National Park Warden Association

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The National Park Warden Association is dedicated to promoting professionalism and friendship between members of the Canadian National Park Warden Service and other parks and wildlife associations.

L’Association des gardes de parcs nationaux est dédiée à promouvoir le professionnalisme et l’amitié entre les membres du Service des gardes de parcs nationaux et de d’autres associations.

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04/09 2009

Warden 100th Anniversary Celebration - Banff AB

Park Warden Service Alumni Society

100 Year Centennial Celebraton – Banff, September 11-13, 2009




The official dinner and dance has sold out, but don't despair.


What the committee (Park Warden Service Alumni Society) has set up is an official rendezvous site, Wild Bills Legendary Saloon on Banff Ave, not far from the Banff Park Lodge and the Whyte Museum. They will hand out $5 coupons and wave the entry fee. One coupon per day if you are a participant. They have a band, food and drinks, made up especially for the occasion. Try the Lewis Swift, the Kootenai Brown, the Wild Bill Peyto or the Grey Owl. I think we are going to get a lot of participants hanging out there for the weekend. The committee hopes this will help, and think it will because the dinner and dance is only one event and after 10 PM they hope to open the dance to everyone.


Hope this helps people!


P.S. Make time to go by the Whyte Museum while in Banff as they will have an exhibit "A Way of Life, A Legacy to Protect:100 Years of the Warden Service" from Sept 12th to Nov 15th

Clem Labbe

Dear colleagues,

I am very sad to inform you of the passing of our friend and colleague Clem

Labbe. Clem was a highly respected Park Warden and Resource Management/

Public Safety Specialist here in Riding Mountain. He was in the process of

completing his training to be a Park Warden Supervisor with the new Law

Branch. Clem worked in many areas of RMNP including Wasagaming, Lake Audy,

Sugarloaf, and most recently, Whirlpool Station in Riding Mountain. He

also worked in Elk Island and Banff NP's.

Clem's passing has left us with a deep sense of loss. He loved the

backcountry of RMNP, he was a very dedicated and professional steward of

the park, he was an exemplary representative of RMNP and Parks Canada and a

valued community member in the area around the park. He was a great guy to

work with on any team or issue. He loved sports and the outdoors, often

encouraging us all to get out riding more, and he was of course devoted to

his family.

Clem is survived by his wife Theresa and his son Nathan.

The family has planned a funeral in Clem's home town, Falher, Alta. It

will be held at 11:30 Saturday May 9 at Ste. Anne's Roman Catholic Church

(1st Ave. - 2nd St. SE). Viewings are being held at the church on Friday,

May 8 from 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm. and on Saturday, May 9 from 10:00 am -

11:00 am. An honour guard from Parks Canada - Brad Bischoff, Brian Low,

Doug Walker, Glenn Schmidt, Terry Hoggins, and Bob Reside - will be


A memorial to honour Clem is planned for the RMNP area for a later date,

and we will pass on that information as it becomes available.

The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to

the North American Wildlife Enforcement Museum (NAWEOA), in Clem's memory.

Their contact info can be found on their website at The volunteers for the Canadian

side of the museum, which is situated at the International Peace Gardens,

are Manitoba Conservation NROs who all knew Clem.

I'd appreciate it if you would please pass this information along to

colleagues and staff at your location. Thanks.




Paul Tarleton

Manager, Resource Conservation

Riding Mountain National Park

17/01 2009

1909 - 2009 Warden Service Celebrates 100!

Please check the 100th Anniversary link for updates on what is being done to celebrate this historic event.

A very brief history...

The Warden Service began in Canada's first established Rocky Mountains Park (now Banff) in 1909. A small force called Fire and Game Guardians was created to enforce federal policy. In 1914 Park Commissioner Harkin chose the name “Wardens” for his staff. It is believed he chose this term to differentiate Canadian park officers from their American "Ranger" counterparts. The early days saw Wardens focusing on predator control, fire suppression and the pursuit of 'Poachers'. These jobs morphed over the years into the modern role of National Park Warden, whose duties included resource management, law enforcement and public safety. In 2008 Parks Canada announced that Park Wardens duties would only include enforcement of natural resource acts in National Parks. After 99 years of generalist duties, Park Wardens roles have been dramatically changed. A new, yet unnamed group, is taking over the remaining broad suite of jobs traditionally conducted by Park Wardens. In 2009, 85 enforcement positions were created from within the ranks of the Warden Service. As a result, not all National Parks will have Park Wardens stationed in them. The remaining ~350 former Park Wardens have lost their peace officer status and traditional Stetsons and dress uniforms. Parks Canada is working on new job descriptions and titles for these EX-Park Wardens, who will now wear the generic Parks Canada red and green uniform sported by Visitor Services and Technical Services staff.

