(16:25) I applied for the dog master job. That was a competition where ten people applied and one by one they all backed out, except Glen Peers and I. Nobody wanted to move to Banff, they were all scared of Banff because the cost of living and that kind of stuff. So they sent Glen and I to the RCMP academy for two weeks to act as dog bait to see how we would do. We both did well. I got it over Glen just because I had more experience in avalanche control at that time and it was sort of an avalanche (position). Your dad (Keith Everts) was doing the hiring for that. He felt that the avalanche background was really necessary. One of the main reasons Parks has dogs is for the avalanche search (requirements). So your dad basically hired me to be the dog handler.

“So in the ten years before Pacific Rim, you had done a lot of public safety stuff as well in Banff?’

“At that time, it was at ski hills, the avalanche work?”

(17:31) In the winters I mostly did avalanche work In the summers, I mostly did backcountry. Yep, all three ski hills. In my career, I worked eight winters at Norquay, four at Lake Louise and five at Sunshine. Then I worked three years on the highway avalanche program, once we shut down the ski areas. We were the last ones training staff at Norquay and that would have been the early 1990s. Don Waters and I were the last two guys working avalanche control in the ski areas for Parks. Don and I worked eight winters together at Norquay. I worked with your dad a lot on avalanche control too, the years that I was at Sunshine we were both there together.

“Are there any rescue stories that stick out in your memory?”

(19:25) There are so many of them. From the dog handler days, we did over 1000 calls…That was everything from RCMP to Parks public safety, to poaching investigations. We did everything right. As far as straight public safety when I wasn’t the dog handler things stick out in my mind like avalanche rescues. Stanley Glacier was before I was a dog handler. That was a big avalanche up there that took quite a while to (locate the victims). It was pretty dangerous; there was a big snow storm coming down. Your dad was on that one too. We were all up there in total darkness. It was a total blizzard with the snow coming down. A huge avalanche had released and I think there was one body in the avalanche. We were probing around with the dogs and the probes trying to come up with this body. It just got so spooky that at ten or eleven at night, we just got out of there. We came back the next morning and they heli-bombed it and it put another ten feet of debris on top of where it was. Later that day, Alfie’s dog finally pin pointed the body. That sort of sticks out in my mind for some reason.

(20:54) The schools, the public safety schools with Peter Fuhrmann and Willi Pfisterer, they always stick out in your mind. Every summer we had to go on two, sometimes three of those courses for a week. They were always good for camaraderie. Usually there was a crew of ten of you or so with either Fuhrmann or Pfisterer and off we’d go just climbing everyday for a week, followed by a big dinner at Guido’s Spaghetti factory when it was all done.

(21:35) There were lots of little rescues where you were running with Tim or somebody like that and you would grab ropes and run up to Cascade and pick a cling on off!

“I read about the rescue in 1986, the plane crash and the little girl. (Calvert, Kathy and Portman, Dale. Guardians of the Peaks Rocky Mountain Books, 2006.

(21:55) That one sticks out in my mind, yes.. She was six years old, yeah. What happened was Sean Meggs and I were the only two in the office and we got this call, that there were calls of help coming from the canyon below Healy Creek. Hikers coming down from Healy Pass heard a call off towards Mount Bourgeau somewhere, down the canyon of somebody calling for help. So Shawn and I loaded up the rescue gear and the helicopter and flew out. As we were flying over I saw a female, somebody sitting on a big flat rock down by the canyon waving at us. We landed the helicopter in the parking lot and hooked the gear up and I slung in. As I got close to her, I realized that she was only a little kid, you couldn’t tell that from the air. The first thing I asked her was, ‘Where are your parents?” “They are both dead.” She said, “Our plane crashed up the creek.” She had a broken shoulder or something so I first aided her and put her in the rescue bag. She was so small, I thought that she was going to slip out of there. She couldn’t have, but it just looked like she could have. It was weird. Meanwhile I radioed Shawn and said, “Fly up the creek.” She also said, “My sister is okay though. I pulled my sister out of the wreck.” So Shawn flew up the creek while I was bringing her out and he said, “Yeah, there is a plane up here and there is a girl sitting beside the creek.” When I was done that I slung right over to her, with Shawn. We both slung in. She was actually okay, her older sister. She was 12, I think. We flew her out and then we went back. The two bodies of the parents were inside the plane. This little six year old who pulled her sister out from underneath the body of her father and wrapped a sleeping bag around her and then went down the creek for help (was amazing)…Anyway, by then the public safety guys, Tim and those guys, had shown up and they cut them out of the plane and brought them out of there.

