paper. I recognized the last name, and the obituary said he was predeceased by his daughter.

Glen: Oh really.

SH: Wow. Well that’s not a happy story.

Glen: I’ll tell you another one that’s not happy but .. It involved a double fatality on Oyster Peak, where Deception Pass….. (Discussion about where). We paused and looked area up on a map. (Tape end 18:55)

End of Part 3

Part 4 – Tape 12:26 pm – Tape 00:11

SH: So we are talking about a double fatality on Fossil Peak.

Glen: Yes, it was an avalanche. It was when I was working at Lake Louise because all of us were responding to it. You know, Clair and Dave, Gord and the usual crew. So these two guys had gone …they were brothers. They went up Deception and they hiked up because typically it’s windblown. You could just about walk on shale. And then they put their skis on right at the top and then jumped in. And they went all the way down to the lake. They got munched up there. Anyway, the next day. It’s clear, it’s a recovery… it’s not going to be a rescue. So, that was still when Gord was the Dog Master in Rogers Pass. So of course you want to get the dog in there as quickly as you can. You know all of that stuff, before you contaminate it and everything. And I flew in with Gord and the dog and landed down, just off the debris. What was the dog’s name?

SH: Max.
Glen: Yes Max. And we got out of the machine. Gord opens the door and the dog jumps out. Bolts right to the debris right away. Wasn’t on a leash, just gone. And Gord is yelling “Max! Back”! And the dog, is thinking, just forget it… So the dog runs up and it just happened that one of the victims had one arm showing. And the dog latched on, Well the scent, and that’s the reward. And in training, you always have to give them something to chew on. So Gord is running at this thing, across the debris. Anyway he wasn’t hard to find, he was right there, so we uncovered him and then we found the second guy. (03:17)

Glen and I chat about some other events here quickly – not transcribed.

SH: Can you tell me about any rescue/wildlife/enforcement stories that stick out in your memory? (Tape 03:48)

I was just thinking about the parent thing. You were around I’m sure when that guy went up Cascade and Tim and Gord and Marc and Percy were all doing that (search). They couldn’t find him, couldn’t find him. And, the parents just didn’t understand. I think he was from Quebec. And it got to the point where they filled orange coveralls up with weight and rags and everything and I think it was Percy had him on the end of the line and they dropped this thing off to see the potential of where this body could tumble to. And I think it was another one of those Auger things, saying eventually the guy’s foot was melting out of the snow. That was, public safety stuff was more and more specialized and relied on fewer and fewer of the general group, and I was in wildlife, but at that point it was one of those things that I ended up kind of, doing some of the coordination. On the big searches, there was always a few of us they came to and said “Okay, we need you because you understand the backcountry and how people are traveling.” That whole computer program, Dave Gilbride, would sit at the computer and they had that search program where you do the possibilities and rest of the world and all of that stuff. I got involved in doing a few of those on the bigger ones. (Tape 05:40)

Anyways, for some reason I happen to be in there and I was the liaison with what was going on with us to the parents in Quebec. They spoke English and because it was days before we found this guy. Were you dispatching or something at that time?

SH: Yes I was in rescue base.

Glen: And so it just happened that that was the role that fell to me and they (the parents) struggled with, actually when we still hadn’t found him, they talked to a psychic. But they just didn’t understand. And they were people that came out and I’m sure it was Auger that flew them around. In fact I can’t remember whether I did or not. But they were just really struggling. They didn’t understand the environment and stuff. And I’m sure that was a really critical part of them moving on with acceptance. Anyways, enough of the grim reaper stuff (Tape 06:47)

Glen: A story that Janice reminded me of last night … Back when we had the Bison in Banff, remember the Bison enclosure? Well those were Wood Bison, they weren’t Plains Bison, the ones that the hamburger comes from. Plains Bison are a domestic animal and if you go to Morley and have a Bison burger, you’re having a Plains Bison. Anyways, part of the reason for that – and that was at the old zoo location. Johnny Nylund was the horse guy and that’s where the barn was. And he fed the Bison all the time. The reason we had that, was it was an isolated herd that they could naturally breed and they knew they would be disease free. Then the CWS, the Canadian Wildlife Service, who was kind of managing it, there was new information, where genetically there really wasn’t a difference but physiologically there is between the Plains Bison and Wood Bison. But anyways, they decided, “Why do we still have penned animals in national parks?” and then Bob Haney decided, “Well it’s time we closed that thing.” (Tape 08:24)