Check out this great book to learn more:

Guardians of the Wild: A History of the Warden Service of Canada's National Parks

By Robert J. Burns, Michael J. Schintz

Published by University of Calgary Press, 2000

ISBN 1552380181, 9781552380185

17/11 2008

Retired Banff Chief Park Warden - Perry Jacobson Interviewed

Click to play RAM file (real audio player needed)

CBC Calgary - Wildrose Country


From "Park Warden" to "Resource Manager" (8:12)

Nov 17: Retired Park Warden, Sid Marty calls changes to the park warden service a success "in destroying the warden service...kicking 100 years of dedication and idealism in the face." We talk to another retired Park Warden to find out why the changes have caused such a stir in the service.

Click this link to find this Real Audio File on CBC's website: Look for the From Park Warden to Resource Manager File.

Here is the direct link to the RAM file - you need Real Player to hear it.

Real Player can be downloaded free from:

13/11 2008

Most Parks Canada wardens now 'resource management and public safety personnel'

Click image for original article by the Calgary Herald

Robert Remington, Calgary Herald

Published: Thursday, November 13, 2008

CALGARY - Parks Canada is dropping the historical designation of warden for most of its national parks field staff, replacing it with a more benign title.

In a communication Thursday to the 425 members of what has been known for the past 100 years as the Parks Canada Warden Service, staff were informed that those no longer involved in law enforcement will be known effective immediately as resource management and public safety personnel.

The title warden will be reserved for an elite enforcement group of up to 100 staff who will be specially trained and equipped with sidearms.

Sid Marty, a former Banff park warden, said the decision effectively turns the remaining 325 former wardens into "glorified boy scouts."

"They've succeeded in destroying the warden service, which is something a number of these upper echelon officials have wanted to do for a long time," Marty said. "So, congratulations on kicking 100 years of dedication and idealism in the face."

Active park wardens are prevented from speaking publicly on parks policy.

The name change stems from a 2001 federal ruling requiring that wardens involved in enforcing wildlife, fisheries and natural resource laws be equipped with sidearms for personal safety. Rather than arming all parks wardens, Parks Canada opted to create the special unit, which will be in place April 1.

Marty says that the government has wasted about $50 million by not simply arming the entire warden service. Since 1993, all warden recruits have had to pass a rigorous seven-week police course at the RCMP depot in Regina, where they were trained in the use of police batons, handcuffs, pepper spray, self defence and other police procedures, with annual re-training.

Arming all wardens would have cost about $1.5 million, according to Marty. Cost of setting up the new elite force is estimated at $12 million. In the interim, Parks Canada had to hire the RCMP to enforce parks laws at a cost of $40 million, according to information obtained by Marty from a retired enforcement specialist for the western and northern national parks.

Bill Fisher, Parks Canada director general for western and northern Canada, said Thursday that the 100 armed wardens will retain the traditional Stetson hat, uniforms, service belt, badges and warden insignia symbolic of the service, which turns 100 next year. The remaining resource managers and public safety specialists will wear the uniform common to existing park interpreters, which has the word Canada on the sleeve rather than the park warden insignia. They also will not carry batons, pepper spray or other protective equipment.

The move was necessary to comply with the federal ruling that those involved in law enforcement be clearly and distinctly identified, Fisher said. All parks wardens have been out of enforcement duties and stripped of defensive equipment and identifying enforcement insignia and badges for more than a year.

Marty said the change effectively reduces the number of Parks Canada personnel charged with enforcing the National Parks Act, the Species at Risk Act, and the National Marine Conservation Area Act, the primary pieces of legislation protecting wildlife and natural resources in the country's 42 national parks.

"They now have 100 parks wardens for the entire system, whereas they used to have 425. The loser will be the perception of Parks Canada. Somebody will be out there chopping down a tree, starting a fire or taking a shot at an elk and there will be a guy who's a resource manager standing there timidly taking notes even though he's been fully trained to enforce the law," Marty said.

Retired park warden Don Mickle said he fears the change will affect the morale of the remaining 325 former wardens.

"This whole concern over mistaken identity is nonsense," Mickle said. In the U.S. Parks Service, all field staff are called rangers without putting interpreters and resource managers at risk, he said.


"You can easily tell the enforcement guys they're the ones with the sunglasses and the guns."

25/05 2007

Only A Job? Ya Right!

click to read speech

A distinguished Park Warden recently retired. We have posted Duane Martin's retirement speech under What is a Park Warden?

