Guardians of the Wild, by Dr. Robert J. Burns with Mike Schintz

University of Calgary Press, Parks and Heritage Series

Published in 2000.

Bears and bureaucrats, timber and telephone lines, poaching and predators, fires and families – all these play a part in this fascinating and long-overdue study of Canada’s national park wardens.  The Warden Service has been integral to Canada’s national parks from their earliest days.  First established in Rocky Mountains Park (now called Banff National Park) in 1909, the position of fire and game guardian was the precursor of today’s national park warden, whose duties now include resource management, law enforcement, and pubic safety.  Robert Burns traces the growth of the Warden Service from its formative years and shows how the role changed and developed according to the expanding park system, altered societal expectations, and technological change.

Both a tribute to the enormous devotion of duty and dedicated labours of the park wardens and a well-researched factual account of how our national parks evolved. Guardians of the Wild is a singular study of the historical evolution of protection and management inside Canada’s national parks.

Dr. Robert J. Burns was an historian for Parks Canada from 1976 to 1995.  He was a freelance historian and Canadian heritage resources consultant and frequent contributor to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

Mike Schintz was a thirty-nine year veteran of Canada’s national park Warden Service.