Thank you to the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies for granting permission to the Park Warden Service Alumni to post this interview on our website.
This Oral History interview was funded in part by a research grant received in 2019 from the Government of Alberta through the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation.
Telephone Interview with Lloyd Freese
December 21, 2019 – 8:00 pm MST, Invermere, BC
and Haines Junction, YT
Interviewed by Susan Hairsine
Place and date of birth? Lloyd was born in Brighton England, on December 19, 1947.
SH: Happy belated birthday.
Lloyd: So that makes me 72. I’m probably like a youngster.
SH: You are aging well. So, where did you grow up?
Lloyd: Well, I haven’t yet. I’m still working on that, but I spent some formative years in Winnipeg, Manitoba and I went to school in Saskatoon. I worked for the Manitoba Government for a couple of years and then on to National Parks Service.
SH: How did you become involved in the Warden Service? Which national park did you start working in?
Lloyd: When I was going to college in Saskatoon, between the first and second year, I ended spending the summer of 1969 working in Waterton. I wasn’t a warden or anything, I was just a one person trail crew, and walked around and cleaned up campsites in the various little places in Waterton, but I did meet some of the wardens and got to know a bit about the Warden Service there. From there, after college, I graduated and went to work as a Conservation Officer in Manitoba for two years and I sort of liked the idea of the national parks, so I applied and got on in Jasper.
SH: What year would that have been Lloyd?
Lloyd: That was in 1972 when I went to work in Jasper.
SH: The infamous winter of ‘72, the big snow year in Rogers Pass. Everyone talked about that winter.
Lloyd: So I got on as a seasonal and that winter I worked on a trail crew in Jasper and we took out phone lines, we put phone lines back in, we checked phone lines, we built the corrals, and things like that.
SH: John Niddrie had a similar experience. Interesting.
Lloyd: In 1973 I moved up to the Yukon in Kluane. I’d applied and said because I’d worked in Northern Manitoba as a CO, I said “I’d like to go back north.” So they gave me Kluane and that’s all she wrote.
SH: So you were full time in Kluane from 1973 until you retired then? Lloyd: No, I was only a seasonal up here (Kluane) for two summers and then got on full time.
SH: What made you want to join the Warden Service?
Lloyd: Well I did like the idea of national parks, some of the ideas of protection as opposed to other areas. Protection and preservation of natural features. And then also communicating that to the public as well.
SH: What different parks did you work in? Jasper, Kluane.
Lloyd: Well I started in Waterton. When I worked in Waterton I got to meet a bunch of the guys down there, like Larry Tremblay, Al Sturko, Jack Christensen, and Clancy Shadock, at a time when two young rebels were working there … Gordy Peyto and Bob Haney. They were Wardens, and I think the first time I met them they were shooting skunks at the cemetery in Waterton. So when I moved up to Kluane… so from Waterton to Jasper in 72, Kluane in 73 and then I also spent the summer up in Ivavik, and worked up there for a summer season.
SH: When would that have been Lloyd? Do you remember? Lloyd: That would probably have been about …. I’m going to say 1990 maybe.
SH: So that was when it was North Yukon National Park? Lloyd: Ya, basically
SH: I was up there about at that time, in 1988 I think I was up there.
Lloyd: I remember it well. There was a rescue mission that went on.
SH: Oh you were there when I was there. Isn’t that hilarious.
SH Note: There was a public safety school/river trip on the Firth River when I was in the park. Will Devlin was teaching the new park staff some rock climbing. A ground squirrel got trapped in the newly constructed outhouse at the Parks Canada camp. Will Devlin, Charlie Pacas and Lloyd Freese worked to free the critter while I photographed the event. When I returned to Banff, I wrote up a formal rescue report (the first for this park) and submitted it to Prairie Regional Office in Winnipeg. They failed to see the humour of it.
Lloyd: That must have been the year I was there then. I was there a couple of times. We did some training up there together. Ray Frey was the Chief at one time and then Bill Smith, he was the Chief when I worked there.
SH: Bill Dolan was the Chief when I went up there.
Lloyd: Yes, Bill Dolan was there and then Bill Smith was actually the Chief when I worked up there.
SH: What were some of your main responsibilities over the years?
