These are measures of success, not goals.  Seems to me that it would end up in tourist traps like golfing, ski hills, shopping, bar hopping, and dining.  The only way you could manage all these activities while maintaining ecological integrity would be to jam them all in one place or put up high fences.  So much for the Mission “to promote the understanding, appreciation and respect for natural ecosystems”.

Starting in the mid-1970’s and through to the turn of the century there was a conservation and biodiversity awakening in Canada.  Authors like Rachael Carson, Stan Rowe and David Schindler were ringing the bell.  Nitrification loading and phosphorous, acid rain, bio accumulation and the loss of predators at the top of the food chain and loss of biodiversity, the natural role of fire, people management in parks.  These were all issues that impacted National Parks but more importantly they were large issues that National Parks could profile in the natural region through their regular programs.  To many Parks Canada employees (Park Wardens, Park Naturalists; Park Superintendents and many other staff in the Parks and the Regional Offices) this was a great opportunity.  It was an opportunity to make a real difference on a much larger scale.

The Park Warden Service was well positioned to make contributions on a much larger scale.  There was a competent work force, a certain iconic or image profile that these were the people on the ground, and they were working on important conservation issues.  Further, they were operating without the constraints of resource allocations such as animal/unit month, board feet or lumber/hectare.

Somewhere around 1990 a major polling firm conducted a survey on public opinion and the environment.  One of the questions the poll asked, “Who do you trust on information about resource management in National Parks?”, 
The choices were:
the Minister of National Parks
Senior Managers in National Parks
Park Wardens

Poll results showed that the public chose Park Wardens as #1 and Academics as #2 – the other groups did not fare well.  A sub-group analysis rated Park Wardens and Academics higher because they actually did things on the ground and they had a lot of integrity.

Projects initiated by the Warden Service in Canada to deal with issues on a Regional or National Scale:

The following are examples of research/development initiated by the Warden Service across Canada.  National Parks as a showplace and the Warden Service because of the respect and icon image were able to develop the programs.  This is by no means a complete list of innovative and meaningful advances in conservation and the public service. This list is 10 years old and there are many more recent examples:
Poaching case investigations using DNA and hair composition, Gros Morne National Park
Establishment of marine protective areas, Terra Nova National Park (pilot project)
Acid rain monitoring and public awareness, Kejimkujik National Park
Changing a fisherman’s culture to an appreciation of nature and quality of experience, LaMaurice National Park
Re-introduction of Peregrine Falcon to Eastern Canada, Fundy National Park
Establishment of innovative regulations regarding whale watching, Saquenay, St. Lawrence Marine Park
Rare and endangered species – Mississauga Rattle Snake, Georgian Bay Islands National Park
Caribou and people management techniques, Pukaskwa National Park
Managing recreational impacts in fragile environments, St. Lawrence Islands National Parks
Native grassland and associated species, Black-footed Ferret, Bison, Grasslands National Park
Managing regional landscapes – Model Forest, Prince Albert National Park
Restoration of aquatic ecosystems, Prince Albert National Park (major issue in natural region)
Wildlife management techniques – Bison, Beaver rehabilitation, Elk Island National Park
Managing ungulates in montane habitat, changing driver behavior in ungulate zones, Jasper National Park
Managing waste recycling in a recreational area research, Jasper National Park (Kathy Calvert, a Park Warden in Jasper National Park’s research has been utilized in Western Canada and USA)
Prescribed Fire Program, Banff National Park
Fire smart program, Waterton, Banff, Yoho, Jasper National Parks as well as USA
White Pine recovery, Waterton, Banff, Jasper National Parks
Managing of bear attractants, bear-proof garbage containers; people management in Bear Country, Banff, Kootenay, Yoho National Parks
Understanding the ecological role of fire, all National Parks in Western Canada
Research facilities and programs established in Gros Morne National Park (Bonne Bay, Nfld.), Jasper National Park (Palisades), Banff, Waterton (Mastakis)

This list is only a partial list of initiatives carried out by the Warden Service in Canada.

When I went to Jasper, I read that one of the issues in the Yellowhead region was the disposal of waste. Kathy Calvert, a Warden in Jasper, had done an excellent master’s degree on how to manage solid waste in a protected area/recreation area, which we implemented, and I believe is still running today. I received calls from all over North America for a copy of the plan and it was adopted by many other agencies. Those are the kind of things that were important contributions to the Natural environment and had a large impact everywhere.