05/10 2008

Park Wardens' participation at the Peace Officer Memorial

Peace Officer Memorial Pin

Parks Canada Agency Representatives to the annual Canadian Police and

Peace Officers' Memorial Service.

September 28, 2008 Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario

Across Canada on the last Sunday of September flags flew at half-mast and again on that Sunday Park Wardens stood in solemn remembrance on Parliament Hill. The 31st Peace Officer Memorial Service saw more than two thousand uniformed Peace and Police Officers and 100's of civilians turn out to hear the meaningful words, songs and police band piping ...tributes and remembrances for the more than 700 men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties. Wardens remembered comrades Michael WYNN, Simon PARBOOSINGH, Patrick SHEEHAN, Robert LEBLANC, Neil COLGAN, James BRINK, Robert MARAK, Robert JONES, Fred CARTER, Lawrence LEES, Percy GOODAIR and Andy BOWER. This year two names were added to the Memorial Wall beside the Summer Pavilion on Parliament Hill: Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers Douglas A. SCOTT and Christopher J. WORDEN.

Marching in the ceremony this year was Greg Daigle and Mark Hannay from Kouchibouguac National Park, Natalie Verrier from Pacific Rim, Rebecca Rothgeb from Chilkoot Trail, Mark Benson from Riding Mountain and Edwin Knox from Waterton Lakes. On behalf of Park Wardens across the system of National Parks and Historic Sites appreciation is extended to the National Component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada who ensured the costs were met for having 5 wardens attend in Ottawa. Following the service warden participants enjoyed the opportunity to visit with the National President of PSAC Daniel Kinsella, at the Memorial Wall, along with Director General of National Parks Doug Stewart and Director – Law Enforcement Branch Darlene Upton; and other staff from the Law Enforcement Branch, Sylvia Frehner and Elaine O'Neill. Their support was appreciated. May we all hope to see Park Wardens on Parliament Hill in 2009 for the service on Police and Peace Officers' Memorial Day.

To learn more about the Canadian Peace Officer Memorial Association visit . Visit and open the link to the Park Warden Memorial for details pertaining to our Park Warden comrades who died in the line of duty.

Submitted by Edwin Knox

Celebrated Canadian Author Appeals to Minister

Sid Marty ( ) is a former park warden. He is a celebrated author, poet and musician. He recently wrote about the issue in the Calgary Herald.


Time to arm park wardens

Sid Marty

For The Calgary Herald

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Throughout Canada, National Park Wardens, in their traditional green-and-khaki uniforms and Stetson-style hats, do whatever needs doing to protect parks and visitors. Since 1909, their duties have included perilous search-and-rescue missions, resource and wildlife management and law enforcement. ..."

"... The warden service is the memory bank and conscience of Parks Canada, giving careerist bureaucrats news they need to hear, whether they want it or not. It is thus resented by some Parks Canada managers. Now, many wonder if there will be a warden service left to celebrate its 2009 centennial. ..."


read the entire article at:

19/06 2008

Retired Warden Duane Martin Interviewed by CBC Radio

Park Warden Confusion


Park Wardens have been removed from law enforcement and have had their traditional Stetson and uniforms removed. No one is sure what a park warden will be in the future. Retired Park Warden Duane Martin weighs in on CBC radio.



Park warden confusion (9:00)

June 18: From uniform changes to rule changes for carrying side arms, Park Wardens have had to endure some big transitions in the last few years. It's all causing confusion for the public, and is raising the ire of some Park Wardens who don't welcome the changes. We talk to retired warden, Duane Martin who has been in the middle of the side arm debate for decades."


Click this link to find this Real Audio File on CBC's website: Look for the Park Warden Confusion file.

Here is the direct link to the RAM file - you need Real Player to hear it.

Real Player can be downloaded free from:

13/05 2008

Future of National Park Warden Service?

Parks Canda has made an announcement regarding how Law Enforcement will be conducted in National Parks.


"OTTAWA, ONTARIO, May 9, 2008 -- Canada’s Environment Minister John Baird today announced that the Government of Canada is authorizing Parks Canada to create up to 100 armed enforcement officer positions. These officers will be dedicated to law enforcement in our national parks, and will receive rigorous training and screening. "

These enforcement positions are not Park Wardens. (Currently there are about 400 Park Wardens whose duties include public safety, wildlife management, ecosystem management, fire management and until recently Resource Law Enforcment.)

Will removing Park Wardens from the central role of guardians of our parks - as enshrined in the Canada National Parks Act - effectively dissolve the Warden Service?