Lloyd: Well I think like most guys I covered bits of everything. The public safety, law enforcement, resource conservation, things like that. I covered it all so at one time I was … what did we call ourselves then – area resource managers? So in Kluane there was a position opened up and I took it on after Hans Fuhrer left and that was the public safety program. So Hans Fuhrer was here, he was an Area Resource Manager, Larry Harbidge was here, Ray Frey was here and they all had various area resource management positions. When Hans Fuhrer left I took over in the public safety role even though I wasn’t a mountaineer, but I think the public safety function covered more than just being a mountaineer, even though a lot of it involved the mountain rescue work.
SH: I remember you would come down to some of the rescue leaders stuff that we had down south because that’s when I first met you.
SH: What did you like about being a warden? What didn’t you like about being a Warden?
Lloyd: I’m sure most people will mostly say they didn’t really like the office. The things that you like are the independence of getting outside working on the land, working with the wildlife and with the people. But you could do it pretty independently. You weren’t, certainly for up here, you weren’t totally structured. And then I also liked the idea that because we had a small park and basically, it was a small park in that we didn’t have a lot of staff, you were involved in most aspects of it. If there was a public safety incident or a law enforcement incident, or even working on resource management things, you got called in to help out wherever. We weren’t totally functionalized.
SH: Yes, that was a nice thing about the small parks for sure.
Lloyd: I think that’s something in many ways that is really missing and in some ways a bit of a downfall of the Warden Service. In some cases, it needed to be structured, but at the same time people who were involved were people who needed to do little bits of everything.
SH: Yes, that generalist thing. So what didn’t you like about being a Warden. Just the office bit or were there other things?
Lloyd: Well, I say the office, I think in some cases it’s important to get some of the work done. There weren’t too many things I didn’t really like. It was a good career and it’s a shame that it’s changed.
SH: What are some of the more memorable events of your Warden Service career?
Lloyd: Memorable events. Well, certainly some of the public safety events were big. We had sort of a low occurrence but high intensity events. An accident on Mount Logan pretty well garnered national coverage at times, and those were more memorable. Big law enforcement case we had in which we basically heard two guys were coming to poach and we had people at the airport in Whitehorse, photograph them as they got off the airplane, and then we had people watching them continuously, well pretty continuously, for about three days and then eventually they were taken down with two sheep. It ended up that they were, certainly one of them, was a very big time poacher and not a very nice person. He ended up getting done in by some other people.
SH: Like murdered later? Lloyd: Yes
SH: When was that Lloyd? Lloyd: Oh, that would have been probably in the early ‘80s I think. He was out of Vancouver area and used to poach ducks and what not, but I think the drug business caught up to him and they did him in and got rid of him.
SH: Did he serve any jail time for the national parks poaching or just a fine?
Lloyd: He just got a fine and lost some pretty valuable equipment. His rifle was worth several thousand dollars. Another one we had, was we used to work quite closely with the Yukon Government and the Alaskans, and we had people coming into the Kluane National Park and also the Kluane game sanctuary which we also helped try to protect, because there was potential it was going to become a park. We had people flying in to very small strips to hunt Dall sheep. Actually, we put out camps to try and catch these guys. One day we were flying in to one of these camps and we found an airplane on the strip, and we went up and arrested two guys that were in the process of poaching Dall sheep.
SH: I guess that’s about the only place Dall sheep live? Lloyd: No, no, they’re over in Nahanni as well, in the national parks system, and quite wide spread in Alaska.
SH: But they’re a northern sheep.
Lloyd: They’re quite widespread in Alaska. Yes, but the trophy hunting business is big. So we worked quite closely with the Alaskans and Larry Tremblay and Jack Christensen were sort of instigators in forming a group of law enforcement people in this northwest corner of North America. They probably still get together and have meetings and find out what the problems are and who are the bad guys and where they’re operating. It was a very cool time actually. One time we put out about 14 people in seven different camps throughout Alaska and sort of the southwest corner of the Yukon, with the idea of trying to track down some of these poachers. It was a big operation.
SH: Do they still do that multi agency thing with Parks up there Lloyd with law enforcement.
Lloyd: I think they still get together and work quite a bit with Yukon Government and conservation officers and certainly the RCMP and I would imagine they still carry on those law enforcement meetings. It’s a good thing.
