(1:05:30) It is really difficult in a place like that not to have any trained people…When you’ve worked in a park where the people are experienced, it doesn’t make any difference whether it’s your works people or your Superintendent or you got some wardens, or you got finance people that understand what they are doing (things are much smoother). But in a place like that you just don’t have any trained people. You are really scratching, and you can sure get into a jam very easy when you got all these people and they don’t have any concept at all of what we are trying to do because in that whole country there, there was nobody that had even visited a national park! You are dealing with the Ministry of Natural Resources which is Ontario and that land had belonged to them and…Parks had made an agreement to make a national park out of it…I found good people and good people to deal with, but they said to me every time I was at a meeting with them or anything, “We don’t know what the hell you guys are doing here…You guys don’t know anything about doing anything!” Their experience was what had been done there before and what was going on at Point Pelee and Georgian Bay and all those little places are just little postage stamps they are not real parks. So you don’t have any credibility. That’s what you are working with. You are just a nobody. You have no experience around you, and you can’t change those people overnight. It was quite an experience…Of course not having any trained financial people and even our stores system we didn’t have anybody there that had any background or experience. You are just doing crisis management all the time, a bit like running a day care operation.
(1:08:09) I went from there to Pacific Rim, in October 1977. That again was an experience because Pacific Rim when I went there, they were still pretty slow. They didn’t have anything going much there in the wintertime. They were kind of into the resource inventory stuff and whatnot. In a year or two that changed and we were building on the West Coast Trail and putting in all that construction…and we had a pretty good crew in down there. The West Coast Trail got very, very busy, even before we had it completed. There are 110 structures on the West Coast Trail in 44/46 miles. When I say 110 structures there is about seven, maybe eight miles of boardwalk. I think there was 10 or 11 cable cars, a lot of ladders and a lot of hazards there and a lot of mud because they get 142 inches of rain which is quite a bit, that’s almost 12 feet. So it is quite a mud hole to walk in and people got very tired. In my time we had as many as 100 people a day leaving Bamfield that’s the north end and we had 100 people a day leaving the south end at Renfrew during the peak season. We didn’t have any act or regulations in all the time I was there (and) I was there 13 years…From the time they started that park until they gazetted it was 31 years. I think that must be a record. But anyway it is very, very difficult to try and manage all those people without any act and regulations. We…operated a campground at Long Beach there and the campground was into overflow…from Easter time and then it would drop off again, but by the first of June when the American kids were out of school and everything we were into overflow…until the big rains came in the fall…sometime after Labor Day or at Thanksgiving…When you have a deal to run a campground and you charge a fee, but you don’t have any authority to manage or run it, it’s quite a deal. It gets very frustrating. Of course there isn’t any control…for anything. The young wardens and especially the ones who came there and had worked…around Banff or…Waterton and places (like that) they couldn’t hack it because people do so many crazy things. Like they are cutting wood, picking mushrooms, gathering artifacts, lots of open fires and dogs. People are doing their own thing and you don’t have any authority to stop them or prevent it. You can’t go and fight with them, you just got to talk to them and negotiate the best you can. It is very difficult for young people who are kind of impatient…I had some good guys and sometimes they’d say, “This bloody place is right out of control! What are we going to do about it?” We never had half enough help in the summertime. Like the West Coast trail with all those people down there, I only had two seasonal wardens on the trail and they weren’t that experienced and of course it’s 200 miles by road from Ucluelet to Port Renfrew and it is a long way to Bamfield when you have to go on bumpy boats and through wind storms. Of course when they have days off and stuff…a lot of times you don’t have anybody.