Because I was in wildlife, I was tasked with coordinating how do we get rid of these Bison. And the biggest issue before you move them, is they have to be disease tested. I can’t remember to be honest, whether they went back to Elk Island or, I think they might have gone to … one of the oil sands companies has a big reintroduction as part of their corporate citizenship and they were reestablishing some herds up there. Anyway the best time to handle a Bison is in the dead cold of winter, January. So we got all of the chutes and squeezes and all of that sort of stuff and we had the CFIA (the Canadian Food Inspection Agency), the veterinarians that come and disease test for stuff. We had to have all of those animals tested for brucellosis and tuberculosis before we could ship them away. And that’s always been the issue with the Bison in Wood Buffalo that interface where they meet on a border with rangeland cattle and that (risk of) transmission. And whether the rancher says, “Well it came from the Bison first.” And the resource manager saying “It came from the cow first,” or whatever. That’s never good. So the big issue was disease testing them at the time. So that was really fun actually, to work with the Bison. I went to Elk Island a few times to their big handling facility. They are so big and so powerful. So we set it all up and I remember one of the things I had to do, they had these big caliper (headgate) things with blunt ends on them, and the more you pull, the harder the clamp goes, and you run them into a chute with a squeeze, and their head goes through it and you close that thing on their head. And their head’s flying around. So my job was to put this thing in their nose, and it had a rope on it, so the harder you pulled, the more it squeezed. But you had to pull their head over because the vet had to shave their neck in two places and they had to do brucellosis and tuberculosis tests. Just like a vaccination. You had to shave it and you have to see, you inject in and then you have to see if there’s a reaction, three days later. It takes three days. So we do that. It’s really fun actually because you’re chasing them around. (Tape 11:25)


One thing that Bison are susceptible to is what’s called capture myopathy. And if you get them overheated basically they get a lactic acid overdose. And literally, it can kill them pretty quickly. So that’s why you want to handle them when it’s super cold out, because they get really excited. Anyways, we did that and the big deal was we had to hold them for three days, in a small place that we’re pretty confident they’re not going to come nose to nose with an elk. And this whole disease …. We have to be able to say to the wildlife veterinarian guys, the CWS (Canadian Wildlife Service) that the Bison were isolated and quarantined for those three days. Then we come back, you handle them again, and look and see if there’s a reaction on their neck. So, it’s my responsibility, so we had them in a small pen, and fed them and so on. Because of what I was doing, I had to go check on them at night. It’s January so it’s pitch black at 9 o’clock or something. So I went over there ….. Damn, they’re gone! They’d broken down … it was just a big wooden gate, but they’d never been in that pen, they’d always been out in the bigger enclosure. If a Bison wants to go they’re going to go. Anyway, they brought that wooden gate down. And they’re gone. And I’m going, “Oh my God, they’re out in the park and this is their three day quarantine”. They are not supposed to come close to another animal, and they’re gone. I’m the one that’s supposed to be saying that everything’s good. So I got a flashlight and there’s snow, it’s not hard to track a Bison in the wintertime. I mean they leave a bloody trench that’s three feet deep and two feet wide. So I figure, I got to get these guys back. I really wasn’t thinking too clearly. It was holy crap. So I start following them, and like I said, they are not hard to follow. And they’re halfway up Cascade Mountain. There’s a big grass, treed slope right out of the back of that old corral.

SH: Where the airstrip is?
Glen: Right, above there there’s a big ramp of trees there. So I just waded in the snow and I don’t know if I am getting any closer. And I don’t know what it took. Obviously, I was just getting tired and wasn’t seeing them. I was sure as hell seeing where they had been. And then I think, so what do I do if I catch up to them? So, I just went … Oh well. So I slogged all the way back down and I phoned John Nylund up, because he fed those things twice a day for years. I phoned him up and he just laughed at me like …. I felt like the young kid from Montreal at eighteen. And he said “What do you think you’re doing? First of all, you can chase a Bison anywhere that Bison wants to go.” Think about that statement ….a perfect statement! He said “Those animals have been fed twice a day for their whole lives. Throw out a few flakes of hay. Go a few hundred yards out, make a hay trail leading back into the corral. Leave the gate open and come back early in the morning and let’s see what happens.” (Tape 15:22)