SH: Well you did have Mount Logan in your backyard so I’m sure you’ve got some really good rescue or …. Do you want to tell me about any rescue stories that stick out in your memory?
Lloyd: Well, we did have not so much a rescue, but an incident in which two people went in to climb the Hummingbird Ridge on Mount Logan, which is one of the fifty classic climbs in North America as being rated. These two people, a guy and a girl, out of Calgary, had gone in, and didn’t go back to their camp. A pilot who worked up here had flown by their camp and noticed that the camp was still there. And then we got involved and went in and checked it out and the camp hadn’t been visited for quite a while. There was a note about what these two people were doing. They were going to climb the Hummingbird and go down the King Trench. That’s a big job. That’s a very big mountain and it would take for what they were trying, probably a couple of weeks of work. We went up and we found one of their tents and a fixed line, strung across a place called the Shovel traverse. And we got in there and looked for them and then basically we couldn’t get back in again other than for a brief couple of hours, during the next two weeks. So, the weather just kept us out. That made some national news. We had friends of the lady come up, she actually came to the Yukon from Seattle, I believe saying that they were in the tent and they were afraid to come out and it basically just got lots of coverage in the press. She was pushing to do more rescues when we weren’t even capable of getting in there. Eventually one of the climbers that had climbed with these two people on K2 I believe, came and we ended up flying in there basically another two weeks after we first went in. And he said, “They’re gone”. It was just a big media show and lots of communications and lots of press and unfortunately, we couldn’t do anything about it. Since then, one of the bodies has appeared but it’s in a place that you just can’t easily get to, to recover it.
SH: So it’s in a crevasse or something.
Lloyd: Well it’s hanging off the side of the mountain, and some years it’s there and some years it’s totally covered. Mount Logan has sort of been … we’ve had lots of events up there. We first got the Allouette 3 helicopter, which was…. we negotiated with a local helicopter company to get a high altitude machine and they acquired an Allouette 3 which we used. When we first got it, I think Willi (Pfisterer) was up here, and we trained with it. It was on a Friday I think we did our first practice with it, and on Monday we got a call for a rescue on Mount Logan. We went in there and luckily, we were able to help them out and we got this one person that probably would have perished if we hadn’t have got to him that day.
SH: His lucky day.
Lloyd: Yes, there are lots of events on Mount Logan.
SH: Did you ever climb that Lloyd? Lloyd: I was on three or four different attempts, but I never made the summit. It’s a big mountain. It’s impressive and not very forgiving if you’re not careful.
SH: Do you want to tell me any public safety school stories up there on a lighter note?
Lloyd: Like Willi’s humour?
SH: Well they don’t have to be lighter stories. You can tell me whatever you want.
Lloyd: You do the work in the daytime and there was always meal times or whatever, and we got standing around one evening and were talking survival or whatever. Willi …. good sense of humour, he says “Well for survival, we’d end up eating somebody or something like that if you couldn’t make it. But we all know that North American’s aren’t fit for human consumption.” And then he looked around and realized he was the only non North American there. He always had something witty to say.
We were on another training school, and we were scrambling around in some rocks and it was getting a little later in the day, and going down it was starting to rain a little bit. Willi he’s just nimble footed and heading down pretty quick. He gets underneath some rocks to get out of the rain and eventually we get there, and he’s got all this hair growing out from underneath his ball camp. In the process he’d found a whole bunch of sheep hair, and stuffed it under his hat. And he say’s “What took you guys so long, I’ve been waiting here so long I’ve grown hair!”
SH: That’s a good story. I’ve never heard that one.
Lloyd: He was a pretty important part of the work we did up here. When I first arrived here, it would have been in May of ‘73, they just had an expedition to Logan, so it was the first one, and I’d have to think about who all the different people were, but it seems to me, Art Cochrane, Bob Haney, Willi Pfisterer, Max Winkler, Hans Fuhrer, Peter Fuhrmann, Tremblay and maybe John Wackerle ….. Anyhow those guys had all been on Mount Logan and just came off. And me being the young seasonal warden, and I get to deal with all these guys, and it was pretty cool but I just got to drive them into Whitehorse but they all got to go have fun on Mount Logan, but they got beat off by weather and that as well.
