(0:28:00) Up in there in that country in Willow Creek…I had three different fires. The interesting one to me was the first one… I didn’t even know that I had a fire. It was north of where I was. Alberta Forest Service knew I had fire. They weren’t sure whether it was in the province or in the park. We had what was known as a Cooperative Fire Agreement. A guy flew in there one day with a helicopter, two guys in the helicopter, a ranger and a pilot. They picked me up and said to me, “You got a fire going up here. We are going to have a look at it.” So we had a look at it. It wasn’t very big, but it was pretty hot. I said to him, “Well, we’ll fix this. I’ll go and get some of my trail crew and just move them in there when we got this helicopter.” And we did this. I moved three or four men in and packed water with the horses to cool it down, using some empty five gallon gas cans.
(0:29:36) That north boundary of Jasper is nice country. When I was there, there was a lot of wildlife. We had along with those horses, a hundred or so elk living there. We had some sheep ranges there. We had some goat ranges. There was a nice bunch of goats, about 30 that moved back and forth from a winter range to a summer range. I used to see them and there was quite a bear population, a grizzly population, also caribou. We had some interesting times with the bears.
(0:30:20) After we built those first cabins, well there were old cabins in there because that is an old established place, but we replaced some and built some. But we got a bad bear in there. I think in 1962/63… a grizzly…In November he moved in. He got into about five of those different cabins. Climbed in through the window and broke everything. Tore the place apart. He even tore up the floor in one of those cabins. There was a young guy that was in there that was a warden. He’d been away for a week or ten days. He was married and had a couple of kids in town. He’d been out there for a while. Anyway when he came back this damn bear was living in his cabin on the Blue Creek district. The poor guy didn’t have any experience dealing with stuff like that. He was pretty spooked about it all. He couldn’t really handle it…I got him a new window from town…I went down with a packhorse and got this window and brought it up to him. I had to take this window 20 miles for him! He didn’t even want to stay there…Well anyway, the bear hibernated that winter and the next spring he was still around there. This guy that was there he left. He didn’t like living there with that damn bear. That bear was a problem. Of course I was busy with the crews I had and stuff…the closest this bear came to me was 16 and 18 miles. Anyway I eventually had to go up in there, I think about June or July I got up there and I was a little luckier than the bear…He wasn’t a nice bear to deal with, but he is history now.
(0:33:00) I was there (in the Willow Creek district) until March of 1964, up in that country. I enjoyed that country and I enjoyed the work because it was a place where I could ride a lot and there was lots of wildlife in those days. There was the odd party that went through and there were quite a few hikers in the country in those days…
(0:33:46) Maligne Lake, that district became vacant and again Mickey said, “Well, you’ve got to go down there and work with that outfit now”…I was at Maligne Lake eight years and in the years that I was there they built a highway in there. They built five miles of road along Medicine Lake…It is 30 miles from town up to Maligne. What they used to do was go up to Medicine Lake and then go across the lake in a boat when there was enough water…Medicine Lake is a big long lake. It is five and a half miles long when it is full of water. But it is a glacial lake with a hole in the bottom. The water used to fluctuate 40/50 feet because the lake was created by a big land slide. It had a very porous bottom. Anyway…they had a big raft and they took a lot of stuff up to Medicine Lake and hauled it into Maligne over the years. Then they built a little bit of a road in the bottom of the lake that they could drive on with a four wheel vehicle once they got those. When I went there they had put this first five miles of road around Medicine Lake and they had a bit of a bulldozed road to Maligne. Then in my time there they built the rest of the highway. There was a period of three, four, five years building that road because it was what about 16 miles long…They put in two parking lots, big ones. They had to build three bridges, three big cement bridges across the Maligne River and around. So, I was very involved with the construction. In those days in late 1950s and 1960s it was totally different then it is now. The department of public works had a hell of a lot of influence. They were kind of running the park in those days. A lot of people don’t want to admit it, but they had a pretty free hand. There weren’t any environmental people… people running around that were controlling the bulldozers and the surveyors and the crazy people and what they were doing. There was a real era at that time that they were going to build roads at every place. I had a Superintendent by the name of Bruce Mitchell who the Banff people know well because he had worked there. Bruce was a tough guy and a pretty worldly guy. He really supported me and my decisions up there. I always respected old Bruce Mitchell because when you are into a mess like that and I had contractors building highways plus a big bridge crew in there building those three bridges and two concessions and department of public works survey crew…. there was a lot going on. Of course because that was a wilderness area, (Maligne Lake was an isolated wilderness area at 5500 feet) there was quite a grizzly bear population there, undisturbed until they brought in all that construction. When you get a construction camp and all those people working around there in the daytime, plus two boat concessions…there is a lot of stuff happening…You are trying to change the lives of quite a few grizzly bears. So over the years that I was there I had more than my share of grizzly bear trouble.