The Parks Canada Warden Service has been protecting Canada's national parks since 1909 and is a national institution. It is unclear what the future of the warden service will be on the eve of the centennial.

The NPWA is consulting its members on how they feel about this decision. If you are a member, log in and add your thoughts. If you are a warden but not a member, or if you are not a warden and would like to express your opinion, please send comments to the association @Contact The NPWA

News article on Park Wardens / Article de nouvelles au sujet des gardes de parc

A recent online news article on park wardens and law enforcement.

Un article de nouvelles récent au sujet des gardes de parc et de l'application de la loi.




Upcoming retirements?

Do you know any park wardens who are retiring soon? Are you looking for the right retirement gift? Log in  HERE to check out how to order a plaque like this one.

Photo Contest! / Concours de photo!

All the photos are in for the contest and the winners have been chosen. Login to check out all the entries. Not a member? Go to the login  HERE page to sign up.


Wardens Win Sarscene Games

Photo by park warden Michel Villeneuve

A team of park wardens from the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve recently won the William Slaughter Cup for overall winner at the  SARSCENE Games in Victoria, BC. The SARSCENE Games, held in conjunction with the annual SARSCENE conference, showcase ground and inland water search and rescue and promote the sharing of skills in a friendly yet competitive environment. The Games bring together participants from across Canada, and often internationally and include SAR volunteers, police, military SAR technicians, park wardens, paramedics, firefighters, Coast Guard personnel, and government and industry SAR specialists.

Congratulations to this years team of Rundi Anderson, Leila Sumi, Nathan Cardinal and Dave Pemberton! Thanks for making park wardens across the country proud!

12/10 2007

2007 Peace Officers' Memorial

From left to right: Arnold Vautour, Melanie Hindle, Lyle Lambert,
Bud Andress, Mark Hannay, Jon Stuart-Smith and Dennis Comeau

Park Wardens from across the country attended the Police and Peace Officers' Memorial on September 30, 2007 at Parliment Hill in Ottawa (check it out at ). There were 7 park wardens who marched in the ceremony that commemorates officers who have been killed in the line of duty. The National Component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada provided support to five of the wardens so that they would be able to travel from across the country to remember our fallen officers. The National Park Warden Association would like to express it's gratitude for this support.

Bud Andress (in the centre of the photo) from St Lawrence Island is the Warden Service representative on the Canadian Peace Officers' Memorial Association. For many years he has put in a lot of effort to make sure that Park Wardens are represented at the ceremony. Thanks for all your hard work Bud.

Call for Nominations

Following its recent incorporation as an official organization representing Canada's National Park Wardens, the NPWA is required to hold elections for positions on the executive and an Annual General Meeting of the NPWA's membership. In preparation for this, the current NPWA executive has put out a call for nominations. Log in to the forum and check the Message from NPWA A/Executive for more details and instructions on how to submit your nomination.

27/09 2007

"Our familiarity with that act is zero."

From Leamington Post

Police will continue Pt. Pelee patrols

But won’t enforce park laws


Wednesday September 26, 2007

Leamington Police will continue to patrol Point Pelee National Park but they do not want the responsibility of handling all the enforcement in the park.

Police Chief Dean Gow told the Leamington Police Services Board last week that he recently received a request from the park warden to take over park enforcement.

Gow told the board that the RCMP have pulled out, so they are looking for someone to take over.

But the chief said that would be too much to tackle -- the enforcement of the National Parks Act.

“Our familiarity with that act is zero,” he said. “I don’t feel the Leamington Police Services should take on a piece of Federal legislation that we’re not mandated for.”

He said they currently handle enforcement of the Highway Traffic Act and liquor control enforcement. And he said that is how he would like it to remain.

Gow did say they would be willing to step up patrols so there is a greater police presence but that is as far as he would like to see it go.

“I wouldn’t want to see people take advantage of the fact there is no one on-site for enforcement of the National Parks Act,” said Gow, especially when it comes to shooting waterfowl.

“This is a board decision though,” said Gow, “not a chief’s.”

“We want to do what we can to help,”he added, but he said trying to learn all the ins and outs of the federal legislation would be too much to take on.

“It’s also a matter of pulling our reserves away to do something we're really not mandated to do,” he added.

The board agreed with Gow to deny the request but offer to step up patrols within the park.

Article on Park Wardens in Calgary Herald

Warden Bradley Bischoff. Photograph: Leah Hennel, Calgary Herald

Check out this great article on the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch and some of the Wardens from Banff. They even quote from our webpage!...