MH: Are there any legendary characters or stories associated with the Warden Service that you can share? 5340:
PG: I could tell you about some legends or some stories about the Warden Service, but no one would believe them.  What goes on in the backcountry stays in the backcountry.  Well, I’ll tell you one!  Back in the District days there was a Warden who spent a long winter at Crean Lake in Prince Albert National Park.  His wife went out at Christmas to visit her mother in Regina and never returned, but she did leave behind a little box with a number of different colors of food coloring.  The District Warden decided to do a little experiment on Snowshoe Hare distribution and home range.  He sat up four bait stations about 200 yards apart along the trail.  He would go out each day with his live traps and bring the rabbits back to the cabin, where he would dip them in food coloring, dry them off and take them back to the original station.  He had red – blue – green and yellow.  He had enough coloring to mark about 60 rabbits.  On about April the Chief Warden radioed ahead that he was coming out on Monday to do the annual inventory and inspection.  About noon the Chief walked into the Station, there had been a fresh snowfall overnight and the Chief was kind of puffed out!!  “I think I just spotted a red rabbit — why does your shirt have all those blue marks?  Is there something kooky going on here?  Where is your wife?”

MH: Is there anyone from the Service that stands out in your mind? 5540:
PG: There were so many brilliant people there. I think if some of those guys had they not been Park Wardens, they would have been big CEO’s in big corporations.

MH: Is there anything about the Warden Service, as you knew it, that you would like future generations to know?
PG: They would not believe that a Park Warden would head out for a 10-day or a 15-day trip on horseback, or with a canoe, hiking, or dog-sled — without a cell phone.
If I had a choice of whether to go out with a dog team carrying another day of dog food or the a big heavy radio, I would always take the extra day of dog food because I always knew I would find someone, somewhere to give me something to eat and I knew my dogs would always bring me home

MH: What made the Warden Service such a unique organization? 5900:
PG: It is all about the people; people with respect and integrity; people who have a positive attitude about serving the public; maintaining an image. Dealing with that force of people across the country was what made it unique. When you get people, who are motivated at that level, you get people thinking a little outside the box which fits well into the Warden Service. Many organizations would not appreciate that initiative in their ranks because they think that everyone should act together, almost like a religious cult. We had people that were very bright and very brilliant, they took us to another level, a little off the fringe and likely would never have made it in the big corporations. We really appreciated what they did, even though some of the senior managers probably stayed up at night wondering if that fire they lit in Banff might come up over the top of the hill. They were a little nervous. The Chief Park Wardens, supported education and sending people back to university to do their Masters, etc. I went back to university for a year when I was 40. My leave was not approved but Dave Dalman came along, and he just said, “Of course it’s approved”. He was my boss at the time, and he was a great guy to work with. He was thinking outside of the box and that’s why I think you should interview him.

MH: Do you have any lasting memories as a Warden? 1:06:10
PG: National Park Wardens and Naturalists and Superintendents across Canada
Favourite Parks – where we happened to be at the time
Favourite patrol cabin:  Park Harbour cabin, Terra Nova National Park; Tibiska Lake cabin, Prince Albert National Park; Little Heaven cabin, Jasper National Park

There are lots of beautiful cabins, but you wouldn’t say there was a number one until you have been to Park Harbour. It is on the most easterly tip of Canada and there’s a little notch you go in with the boat and there is a beautiful cabin with running water. I could live there the rest of my life.
These cabins, Banff and Jasper in particular, are in the most beautiful spots. The guys put a lot of thought into this.

MH: Do you ever miss being a Warden? 1:08
PG: No, the guys stop by or phone occasionally and say, “What would you do in this situation”. I have been retired for 15 plus years, so the calls are getting less. The few people who are around, I ask them what they are doing, and they say they’re doing this and that and their title, which I do not recognize. One guy said he was the Manager of Occasions and Engagements etc.; he was embarrassed to tell me his title. I would last about two days if I went back to work.

MH: Do you have any photos of yourself as a warden that you would like to donate? Artifacts? 01:09:
PG: The dog team one for sure and I will look to see if I have any others.