Willi was up here virtually every year, every second year, for a training school. He was my go-to person for finding stuff out about …. giving advice about how to deal with certain situations here. He was also an influence of getting me into the area manager’s job for public safety. Talked me into taking the position …. He and Tremblay. They were both very good people.
SH: Willi was certainly larger than life, that’s for sure.
Lloyd: Both those guys were. Peter (Fuhrmann as well)
SH: Do you want to stay on that question or do you want to go on to how the Warden Service changed over the years?
Lloyd: Well, I mean certainly for up here Ron Chambers and Chuck Hume were park wardens here, they were local first nations guys. Ron Chambers he got on and he ended up going down and working in Jasper for almost two years. So basically becoming more aware of first nation rights and first nations involvement with management of the park, and that’s become more and more prevalent. Since then, within the park there’s a management board set up that includes, and is directed by, first nations people. That’s one of the things.
I think another real downside for the Warden Service was the whole law enforcement issue. The removing of a good number of people from the law enforcement function, and then making specialized law enforcement people. I think specialized, in places like Banff may be important where it’s a much bigger role, but up here when you take away law enforcement positions, you are just removing six or seven of those people that are generalists from being able to do that stuff. I think that was a real downfall. With that, it also took away their name; they were no longer wardens. But we all knew what we were really.
The whole firearm issue in some ways was kind of ludicrous, but kind of fun in other ways. Some bright spark somewhere had the idea that we were going to patrol the campgrounds and do law enforcement with long arms. For I think about three different training groups, we got to go to Chiliwack and shoot a whole bunch of guns for a week. It was fabulous but at the same time it was totally ludicrous to think that park wardens were going to walk around in a campground with a rifle or a shotgun and go and talk to John Doe and his family about their campfire or something. It was insane, but it was a lot of fun.
SH: So then Lloyd were you tasked with some law enforcement stuff that you got to do that?
Lloyd: Oh ya.
SH: So you were wearing two hats then? You were wearing a public safety area manager’s hat as well as a law enforcement guy?
Lloyd: No I’d moved on from public safety, just changing functions and then I did do a bunch of law enforcement stuff. Some of that was a lot of paperwork. You know, I dealt with the people in Ottawa quite a bit for regulation changes and all that good stuff. But then I was also part of the law enforcement group.
SH: So what year was that Lloyd?
Lloyd: Oh I don’t remember what year that was.
SH: Was that close to your retirement? You left public safety and ended on the law enforcement gang.
Lloyd: Well I did the law enforcement for awhile and then I sort of went on to special projects. I dealt with some resource conservation issues. We sort of monitored Kokanee salmon. Every year we’d go in and do a count of these fish on the spawning beds. All of a sudden it came up that they were disappearing and so that became a major project, as it’s kind of a unique fish for national parks. The Kokanee in the Kathleen Lakes here in Kluane is the only naturally occurring Kokanee population in the national parks system, and all of a sudden it was starting to disappear. So, we used to have counts of up to eight thousand, but averaging about almost three thousand fish every year, and it eventually got down to twenty fish. So we did things like had public meetings, and closed the sport fishing, or the sport fishing retention, and then did a bunch of research on fish at the same time. Diseases, water quality, it became fairly big. I chatted with Charlie Pacas about a bunch of that stuff at different times as well.
SH: So has that fish managed to rebound or does it still have low numbers?
Lloyd: Well, it did sort of bounce up for awhile and did have one real big boomer year and then it’s dropped back down again, so they’re still looking at what could potentially be the problem. It’s somewhat related to…well we never did find out the real reason that it happened…but, they are a Sockeye -that just never return to the ocean. They live their full lifecycle within freshwater. Where Kokanee salmon, they’re the same species, move to freshwater to spawn and then return to the ocean and live three or four years out there and then come back to spawn again. But they sort of notice some similarities between some of the populations of Kokanee and Sockeye. And whether it is something much bigger than what we know about … the sun is shooting off flares or something.
That was a project that I worked on relatively close to the end of my career, and I was sort of involved with invasive plant species. I went out to sit on the Yukon Invasive Species Council. (Tape 40:25)
SH: How that was kind of how did the Warden Service change over the years.
Do you want to go with what about the Warden Service was important to you?