(1:13:38) We didn’t have any good communication for years either. I was there five years probably before we had a radio system that worked half decently. I give Jim Masyk credit for that…When we got going there at Pacific Rim we made a deal with Washington (state) at one of those military establishments to put a repeater in there, instead of trying to shoot across the country. When we moved over across to Port San Juan and over to the American side of the country we were shooting across the water and we had a radio system (that really worked). But it took us years to get that. You have a hard time convincing people that you need something like that. Jim was the third Superintendent that I had there and he was a pretty smart guy. He is kind of stubborn like I am and we got a system that worked. Before that I used to have to go through the lighthouses. There are three lighthouses and we had a lot of accidents on the West Coast trail. We used to do 60 or 70 medical evacuations a season out of there and we would have a few drownings…lots of injuries from people falling down and (getting) hypothermia and that sort of thing. Not too many deaths but the odd one…We didn’t have any money for helicopters and we were always bumming (off) the coast guard, bumming somebody for a ride. The boys that were down there would find these guys and later somebody would stop at a lighthouse and tell you there is somebody at such and such a creek…with a broken ankle or somebody down there that is sick and has got hypothermia… So the boys would go in there and find them and pick them out of there with a rubber boat and haul them (out)…It was quite a tedious thing when you don’t have communication. But the boys did well. By time I left there we had a real good thing going there (with the Coast Guard), but because it’s such a big country…you work with five different police detachments, Tofino (the north end of Long Beach), Ucluelet (the south end of Long Beach), Barkley Sound (Broken Group Islands). There are 100 islands in Barkley Sound that is kind of policed by a coast guard, but also out of Port Alberni…and then Port Renfrew. They have a detachment down there, but they don’t have a coast guard. Victoria has a coast guard. The coast guard business was Tofino, Bamfield and Victoria. I was dealing with three coast guard outfits, plus all these different police forces. But after I had been there ten years we were working pretty good. They used to phone me, even when there was a drowning outside the park. They would phone me and tell me about something that happened and ask if we could help them.
(1:19:13) I’ve been involved in so many drownings I can’t even remember them, way over 20. I had four in the short time I was at Pukaskwa. We had quite a few at Jasper too from the Athabasca River. People seem to want to drown themselves…Like these guys in this country that want to climb a mountain with a snowmobile. They are kind of slow learners!
(1:19:48) Of course Barkley Sound was one of those places with the 100 islands. I had a seasonal warden there, but I had days when I didn’t have anybody there. We had a lot of campers, a lot of boats and a lot of things going on there even if we didn’t have any act or regulations. We had about five or six campsites in there. It was quite a zoo. Then of course, Long Beach…It wasn’t unusual for the Superintendent to come banging in the morning and say “When the hell are you going to move all those campers out there?” I’d say “Well, I can’t do it right away.” He said, “Well, where is all your help?” I’d get out my schedule and I would say “Well there is two guys down on the West Coast Trail, two guys on days off, one guy’s in Barkley Sound and there is somebody coming to work tonight…But you and I are here, maybe we can go?” That shut him up usually! That’s the way it was. You just had that overflow all the time of people camping all over the place there because it is that kind of a place…It was like Jasper was during the hippy days and Vietnam war, those guys used to tell us that the campsites and the campgrounds are for the rich people…That’s why it really frustrates those young guys (the young wardens) you know, when they aren’t used to that crap. There are so many people there, even the Indian people they pick mushrooms and do this that and the other thing. Those young guys would get all upset about it. But you can’t change them. You got to just deal with them and educate them and hope that someday they’ll come on your side. If you go there and expect to change those people all you’re going to get is a fight. That’s what they did at Kouchibouguac (National Park) in New Brunswick. A new park. When I was in Ontario that was a new a place down there and I was there to see it one time and those people down there weren’t changeable. The government and the Parks were partly to blame for that too because they pushed…and a park is not instant pudding. It takes a long time to get people thinking like we want them to think. You just don’t do it overnight. I used to tell my guys that all the time you know. “This isn’t instant pudding…If we can get the land and get the land under some kind of control and we can get some boundaries established your and my generation, the next generation will come on and make a park out of it.” You can’t do any different. Even now that I have been retired 20 years, I certainly haven’t changed my mind on that thought. You are so much better just to sit down with those people because you have a lot of theft, a lot of vandalism, you have a lot of those people that just have that attitude and they didn’t…want us there. New parks are like that. When I was at Marathon (Pukaskwa) there, they said “We don’t need you guys here to tell us how to manage this land.” They told us that at Long Beach (too)…Now some of them were very nice, but you always got these obstinate people…