MH: What year did you retire? 4648:
PG: May 2003

MH: What do you enjoy doing in retirement? 1:10:20:
Galena Creek Ranch (owner) – It is a heritage ranch that’s been in the family for years. We bought the ranch from our family 40 years ago, so most of the time I was a Warden, we had a hired hand running it. We raise hay and about 25 cows.
Executive and Area Rep – Kootenay/Columbia Electoral Riding – Citizen Assembly for Electoral Reform in BC 2004-2005 – I was one of 150 people from across BC appointed to work for two years on electoral reform in British Columbia. It went to a referendum and got 58.2% of the vote; we needed 60%…so it didn’t go through.
Director – East Kootenay Conservation Program – was designed in 2000 while I was still working. Six of us were involved. It is still going and is funded partly by tax revenue and by the province. After I retired, (maybe only a month) I was approached by Nancy Wilkin (Assistant Deputy Minister) and asked if I could do this same program for the Columbia Wetlands. Bob Jamieson and I were hired by the Provincial government to set it up and is still operating with a budget of about one million dollars, Dr. Suzanne Bayley as Chairperson (Dr. Bayley also worked on the Bow Valley Study).
Director – Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partnership.
Fishing camp in Skeena District – we, and a few others, have property on an Island near Prince Rupert off the mouth of the Skeena where we have a fishing camp. A big old run-down warden patrol cabin with eight beds
Grandfather (5 Grandkids in Saskatchewan and Prince Rupert), father, husband.
Down Home Mountain Bluegrass band – our latest CD is a million-dollar seller — we have a million copies, and they are stored in the cellar.

MH: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you think I should know about the Warden Service? 1:19:39:
PG: At one time, the Warden Service was a very strong organization. There came a time when it was obvious to the people in the field that we had a Director General in Ottawa who gave us very clear direction, however, we would get different direction from the Regional Director in Calgary. We developed a network of people, a communications network using new technology making it possible to communicate right across the system. For example, the management of fish populations; Charlie Pacas in Banff was heading up this kind of thing. We had this amazing network, and it didn’t take a lot of work, it meant we were sharing information across the system. The Director General in Ottawa, Doug Stewart, brought a few of the Chief Wardens aside and said, “You know, this is really good to set up these networks and maybe we can get away from having all these meetings. Keep this up, it’s really good stuff.” About a month later, we all went to Winnipeg for a National Chief Park Wardens meeting and one of the things we were going to talk about was how to strengthen these networks, so everybody was on side. The Director, Gaby Fortin from Calgary, walked into the meeting and said,” We’re cancelling all these networks.” Our Director from Ottawa was not there but this was one of the purposes of the meeting. I think the Director General from Western Canada, found out about the fact that we were doing something on a National scale, didn’t like it so sent Gaby to Winnipeg to this meeting, to put an end to it. Perry Jacobson stood up and said, “What are you going to do if we don’t have coordination across the system, are you just going to react to everything? Are you going to have proactive programs to hire good staff, what are you going to do?”. Mr. Fortin responded, “No, no more networks and that’s it”, then he didn’t even stay for dinner, he took off. We thought at the time, this is the message from the Region. It was just like the old days with the military Wardens doing what they were told. The Chief Wardens all decided to go back and continue doing what we were doing, a little quieter, but continue. This was when the fractures started in the organization that were totally unnecessary. We could have worked this out, but the Director in Calgary seemed to have some insecurity problems or whatever, there were things we could have worked out. The other thing that the Director from Ottawa had a major impact on was we were very much a science organization, with scientists from all over the country who were interested in National Parks and natural areas. One of the reasons Wardens (i.e. Cliff White had mentioned the freedom they had) felt so much freedom was that we didn’t have quotas in National Parks like the Provincial sites. That freedom didn’t go over very well with some of the Senior Managers.

Over those decades, we had designed programs across the country with incredible research, the Nasa project in Prince Albert and hazard mapping in Western Canada. People were attracted to work in the National Parks. We became a science-based organization, and it was science that helped inform management decisions. I do not know when it occurred, we started noticing, the budget decreasing. Every time we had some environmental issue that we took a stand on (i.e. harlequin ducks and the rafting companies), we seemed to lose $100,000 from our budget.