Lloyd: I think it’s the Warden Service but it’s also national parks and creating awareness for the public and preserving and protecting. I mean that’s what we were about. That’s what national parks was about, and I think those are important things. I mean the Warden Service … I think it was a group of people that got things done and worked towards a common goal. I think for us, and I’m sure for every national park where there’s a Warden Service, it’s a team of people and that was important. Even though we’ve all been retired for over five years now, well it’s more like eight years now, we all had supper together last night. It’s the team that still needs to get together. We live in a small community and Rick Staley he’s sort of running the ambulance service for the community, Kevin McLaughlin and I are both on the Volunteer Fire Department, Rick and I are on the local search and rescue group. We just keep those things … we still need that stuff.
SH: I was really pleased last year when I got you on the avalanche course I set up, up there (for the Canadian Avalanche Association).
So: 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 43:35)
Lloyd: Well I sort of mentioned them already. There are really so many people, but Larry Tremblay was my first boss up here. He was really important for this park. He was an old cowboy and he got into the Warden Service and in the end, he ended up being an office person. He taught me a lot and I really appreciated it.
Willi at the same time, he used to come and stay here with us when he was up gold mining afterwards. They were both very strong people and were important. But at the same time, any number of people, Larry Harbidge, that went from a seasonal warden in Jasper to a Chief Warden to getting out of it and starting as a seasonal again and back up again. Ray Frey, Ray Brenerman and all the other people that I worked with, were all great. And then of course Gerry’s (Israelson’s) humor. But Willi is so strong …. the things that he did. I was in Jasper in ‘72 and the helicopter rescue system was just getting going. At that time there was a rescue on Mount Sorrel (Sorrow?) which is right next to Mount Edith Cavell. Willi was there, and I think Hans Furher and Abe Loewen ended up slinging up there and then spending the night up with this person. There’s just so many …. Max Winkler. They all have stories you know. Timmy (Auger).
SH: Did you ever do anything with Tim up there Lloyd?
Lloyd: Ya, Tim was up here and we were on Mount Steele together. So there was a crew of I think almost ten of us. Sort of on the day that we were all going to go to the summit, Tom Davidson cut his hand really badly on a stupid can of bacon and then he had to be flown out. That pulled out Ray Frye, Tom and Willi I think, and then Tim, Darro Stinson, Rick Kunelius, myself, Derek Tillson …. we all ended up going to the top of Steele and back down. And somebody else…. I can’t think of his name right now. Peter? Who was the guy that took the slide with Auger.
SH: Oh, Peter the lawyer, Peter Perren.
Lloyd: Ya, I think he was on that. That was only thirty, forty years ago. I think I’m pretty good just to remember the people that I did say (Tape 49:07)
SH: Ya you did great. Hey Lloyd, I’m going to give you a sub question here. One of the things was affirmative action in that previous question. Were there ever any women working up in Kluane?
Lloyd: Oh ya, Rhonda Markel and between Kluane and the Chilkoot. Rhonda and there were a few others as well. They didn’t make long term but they did work here. Cyndi Smith was up here …. she spent a summer up here.
SH: Sorry, I just couldn’t think of any until you said Rhonda.
Lloyd: Ya, Rhonda went on to be the Chief of Vunatut National Park. Certainly the Chilkoot trail has had a lot of women working there.
SH: Is there anything about the Warden Service, as you knew it, that you would want future generations to know?
Lloyd: Well I mean I think things change, things evolve. When I started with national parks in Jasper centralization had just occurred. The guys that used to live in the districts had all been moved into Jasper and things changed. And that’s when my clock started ticking. I didn’t know anything about them living on … other than stories, of people living out in the districts. We moved along and now all of us have retired and moved on and the outfit has created this new Warden Service, which I think is failing miserably but that’s their problem. I don’t think it’s failing because of the people, I think it’s failing because of the idea. That you just kind of create law enforcement positions and because the National Parks Act says that those are the people that are going to do law enforcement, you give them that name. So, all the people who do resource conservation are no longer wardens and they don’t have that sort of comradery that we used to have. I think the crews do get together but I don’t think they’re as close as what we were.
SH: Yes, I even noticed at the end of my career, that the opportunity for regional schools were pretty much non-existent so there wasn’t as much meeting people who worked in other parks as there had been in the past.