So this is 2 o’clock in the morning by then. So I go home for three or four hours of no sleep. I go back in the dark and I drive up and how many did we have? Maybe eight, eight Bison with their heads down in the snow eating hay right in the middle of the corral. So I walked over and closed the gate and said, “Nobody’s saying anything about this to CWS.” And it went fine. We did the retest in three days and shipped them away. That wasn’t actually the end of the Bison paddock however, if you remember. So that was in the wintertime. Then Janice and I always went to Maui in the spring, mid-April to mid-May. And we go away, everything’s fine. The Bison paddock is now closed. I come back a month later and I hear that Don Gorrie is on his way to Elk Island to pick up a half dozen Bison to bring back …. I think they were Plains Bison … back into the enclosure. Because, “we” never talked to larger stakeholders, Brewsters, who did bus tours through there. We never told them that the Bison paddock was no longer on the tour because you’re not going to see anything. And that was where the political pressure of, ‘get something back for them to look at!’. So Don Gorrie was driving up when I came back, to bring some back for that interim year, and then we sent those back. And you just go, Oh my God. But Johnny Nylund, “You can herd or chase a Bison anywhere it wants to go.” I’ve used that line many, many times since then. (Tape 17:29)

Glen: Want anymore? I got one more. This is a cougar story. This one is a very memorable day and it was after the fatality. When we were starting all that studying … the relationship between cougar and wolves, the cougar is a singular individual. It takes a lot for them to kill a prey, and then the wolves being around, because everyone is around because of those elk seeking shelter in the town. So there was all of those studies after the fatality. Anyway, I think it was early winter, because there was definitely snow on the ground. So that was January when the fatality happened so it was probably the following December, somewhere around there. We were in the lower Spray tracking a cougar. I think there was a guy named Johnston from Canmore. He owned the carwash and the storage place. (His name is Simpson). Anyway, he had cougar dogs and so we had hired him. Todd Shurry was there as the wildlife vet, Leblanc was probably there and a couple of those young master’s type people. There was a woman there; she ended up studying cougars… Carolyn or something. So we were out there tracking, and we were on the track of a cougar, and we caught up to him and of course, typically the dogs chase him up a tree and you then you immobilize him in the tree. And that’s what happened, this cougar was up a tree and it was probably Todd that shot it with a dart. And sometimes they’ll kind of fall on a limb and get stuck up the tree and sometimes they don’t get all the drug. Sometimes they’ll come down as soon as they get hit. This one sat there for a while and then, often what will happen is if they’re in a precarious position, they’ll realize they don’t know what’s happening to them, but know if they stay up here they’re going to fall. So they come down. Anyway that’s what this one did. It came down and we were there, and it was sort of half drugged. Had the dart in its hindquarter. And we’re going well we need to up the dose here, we need a second dose. What are we going to do? This thing is starting to walk and wobble and fall over and stuff. And it started to move away and Todd was getting his second syringe ready. The thing was starting to get up and move. Todd said, “Jump on that thing, stop it from going anywhere.” And my instinct was, and this is absolutely true, I dove into the snow and grabbed this thing by the tail, literally by the tail. And it turns out after we weighed it and everything, it weighed less than 100 pounds, it was like 95 pounds and it was a female and it was half drugged. And I grabbed this thing by the tail and it pulled me on the ground half drugged. So I have a huge new respect after that, of the size of the animal and the power of the animal. Anyways, so I was able to get in there, and it was pretty drugged, but it was still very strong, and I had a blanket or something and I got up and grabbed it by the head and shoved the blanket over it. And as soon as you do that they typically calm down. Grabbed it, shoved it and I’m sure I had my knee in its head trying to hold it down and then Todd was able to do another dose, and then we collared it and away you go. So I get home that day, and Janice typically said, “Well how was your day?” And my comment was “Well it was pretty western”. That’s what I said to her. I had a cougar by the tail today. And so that’s my cougar story.

SH: That’s great. I’ve never heard that story. Did you tell that story right away?
Glen: No, I mean the people that were there … but what a powerful animal.