There was a drift away from supporting science. Then we went to a state where science seemed to disappear. It was not even on the agenda. In our own way, we kept trying to work the science in however it seemed like people in the organization were against science, and they all became the heroes. They were the people out running around seemingly doing the Director General’s work and putting down people in various parks who were supporting the science program. We moved from a very science-based program to a neutral program and if you brought up science at a meeting, you might not be treated nicely.

I don’t know how much science is involved in Parks Canada, it went from all the leading scientists across Western Canada involved with National Parks to now, I don’t know of any. Parks is not really a science-based organization as far as I can see. There does not appear to be any evidence of it. Those of us who supported science programs feel we have lost it and it will be hard to regain that confidence from the scientists to come and work in National Parks.

1:30:58: One other thing I would like to bring up, Parks Canada moved from being a part of a government department reporting directly to the Minister to being an Agency, the Parks Canada Agency. To me, that was a counterproductive move because I always thought National Parks should be political. Every park that I worked in, the first thing I would do was to contact the local MLA or MP. It didn’t matter what party he belonged to, I would go in and provide him/her with information on what programs we were working on in the National Park. I felt it was very much a political organization that we were celebrating in National Parks; once we became an Agency that changed. I asked our local MP here if anybody from Parks Canada had contacted him and he said, “No, nobody from the Senior Management has contacted me.” The organization is not a political organization anymore. If you are into ecological integrity and there’s a dual mandate, it may be good to have a Parks Canada Agency to separate it from political whims, but it is a double-edged sword. It seems to me when you lose your political base, you don’t celebrate often. That is a side issue from the Warden Service but I’m not sure it was a good idea to go to a Parks Canada Agency.

When I was an Acting Superintendent in Jasper, I asked our Director General, “How are we going to benefit from being an Agency? Is something going to change in Jasper National Park when we become an Agency?”
She said, “No, nothing will change in Jasper”.
I asked, “Are we going to become more efficient?”.
She said, “No, it’s not about efficiency.”
I said, “There’s only the Park, we’re not managing anything in Calgary, it (Calgary office) is only there because of the National Park, so what is going to improve in Calgary?”
She said, “Well you don’t have to worry about that in Jasper.”
So, I said, “While you’re doing all this, nothing changes in the field?”
It was the idea of spending a whole bunch of energy and getting away from managing the park.

MH: Anyone else to interview?
PG: Dave Dalman – He will give you perspective because he had to supervise Wardens and he had the unfortunate task at one point in his career, of supervising me ☺ (Dave has been added to the list).
Brian MacDonald (Brian has been invited to participate).
Doug Burles (Doug has been interviewed I Phase 11)
Jean Fau – he is a good person, quite knowledgeable. (John is on the list)

There are a many people in the East – Peter Deering, was a Warden in Elk Island. He established the restoration of bison – Elk Island National Park led the nation in re-establishing bison herds across the country. Peter Deering and Wes Olson were a part of the Bison recovery team working across the country. Wes was a key person across the continent documenting genetics and health of bison. (Wes was interviewed in Phase 10) (Peter is on the list).

When I think of Wardens and all the things they have done across the country, they were leaders in so many ways.

MH: Any final comments?
PG: Parks Canada was not only able to attract quality people into the Warden Service, we were able to attract quality support staff: Irene Howell, Admin Assistant (boss of everything) in Gros Morne; Brian MacDonald, Warden Service Officer Prairie Region; Sherrie Baird, Fire Administration PANP; Kelly Reid, Admin Manager Warden Service, Jasper; Gloria Hendry, Admin Manager Warden Service LLYK; Helen Purvis, GIS Manager Jasper;. The Communications team: Janet Brau (Jasper); Mary Dalman (Banff) and Jenny Klafki (LLYK).

The work of the Warden Service would not have been possible without the direction and support of the Regional Offices and PHQ staff. Dick Kendall, Gary Corbet in Halifax; Jean Lafrance and Luc Foisie in Quebec; Luc Charron in Ontario; Don McMillan and Richard Leonard in Prairie Region; Doug Stewart in Western Region, Charlie Zinkan, Mountain Parks Director.

Interviewer: Monique Hunkeler
Monique Hunkeler worked with Parks Canada as Secretary to Banff National Park Finance Manager. She moved to Dispatcher for the Banff Park Warden Service and later worked within Banff National Park and Town of Banff’s IT departments. She is experienced with the interviewing, transcription and archiving process for the Park Warden Service Alumni Society oral history project.