Lloyd: I think in some ways, something like the public safety aspect of it has sort of kept a bit of that going. Not necessarily the schools, because I don’t know if there are any schools anymore. But just the need to know the updated way that things work. Banff and Jasper, they have the public safety specialist type people, they have the guides that work. They have that aspect of it that places like Kluane don’t have. We just don’t have that wealth of breadth and knowledge that they do in places like Banff and Jasper. They don’t have the incidents, so to try to stay current, they have to communicate with the guys in Banff and Jasper.
SH: I was really surprised on that avalanche project last winter that Scott Stewart, who is the public safety guy there, isn’t even there (Kluane) full time. He has an eight month position or something.
Lloyd: Yes, he and Jeni Rudisill, who works over in the Chilkoot, she was on that as well, they actually organized another regional type refresher on avalanche last year, and then they did another one this year. We just did it a couple of days ago. Just to basically get all the players that are involved with avalanches, in this little corner of the world, other than Alaskans, together to work on ways that we’re going to deal with something if it comes down. Who’s in charge, who’s does what, who’s got the resources, who’s got the skills, how are we going to do it, who’s got a Level 2, (avalanche certification) blah, blah, blah. But it was Scott and then Scott’s off for three months now, or something like that because he’s not working.
SH: Ya,. What made the Warden Service such a unique organization?
Lloyd: Well, I think sort of what I said…. the people. The ability to work together, the teamwork I mean, I think we probably all refer to it at some time or other … the green machine. I think that was part of what … part of breaking up the Warden Service, was getting rid of the green machine. Trying to do that. It was unique in that we did have the communication. I only spent part of one year in Jasper but I knew guys there that I could phone, and I did phone about any subject I wanted to. I could say who do I talk to about fish, and somebody would say, oh well give blah blah a call because he’s dealing with that similar situation. Because I knew somebody. We had those regional schools and … ya, just a unique group of people I think. And one thing that we always sort of did if we had a public safety event or whatever, you did it as a team and there was somebody watching what you did. If you were doing it maybe, a little different, they’d say “You know tie that a different way or something”. And you’d go “Oh ya, that’s right.” Or you’d meet in the coffee room and somebody would say “Hey I hear Joe Blow was out shooting sheep”. There was just sort of a passing of information, working together, teamwork. It was like a band of brothers and sisters. But somebody had to break that up and we know who it was too.
SH: Interesting times that was.
Lloyd: Ya it was, certainly the highlights.
SH: Do you have any lasting memories as a Warden? Favorite park, cabin, horse, trail, humourous stories. This is where you can tell me more tales Lloyd. It’s an open question.
Lloyd: A horse, why would I remember a horse.
SH: A bit western centric question perhaps.
Lloyd: We did have a couple of guys who wanted horses here. We even did have horses for a little while. We didn’t actually have the horses and I mean, I even went to Grasslands. Rick Staley and I drove from here down to Grasslands, and went to a public safety meeting on the way in Banff, and we picked up a horse trailer in Grasslands, and we loaded it into another horse trailer in Banff. These were all surplus to Grasslands and to Banff, and drove it back up.
SH: With horses in it or empty?
Lloyd: No we loaded one horse trailer inside the other horse trailer. (Tape 1:02:29)
SH: Oh I see … two horse trailers but no horses.
Lloyd: Ya, but we had a few cowboys who liked the ideas of the horses and we did some training a little bit with local outfitters and whatnot. Bob Haney was pretty keen on getting horses here, and needless to say, BJ (Al Bjorn) was a horse person and he used horses a bit in the park.
Lloyd: Lasting memories and stories …. let’s see. There are just so many really. It’s all been a very good experience for me. It’s family too you know, like my wife Virginia, if there was a rescue going on, she’d be up and making scones for the crew. If there was a training day she’d have something going on so that people could have food or something. There was just so much really. It was a whole life.
SH: Do you ever miss being a Warden?
Lloyd: Do I miss it? You bet I do. That’s why I’m on the local search and rescue team, and I’m on the fire department. I’m not on the ambulance service, I did that for awhile but then I got out of that.
SH: I really miss the places you could go as warden or warden wife as it was, like the backcountry.
Lloyd: I do to. I got involved a little bit, even as a volunteer, probably not really a volunteer but helped out with counting Kokanee salmon after I retired, and I’m certainly open to talking to the staff that are here now, and I get phone calls every once in awhile saying “What about this or what about that.” And I sort of really miss it.
