Lynn – We were there for four years and that’s where our kids were born. They were both born in the old Banff Mineral Springs Hospital up on Spray Avenue. Greg was born in 1962 and Jill in 1964. To this day they both live in Whitehorse Yukon with their own families.

Smokey – They were having bear problems at Num-ti-jah Lodge (Jimmy Simpson senior’s lodge) at Bow Summit. I was visiting Billy Vroom at Bow Summit when they trapped a boar and a four year old female, which I believe was from the Saskatchewan River Crossing district. I had observed the female for four years. Both the boar and the female were taken up the Cuthead road, tranquilized, weighed, tagged and released. Ernie Stenton said, “I want to get a good picture when the bears wake up.” As these bears were lying on the ground, Ernie climbed in the empty bear trap and closed the gate behind him so that he could get a closer picture. He was sitting there waiting when the bears woke up and quickly ran around the corner! Of course he couldn’t get his picture and the guys wouldn’t let him out of the trap right away! Within eight days these bears had returned to Bow Summit! (This story came from Bill Vroom) I have some movie film taken at the Bow Summit prior to these bears.

Smokey – For me going from Banff National Park to the Yukon in 1965 was a good move. They opened up the “Snowshoe Curtain” which was what we called it. The northern wardens were finally allowed to come in from the Yukon and the North West Territories to the western national parks and we could transfer north. I applied when there was an advertisement for park wardens in the Yukon. I won a competition and was offered a job in Whitehorse. It was a grade two promotion. They paid for my transfer up to the Yukon and would also pay for my return when I retired. We chose to retire here to Penticton B.C. It was the best move I ever made because we had a northern allowance and we weren’t as isolated anywhere in the north as we were in Banff!

Lynn – We lived in Whitehorse for a year and a half.

Smokey – In the Yukon I was classified as a park warden two. Then they changed us from park wardens to resource management officers. My first district was Whitehorse south. That was from 1966 to 1967. Then Carmacks to 1973. From Carmacks to Haines Junction until 1989. I had 34.3 years with the federal government. I could have made it longer, I wanted 35 years, but I had a phone call from a lady at the tax department in Ottawa. She told me that if I didn’t retire in time for them to do all the paperwork, by December 31, the minister, Martin at the time, wasn’t going to allow us to roll over our severance pay into RRSPs. I couldn’t gamble. I didn’t want to be paid out then and so I had to resign in September so that they could get all the paper work done. I couldn’t count my provincial Ontario time. So, I ended up with 34.3 years.

Smokey in his Museum of Nostalgia.

Don Mickle, Smokey and Rod Wallace

Smokey – Kluane National Park was just starting as a national park when I arrived. That was part of my district, and then they made it into a national park. I was the resource management officer in charge of land use and fire control in that area. We did all the inspecting. We were with the federal government and we did everything for the territorial government. I was a commissioned forestry officer in and for the Yukon territory and a resource management officer with the federal government. So then we had “devolution.” All the “feds” are pretty well out of there, except for fisheries. I believe that is all that is left.

Smokey – I am still a Yukon resident. I have to have six months and one day in there. I have a museum there, a Museum of Nostalgia” I have no grants or anything, it’s all my own money. Spending the kid’s inheritance, they call it! So I get a chance to see the kids more often than Lynn does of course. I am 100 miles away in Haines Junction. I’ve only been working on the museum for 20 years! People keep asking me, “When are you going to finish? When are you going to open?” I just tell them “I don’t know. I just work there!” What else can you say?

Smokey – Yes I still dream that I am fighting fire or bossing guys around! (In response to the question, “Do you ever miss being a warden?”) See in the Yukon we were developing the area. We would stake an area out and make a campground on it. I staked out an airstrip at Carmax and it is used extensively today. A lot of my campgrounds are in use…but they let you develop. That’s what I liked about the north. You could do what you wanted. They said, “You see a nice place, stake it out.” So you would stake it out, map it out and everything. We dealt with land, anybody that wanted grazing lease or an agriculture lease, either commercial or residential. They would stake out the land and we would double check and make sure that they met the agreement of the lease. That was part of our job which I liked. We used to conscript our firefighters when I first came there. I remember Joe Langamin at Dawson City. He needed 40 guys so I got the forestry truck and we backed up to the back door of the Whitehorse Inn and I went through the front door of the bar and as they were going through the back there they went into the truck! We conscripted, I sent 40 guys up! We ended up then training and stuff like that. We put fire camps up and we were called in to assist, teach them this or that. Each guy had a role to play. But it was like running your own show in the Yukon. As long as you didn’t cheat anybody, or hurt anybody and you followed the regulations you had a lot more freedom.

Smokey – We came out of the Yukon one time to attend a warden gymkhana at Hillsdale Meadows just west of Banff. That was the first time a warden came from the north. Frank Coggins came from Wood Buffalo. We had a great time and there was good attendance.

Smokey – That was a heck of a good show that the wardens put on when they held the 2009 National Park Warden Centennial Celebration in Banff. The weather was just perfect.

Lynn – We were on Banff Avenue watching the parade of the horses and the different warden uniforms. It was really wonderful!

Larry Gilmar and Smokey Guttman – Castleguard Meadows 1964

Maccarib Creek Cabin – Jasper National Park
Percy Hamilton Goodair, 1877-1929. He was killed by a grizzly September 12, 1929. He is buried behind this cabin