(24:07) Another bad one that I remember was on Christmas day. We were just sitting down for Christmas dinner and they called and said, “There is a helicopter missing on a sightseeing flight out of Canmore.” So Tim and I jumped into two different machines and we went looking for this helicopter that was missing. Myself and Lance (Cooper), and Jock Richardson, a Kananaskis public safety guy, found this helicopter. It had crashed up in behind here (Cougar Creek) behind Lady MacDonald. There was a whole family inside that had been sightseeing. The wreckage was just spread down the ridge. It was pretty gross. The first thing I found was a boot with a leg sticking out of it. The next thing that I saw was a torso of somebody completely cut off at the waist. There was just carnage all over down the slope. So that wasn’t a nice start to Christmas.

“How do you deal with that? How do you process it?”

(25:09) You get so used to that stuff. It is sort of like the ambulance drivers I guess. You don’t process it, I don’t think. But it goes somewhere in the back. You think, “That didn’t bother me, I came home and I had Christmas dinner. Finished it off and slept really well.” I didn’t think much of it, but somewhere in the recesses of your mind it is back there eh? I started having sleep disturbances, probably off and on for ten years. It started in my mid forties and a lot of it was to do with getting called out by the cops in the middle of the night too. I got into a really bad sleep pattern. I was just wrecked for a while. So I had to deal with that. I think after talking to other people, it was a really mild form of post traumatic stress disorder from a lot of different things that I had seen. As the Dog Master, you were constantly dealing with bodies and different accidents in the mountains. When I was the Dog Master, I was also working in public safety. The dog was assigned to public safety, so for 17 years I was straight public safety. Anything that was happening anywhere, whether it was a murder with the cops, or mountain rescue with the wardens, or rapes, you were constantly dealing with violent crime and rescues. You don’t think that it is bothering you at the time, but it is in there somewhere and eventually it does come out. It rears its ugly head with some people and for some people it doesn’t. For me it didn’t in that form. I was fine. I didn’t have to go to a psychiatrist or anything like that, but I had to learn how to shut things off. I took a meditation course and dealt with it that way.

“How did the warden service change over the years?”

(27:40) Well, when I came in, the district system had just ended, they had just centralized. There were all these old district wardens who were cowboys who were suddenly thrust into the office and they were expected to all work together as a team. But they weren’t a team! They were all total individuals, backcountry oriented people. Some of them had spent their entire career working their way towards a district that was closer to town. They started at Indianhead and then made it to Windy. Then they finally made it to Castle Junction and then they finally made it to town. Then they brought everybody into town. Some guys were bent out of shape that they had spent all these years working their way towards town and then everybody gets to come to town. They couldn’t understand that.

“Did they resent the new wardens?”

(28:35) No, I don’t think so. I never got that feeling. They were good guys they were just a little confused as to what to do next. For a couple of years, when I first came it was very unorganized. Nobody really knew what to do next. Like, “What should I do today?” You know? They were used to looking after their district. They knew what they had to do in that job. Then they were thrust into town and all of a sudden they were a team. Nobody assigned any distinct responsibilities to anybody, so they were all, “What are we going to do today?”

(29:15) Bert Pittaway was the Chief and then there was a couple of acting Chiefs just among the area managers, but then Andy Anderson came in. He was really the first guy to start organizing everything. Then things started to run a lot better. They had this thing where you worked two weeks backcountry and then two weeks front country.

Wanda, Scott’s wife joined the interview for a few minutes.

“Did you enjoy the warden life?”

(30:41) Wanda. Oh yeah! Before we had kids we had lots of trips in the backcountry. I was from Montreal and was never exposed to anything like this. It was a big learning curve. I remember our first trip and seeing all those spikes for the grizzlies on the cabin doors, saying “What is this?”

(31:12) Scott – Dormer was our first trip.

(31:15) Wanda – Yeah, coming out in a blizzard riding Dusty Doogans…

(31:48) Wanda – I mean it was tough you know when we had kids because Scott was away all the time. That was hard.

(31:59) Scott – Especially when I was training the dogs because the kids were really small then. Two in diapers.

(32:05) Wanda – Well, three under five.

(32:06) Scott – The first dog I trained I was gone almost six months. I was just home one day a week for six months.

(32:14) Wanda – That was hard, but luckily my parents had moved to Banff at that time.

“Did you worry about Scott when he was out on calls?”