End of Part Four (Tape 21:59)

Part Five: 12:49 pm.
SH: How did the Warden Service change over the years? – centralization, affirmative action, focus on public safety. Do you want to add anything in there?

Glen: I think we’ve kind of talked about that. I’ll have one story about …. It wasn’t affirmative action. Women came along, they were qualified they got the job. Maybe they saw it … I don’t know, I didn’t have that perspective. Diane and the first female wardens that I worked with were Betty Beswick and Kathy Calvert, and they were far more superior in everything they did to what I did, so it wasn’t a question of that. But you were around when this was going on.

Glen: Anyway, you heard the whole story about…in the backcountry and all that sort of stuff and not treated fairly. It was almost like hearings there. There were a few people that came pretty close, a good friend of mine. But I remember talking to Diane about this afterwards. And part of the beef was “I go to every warden cabin and there’s nothing but Playboy magazines there.” And when you went into a warden cabin there wasn’t Playboy pictures plastered to the wall. But there was a dusty collection of many years worth of Playboy in a drawer somewhere. I get it. Don’t put any names to this. So the compainant was totally offended by that. And I couldn’t appreciate her perspective, obviously. But Diane, when this was all going on. I remember this clearly. We got to get rid of all those magazines. And she just looked at me and said, “Well I put a couple of Playgirl magazines out there. You know, there’s women wardens out there and they want to read their magazines. And I thought that’s why Diane was so successful. (Tape 03:55)

SH: What about the Warden Service was important to you? The idea of protecting and preserving national parks, keeping people safe etc.

Glen: Ya, I guess there’s all of those things. Sometimes I think when I talk to other people, that, particularly American friends of mine, when I say Park Warden, the first thing they think is you worked in penitentiaries, so I always have to say, “Well like a park ranger”. And then they get it. And then you start talking about why you did it, and hopefully everybody had that same attitude of this whole mandate of Parks Canada, which was important to us, to me individually, to the country, and globally. That was one of the messages, when we were in Japan, that I was trying to communicate to those people. There are lots of national parks in Canada that I’ll never get to, and I’m Canadian, and you certainly will never get to, but it is important that we’re doing that. I’m glad that Japan recognizes that. And that there’s a national park in Hokkaido that I will never get to, but it’s important that it’s there. I believe that until the day I finished although I was jaded with what I was seeing with management and their idea that we want visitation to grow 2% a year, year after year. It’s like compounding interest. Well, we’re seeing the results of that approach in Banff.

Are there any legends or stories associated with the Warden Service that you can share? Is there anyone from the Service that stands out in your mind? (Tape 06:57) End of Part 5

Part 6: 1:08 pm – tape 00:08
SH: What makes the Warden Service such a unique organization?
Glen: You’re counting on the guy or woman on either side of you to keep you alive. And that’s what we did, not on a daily basis. The public safety guys certainly did, but on a routine basis. If you’re walking into a snare, that potentially has a grizzly bear caught by one toe, you’ve got to count on that guy beside you. One time really late in the season, we were in ER 3 or something at Lake Louise, Mike Gibeau and I, and I knew it was not a good place, but we were right up below the cornice and Mike was on the other side, and I guess I went first. And I said to Mike “Okay really watch me here because this might go.” And I skied onto this. And that’s what we did, we ski stabilized all the time. And I jumped onto this thing and … gone, and it’s rocky and stuff. So I actually took a pretty good ride because the snow came over my head a couple of times but I was able to always stay oriented. I lost a ski. And I happened that day to be using my own skis, a pair of Rossignols. And so, you want that guy you’re skiing with, to know what to do and save your ass if you actually do get buried. I had to go back up there in July to get my rusted out old ski, my Rossignol, after that. So there’s not that many work places like that.

SH: That’s a good answer.

