(0:14:58) Well (as a seasonal warden) you were cutting trail, doing everything. But back in those days, when I say you done everything, you cut the grass, you painted the warden station, you did everything! But, I always worked for good ones where 90% of it was horse work because that was my background. Packing water to the lookouts (up to) the hired look out men etc…

(0:15:54) I loved it (the warden life)! I was sorry to see it go to centralization because that district life was so good. I never thought centralization would work, but it did. It was good too. It did work. Well you got to move around more. The job didn’t change. You were centralized in one location and just travelled out of that. Ten days on and four days off. It was better for the family because they were always in a town, whether it be Lake Louise or Banff where they could mix. So it was better for them and better for the kids.

(0:17:26) The best (part about being a warden) was the backcountry life and the horse work. But that was my strong point. I didn’t spend much time on Minnewanka because I was scared of water. Mountain climbing, I didn’t do much of that either because I was scared of heights! I was lucky that way. In fact, one time when I first started, I was with Walter Perren, who was the alpine specialist back then, and we were climbing out on Mount Cory behind Mount Norquay. When we got down he called me aside and told me that he thought I should be the park horse warden and not the climbing warden! That was okay with me! I only went (climbing) when they made me. But I had to learn all the equipment and everything. Oh, he was a fantastic guy (Walter Perren). But I was lucky because I was young enough to come on when all those old guys were still there….And I was lucky because I was on when the first female wardens came. Kathy (Calvert) and I think Diane Volkers, but I could have that wrong. Being from the old school (some wardens thought) that it won’t work. Girls won’t work. (But) they were every bit as good or better than the wardens were at that time. Then for dispatchers out of the fire hall we had three old guys in there that always fought amongst themselves! Then they started hiring female dispatchers, “Oh that’ll never work!” But it worked as good, definitely better than it did with the old guys! Jimmy Deegan (was one of the old dispatchers), Bernie Cody and Kenny McTrowe. Moe Vroom was the first (female dispatcher hired at the Banff warden office). Dispatch was out of the fire hall back then. The warden office way back then was on Elk Street (411 Elk St.) where the duplexes are now. It moved from there down to the compound.

Larry Gilmar participating in the gymkhana held at the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch in the 1960s.

(0:21:23) The climbing and the water (were the only things Larry didn’t like about the job). The rest was fantastic because it was all backcountry stuff eh. In my whole 35 years, I don’t think I spent more than three years as a town warden.

(0:22:01) Since I retired I (went out into the backcountry) up until about the last four years. Then they changed it around and made it hard to get into the backcountry. With the new management and everything else, it is pretty hard. For the first few years after I retired my brother and I and Jimmy Van Tassell… volunteered. We went around cutting the firewood for the year, and painting the backcountry cabins and doing minor repairs and stuff… (The changes) started when your dad and I retired (1995). I was going to go once a week down there (to the Banff Warden Office) for coffee and that lasted one month. All the ones I knew were either out or starting to retire. Major changes, as far as I am concerned…I was never going to say anything about them (the changes to the warden service) but I do to myself! But I would do it all over again and I would recommend that job to anybody because they come on now and the times are different. So they would come in thinking this is the way it is.

(0:23:59) Probably (the most memorable event of Larry’s career) was my years in Bryant Creek after the kids were born. We lived in that one room cabin all summer (at Bryant Creek) and Spray 16 Mile in the wintertime, which is a different, cabin now. We used to take Bonita and Brett, Bonita …was two probably and Brett just a newborn and we used to put them in a pack box one on each side (of the horse) and take them into the district system that way from Bryant Creek. Everything about the job was so good. I personally can’t remember a day of the whole 35 years that I hated to get up and go to work…Jane (Larry’s wife) used to holler at me because on my days off I would even go down there (to the warden office) or do something that was (part of the job). Back then all of the wardens got along. If they had a party, they would come in from all over for the party. It didn’t matter if it was out of Saskatchewan Crossing…Now today, I don’t think that they get along to do those things.

(0:26:11) Only once I had a close encounter with a grizzly. That was with Johnny Nylund. We were near Windy and we were coming from Barrier to Windy and they flew a bear from town out there and let it loose, but it was tranquilized and still asleep. It was Rick Kunelius (who tranquilized the bear) and we wanted to get by. They told us to stay on the river and we could get by. So we go down on the river and just as we get going by that bear that was up on the trail, he came out of it and over the bank! But he was still asleep and drowsy enough that he didn’t get us. We were on the horses! That was really the only close encounter of any kind.

(0:27:13) Not at all (there were no issues with wildlife when they lived in the backcountry). We might have been stupid, you know. Even at my stay in Lake Louise, Ronnie and Faye Hall with their two kids – he worked for the lift company and they lived three doors down from us – and we used to send our kids out to play with theirs and there would be grizzlies right in the yard! I mean it’s stupid now, but they were fine. Back then we didn’t (think about it). A lot of my career was in the districts tenting it because we didn’t have cabins in some places that they do today and we never had a problem. But I don’t know with the things that are happening today if I would do that today or not.

(0:28:21) To me (centralization) was the biggest (change)…If I was still there today, I would say the gun thing, but I’ve been gone now for 16 years, it’s hard to believe. I am almost catching up to the amount of years that I was there.

(0:29:05) Lots of funny stories! Yeah, if I wanted to talk about guys like Jim Rimmer and his dog Spook. He was English. We worked together at Saskatchewan Crossing under centralization for a long time. He was a character that wanted to stay to himself all of the time. No, (Jim Rimmer was never married) I don’t know who would have him! When they talk about a stubborn Englishman, he fit the bill! He came from Jasper, but I only knew him here. I think he was in Jasper, but he’s done so many different things…Like he was in the Palestine police force, he was a professional boxer…I don’t even know who you could ask about him because he was a character…He died about ten years ago. Yeah, he moved down to Lundbreck Falls, in the Crowsnest Pass and passed away there.

Smokey Guttman, Larry Gilmar and Peter Whyte at the 2009 Reunion, Banff.