(32:31) Wanda – Oh sure. Of course you do, of course you do. But I don’t think you really have any idea of really what it involves. You know I have never done anything like that myself, so you really don’t know the real danger…When he used to go out at night you’d sleep but then you are always listening for the door to open again. Did you tell her, how I was always the one answering the phone?

(33:24) Scott – Yeah, the phone was on Wanda’s side of the bed, so she would answer the phone.

(33:28) Wanda – He would never.

(33:29) Scott – I would get up again and by the time I got to the truck, I didn’t know where I was going half the time.

(33:36) Wanda – You didn’t know where you were going when you got off the phone. I was the one who told you everything right?

Wanda left the interview.

“So with Andy then it (the Banff warden service) got a lot more organized?”

(34:00) Scott – Andy would assign you a responsibility like for example, one typical summer was the two weeks that I was in town I was in charge of all the court stuff.) Then the two weeks after that I was in the backcountry. I was assigned to the Egypt Lake district. Then you had a seasonal working underneath you. Mike Gibeau was working underneath me in 1978 and then Dan Vedova in 1979 at Egypt Lake.

(34:49) When I was in Lake Louise, Jim Murphy and I were teamed up together in front country and we worked public safety. Then in my two weeks backcountry I was in Cyclone. It was a fun system for the wardens themselves. We all complained that things weren’t getting done in the backcountry because nobody had as much responsibility for a district. But we did that I’d say – we must have gone six or seven years on that system. It worked pretty well I thought. Yeah, everybody got a huge range of experience, so it was a really good system. I always thought that Andy was pretty on the ball as a Chief Warden. He was the right guy at the right time to bring things together there. While I was a dog handler they switched it up again, to either you were assigned to front country or you were assigned to backcountry. So after I was done the dog handler job, I spent the last five years of my career fulltime in the backcountry. Then I worked another two years on a contract on a grizzly bear project in the backcountry, after I retired…I had seven summers in a row in the backcountry before I was completely done with it.

“What made you want to get into the dog handling?”

(36:38) I remember when I was a kid, well a teenager I guess, Alfie Burstrom got his dog in Jasper. I saw the picture of Alfie in the newspaper with the dog in the Jasper Booster. It seemed sort of like the coolest job in the world, plus I have always had dogs as pets. So I thought it would be a great job. Also we were at Pacific Rim and I knew it wasn’t really the place I wanted to raise the family…I probably could have been a lifer at Pacific Rim, but it was pretty harsh in the winter for Wanda especially. Pouring rain with little kids, you can’t go out. I figured it was a good opportunity to apply for that job. Actually your dad talked me into it. I came back from a course and I jumped in (the truck) with your dad. Wanda stayed with the Murphy’s and I jumped in with your dad and we went up to Jasper on a course for two weeks. On the way up your dad told me that Earl is retiring and that I should apply for the job. So your dad was the main influence in me becoming the Dog Master. Your dad was like assistant Chief by that time I think, under (Gaby) Fortin, he was the Chief. I came back in February of 1983 and jumped right into the avalanche stuff again. I hadn’t skied for the three years that I was at the Rim.

(38:28) Yeah, my last one, Data. Was my favorite dog. By far the best dog of the three and the nicest personality too. He was the hardest worker, the most reliable and the most capable. The dog just made you look good, no matter what you did. He was one of those dogs. My second dog Smokey, was a super great tracking dog. I caught over 25 guys for the RCMP on tracks with him. But he was a bonehead. He would turn on me about once every six months and we had to have it out. Then I had to show him who was boss. He was a great working dog, but hard to handle. My first dog was a female and she had already been trained as a bomb dog for the Toronto airport and I got her as a four year old. She was pretty capable, but you never knew if she was going to give you 100% or 60% on any given day when you got called out. Smokey my second dog would always give you 100%, but he didn’t always make you look great because on avalanche searches you would be yelling at him to get him back and he would be ignoring you because he is a very independent dog. Whereas with Data you would just snap your fingers and the dog would do what you wanted it to. Plus, he was a super capable tracking and searching dog. He had a beautiful disposition, yet he had all the aggression you would ever need if you had to actually bite somebody, which I never had to do. But just knowing it was there was comforting when you were tracking some guy through the woods in the middle of the night. Data was just a super great dog, he made you look good everywhere you went, drug searching or whatever he did he gave 150%. He really responded to your voice commands. During avalanche searching the dog would just be searching a zig zag pattern up the hill, he’d just be looking back at you and you would point like this and he would go that way and you would point like that and he would go that way. He made you look great, whereas Smokey you would be yelling “BACK! BACK! BACK!” You stupid son of a bitch!