SH: Do you want to tell me any legend stories? (Tape 02:27)

Glen: Well, maybe Gerry has had some great Willi (Pfisterer) stories. Did you ever read the book Fifty Percent of Mountaineering is Uphill? His daughter Suzie and he wrote it, and she finished it. Janice got me a signed copy from Suzie (Pfisterer) because she’s known Suzie all her life. And I gave Dave (Norcross) one and said Dave you’re going to love this book. And I asked him a while afterwards, and he said, “I read it straight through, I couldn’t stop reading it”. It’s a really terrific book. There’s lots of Willi stories in there. But one of them that’s actually in the book, I was a contributor to this whole thing. I was a bit player that fit perfectly in what his narrative was. I had just transferred from Rogers Pass to Banff. It was probably the first ski trip that I went on with Willi and it was, of course, back in the days of the knickers and stuff. So you’ve heard the red socks story. Well I think I might have gotten red socks from Janice for Christmas … knicker socks. And it was the Eight Pass trip, the famous Eight Pass trip. So I’ll tell two other lines afterwards from this. Anyway, I show up in Jasper with my knickers, I think they were blue knickers at the time. I had some green ones but we moved onto green wool after that, but I had these red knicker socks that I actually really liked. And I showed up to do this trip with the red knicker socks. And Willi sees these things and says, “Jesus Christ! You Banff guys always think you’re all so hot, showing up with these red socks on!”. And I said, “What are you talking about? They’re just socks.” And then the story shows up in his book about the guides are the only ones that are allowed to wear the red socks. And I thought God I’m so glad I showed up with those red socks, and it made it right into his legacy literature. This was something that obviously I wasn’t the only one who had faux pas’d about showing up, nobody told me.

SH: I remember giving Gerry some socks I had dyed pink when he was working through his mountain guide thing so he had pink socks. It was kind of funny. Not quite red. (Tape 05:18)

Glen: There’s two other quick Willi things. On that same trip, because Willi was an examiner for the ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides), he often would bring these guys on these summer and winter training trips of ours. Some aspiring guide that he had examined that maybe had missed a part of it or was a little weak on something, so if they showed up and did this trip then they would be able to qualify and whatever. So it wasn’t irregular for us to have one or two of these guys every once in a while on these trips, these Warden training schools.

The Eight Pass trip had at that time, a real reputation. It’s eight passes in three days. And so if you did that, and it was successful and stuff, it was one of those things that you would like to have in your back pocket, in your resume I guess. Anyway, I remember him saying maybe it was the year before or something. It was right when guys were starting to telemark again. The smaller, lighter gear and all that sort of stuff. I remember him telling us, cause he had this guy on his trip who showed up in this stuff, this light telemark gear. And Willi says, “Ya those guys, they think they’re creating something new on this telemark gear. I learned how to ski on this stuff forty years ago. Ya, we do the eight pass trip, and they go fast and light and do it in four days, we go slow and heavy and we do it in three.” And it was wonderful that he had that story. We gave that stuff up, it didn’t work. We figured out a better way. (Tape 07:39)

Glen: And the other thing about that trip, the Eight Pass trip. (Bob) Hanson and I were on it, and we were in the tent with Willi, and he had his very own, it was always his tent, and it was a McKinley tent with a post. So you got three guys and you have to move the post over. So the two junior wardens get one third of the tent, and always Willi sleeps on the same side. Willi sleeps on the other side. Okay he’s the big guy, and he gets to do that. And you know when you’re winter camping you stamp it all out in the snow and everything’s got a good base. Pull the tent up in the morning …. Damn there’s a yellow spot in the snow. And that whole story with Dave Carnell, (could have been Ric Ralf) who probably gave himself kidney failure trying to hold on as long as he could. So that was absolutely true. I saw it. And the other thing about that trip I clearly remember was, because you’re three days in the lower elevation stuff, you could actually have a fire. So the first night we cooked pork chops in town, whatever the basic meal was. But anyway we cooked pork chops in town and then the idea was that first night you could have actual pork chops. But you’re not going to carry a frying pan. So what do you cook it on? Your aluminum avalanche shovel… that’s what we cooked it on over the fire. (Pork chops) with white bread. And Bob and I are there and cooking with the aluminum shovel with these greasy, greasy pork chops. Probably with a half an inch of fat, and it’s good after you’ve skied all day, it’s cold and stuff. So we ate our pork chops and I remember I don’t know if it was Bob or I. We were trying to clean the shovel off and melt the fat so that you didn’t put it in your pack. Because I’m sure it wasn’t Willi’s shovel. And again Willi says, “Jesus Christ what are you doing? That’s good stuff.” And he took his white bread and just dipped it in the fat. So that’s it (Tape 10:22).