(0:38:30) As Cathy had said that concessioner had four or five grizzlies around his kitchen one night and that wasn’t unusual to have bears because garbage (management) was very primitive in the park in those days. Even in the town sites…When they built those towns and built those campgrounds and facilities…the last thing they ever did was get an organized, managed garbage system and it was a mistake. But that was not ever a priority. It wasn’t a priority (even) when I was at Pacific Rim in the 1970s.
(0:39:16) In 1965, in late August I had a young guy that was a staff at one of the concessions there, it was a Brewster concession…This young guy and girl had walked into this damn dump. I surmise that probably she or he, one of them thought that they would like to see a grizzly bear and they did. This guy was mauled very, very badly. She wasn’t. She claimed she fainted and they ran out of there and the bear caught him, nailed him…I was at Maligne Tours Camp and it was raining and cold. It was the last two or three days of August. When I got this message it was dark, probably seven or eight o’clock at night…I had an old Fargo truck and…I didn’t have any warden to help. And I said to this guy that was there who managed this Maligne Tours camp…by the name of Stan Kitchen; he was a guide and outfitter for most of his life. I said, “Stan you better come with me because I got a phone call from the other place that they couldn’t find this Fred. They didn’t know where he was and they thought something had happened to him with a bear. They didn’t have any information…I went up there in the dark with a flashlight and Stan Kitchen was driving my pickup around the little bit of space that was there and shining the lights around. I didn’t find the bear, but I found the guy and he was in bad shape. I found people that were dead that weren’t hurt as bad as he was…He’d stayed conscious. He told me, “I was trying to not pass out because I was hoping that you would come and find me.” He didn’t know anyone else that would be able to find him up there in the jungle in the night. Anyway I was able to go and get a stretcher and pick him up and we came down to Maligne Tours Camp, bandaged him up as best we could. There was a dentist there because they had overnight accommodation in there at that time. The dentist helped me prepare him to be transported. There were about 60 people between the two concessions that stayed there overnight. About 30 at Brewsters and about 30 at Maligne Tours, plus all the staff. We bandaged this guy up…and loaded him up into the back of an emergency door in a bus and I sent him off to Jasper. I phoned Mickey and I said, “Do you think that you can send me up some kind of a fast car to meet him on the road…I’ve got this mess here. A bear has mauled this guy and I am sending him out of here, but it would be better if you had somebody come up and meet him because they are not going to make much time here on this rough road with that bus.”…A few months later I was talking to him (Mickey) and we were involved in this thing for quite a few years, I said to him, “I often wondered when I phoned you if I was excited.” He said, “God, no you were as calm as can be. I was amazed!” Anyway Bill Ruddy, owner of Maligne Tours came up with his station wagon. He knew the road and could come fast and we got this guy out of there. Then I hunted around there and found this girl. She was in Brewster chalet. In the evening they used to serve coffee and cocoa, cookies and everything to these guests. She got in the middle of these 30 guests probably and 20 staff and it was just a horror show there! Her telling about this bear chewing this guy up and everything. So I grabbed her and got a hold of one of the boys that was working there and I said, “Let’s get a damn car and take this girl to the hospital and get her out of here. We can’t handle her here and she needs somebody to put her to bed.” I couldn’t do that there. I didn’t have anybody to do that. So I took her to town and to the doctor… He thought I might have another one that had been chewed up. The doctor was kind of upset because I brought her in here and he said, “Why did you bring her in here? I don’t need her!” I said, “Well you got her!” But anyway I had a couple of incidences where I took people (into the Jasper hospital)… in not too good of shape.