SH: Ya, well that’s great that they call you.
Lloyd: Well … I’m still friends with a bunch of the young people. I go skiing with them or something like that.
SH: Do you have any photos of yourself as a Warden that you would like to donate to the Project, or that we may copy? Do you have any artifacts/memorabilia that you would like to donate to the Project (Whyte Museum).
Lloyd: Ya, okay but mine’s a pretty tame story compared to some of them.
SH: Oh Lloyd, I think you had some good adventures too.
Lloyd: Oh ya.
SH: So what year did you retire? What do you enjoy doing in retirement? (Tape 1:07:12)
Lloyd: 2012. I got fired.
SH: You got fired? No
SH: Okay you better tell then. So your position went off the org chart. You were caught up in that?
SH: How would we call that? Lloyd: I got fired. The bastards fired me. No, I volunteered to go.
SH: I hope you got a nice buy out.
Lloyd: Well I was 65 at the time, and probably should have retired. I think my total service was 42 years between …. I started in June of 1970 with the provincial government in Manitoba and then except for a couple of winters, I worked right through. And then was let go in August 2012. I was certainly ready to go in the term of years, but definitely not … I was still willing to work. I enjoyed my job. But at the same time, you’ve got young Scott Stewart, and Jenni Rudisill that are just with young kids and that, so you might as well keep those guys working and I take the buy out.
SH: So what else do you do in retirement Lloyd? Lloyd: Well, I get out and about. I’m still pretty active outdoors and then I’m involved with the search and rescue and fire department and I try and do a bit of photography, but I’m not very good at it. That’s the main thing and I don’t go too far from home. I haven’t done a lot of traveling, a little bit but not too much. A bit of kayaking, ocean kayaking, a few canoe trips.
SH: Do you think you’ll stay up there in Haines Junction?
Lloyd: Oh this is my home. My kids live in Whitehorse, my grandkids live in Whitehorse, and Virginia still lives in Whitehorse so most of the roots are right here. I still like it although I was down in New Mexico and Arizona, a month or so ago. That was pretty nice actually, a nice place to go visit. Maybe I’ll see if Ivan Phillips has a space for me in one of his trailer parks or something.
SH: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you think I should know about the Warden Service?
Lloyd: I can’t think of anything like that. I think I’ve already said it. It was the greatest experience for me to work with the group of people that we worked with. It was a family. There’s always a bad brother or sister in there somewhere but at the same time it was all family. I’m going to have tears in my eyes pretty soon.
SH: Is there anyone else I should talk to?
Lloyd: You could talk to Terry Skjonsberg. He had a bit of a rounded career, and he’s an old Banff kid. All of the guys that I worked with up here were certainly here for a long time. Kevin McLaughlin came to us through what they called the youth conservation core. He was a student at that and liked the idea of the Warden Service and got into it and came back here eventually.
Bruce Sundbo … he’s probably got stories to tell, certainly in the fire stuff in Kootenay, but at the same time he was over in Riding Mountain for quite a few years. He and Bill Dolan were held up at gunpoint. Then he had a career up here as well. Rick Staley, he spent the better part of his career up here, but a very integral part of our Warden Service. And then Tom Elliott has been done.
SH: Is there anything that we didn’t talk about that we should get on here, or should we just shut off the tape and just have a yak.
Lloyd: Ya, I can’t think of anything. I can only talk for so long. (End 1:16: 43)
Kevin McLaughlin was interviewed in Phase 9
Tom Elliot was interviewed in Phase 8
Bill Dolan was interviewed in Phase 10
Terry Skjonsberg, Rick Staley and Bruce Sundbo are on the list for future interviews.
This interview was conducted by Susan Hairsine
Susan Hairsine worked for Resource Conservation and Operations in Mt. Revelstoke/Glacier, Jasper and Banff National Parks, as well as for Public Safety in Western and Northern Region for over 30 years. She obtained funding for an oral history of Parks Canada’s avalanche personnel and oversaw the successful completion of the project. Her experience working with several the interviewees during their careers has been an asset to the current project. She was also the Executive Assistant to the Chief Park Wardens of Jasper and Banff National Parks.