23/08 2007

Canadian Parks Suffer with Park Wardens out of Law

Canadian parks suffer under new ruling of non-enforcement

Opinion & letters - Tuesday, August 21, 2007 @ 08:00


I live in a community where two National Parks exist, Fathom Five and Bruce Peninsula National Park, and used to take pleasure in walking through the various areas set aside for people.

However, my husband and I took a walk on the August long weekend (Civic) and were appalled at activities taking place, unchallenged, in the park. ... "


For the full article: Owen Sound Sun Times


12/08 2007

World Ranger Day in Ottawa

John Waithaka, July 31 premier of the 'Thin Green Line' in Ottawa

A highlight of the premier of the 'The Thin Green Line' in Ottawa were the words of John Waithaka, an Ecosystem Scientist from Kenya, presently working with Parks Canada (National Office) and who assisted Michel Villineuve with the presentation of the film. His presentation on the Rangers in Africa was outstanding and caused a spontaneous round of applause. Here is a summary of what he said...

A tribute to Rangers in Danger in Africa

By John Waithaka

Parks Canada

July 31, 2007

· I wish to thanks Parks Canada and Environment Canada for organizing this occasion to pay tribute to the work that rangers perform to protect the last of the earth’s natural and cultural resources and to remember the many rangers who have been injured or killed in the line of duty.

· The rangers are the principal guardians of what you see behind the beautiful postcards of international parks and reserves, and in many parts of the world, they are as endangered as the endangered species and spaces they protect.

· I am privileged to join you and all other people worldwide who are celebrating the first International Day of the Ranger. Considering the importance of role they play and the dangers they face every day, I am amazed that a day to recognize them - the International Day of the Ranger - did not come earlier.

· I was born and brought up in Africa - in Kenya - a country that is known for its rich biodiversity and huge populations of large mammals, resources currently endangered by human activities. The Rangers spend sleepless nights fighting for the survival of what is remaining. I pay tribute to them.

· I grew up outside Aberdares National Park, a Protected Area with large populations of elephants, rhinos, leopards, hyenas, lions and other wild animals. The rangers kept them from harming us on the way to and from school, and worked day and night to keep them from our homes and farms. I pay tribute to them.

· I studied elephants in many national parks in Kenya. Not a single day did I go to take my samples without being accompanied by a ranger. As I graduated with honors degrees, the rangers who guarded me every day in the field remained in those remote areas, guarding the elephants. Nobody honored them. I pay tribute to them.

· For many years, I was a member of the IUCN SSC, African Elephant and Rhino Specialist Group, a group credited with playing a major role of saving the elephant and rhino. But it is the rangers who lost their lives battling it out with international gangs called poachers. For a period of about 20 years, 85% of the elephants and 98% of the rhinos were killed.

Nobody ever mentions the number of rangers who were killed or maimed, the families that were devastated, children who lost their parents, - and may now be living in abject poverty as a result. Not that the number is hard to get, but the priority lies elsewhere. We honor them today.

· I was later appointed the national coordinator of the Elephant Conservation and Community Wildlife program in Kenya. As we battled with the politicians, international pressure groups, people with conflicting interests - over the ivory trade and other aspects of elephant management, flying from one national capital to another, from one conference room to another, the rangers were on the ground battling with poachers or with crop-raiding elephants. We honor them for their sacrifices.

· The rangers are not only killed by poachers, but many are bitten by poisonous snakes, ripped off by the crocodile, gored by the buffalo, killed by the elephant, mauled by the lion and the leopard, devastated by disease-carrying tropical bugs, fall from a cliff or swept away by floods. We pay tribute to them.

· In the April – June Newsletter of the International Ranger Federation, the editor noted that that was the only Issue without reported deaths of Rangers, and was thankful. However, the Issue had missed an incident on May 19 2007 when three rangers were killed by poachers outside Tsavo National Park, Kenya. Rangers are in danger all the time. We pat tribute to them.

· In Africa, rangers live in dangerous conditions, often carry out their duties in very stressful environments characterized by;

· Insecurity from highly organized gangs of poachers

· Exposure to many tropical diseases, such as malaria and pneumonia, and others

· unpredictable political environments

· Manipulation by corrupt supervisors and political leaders

· Discouragement and uncertainty – particularly when political regimes change, they see willful neglect or destruction of what they have fought so hard for so long to save, and what many of their colleagues have died for.

· Hostility as are sometimes blamed (and even hated) for enforcing unpopular policies that were passed on to them to implement, but had no chance to give input.

· Inadequate support: They often lack facilities to do their work, including basic things like appropriate protective clothing and sufficient food.

· Complex social environments: Some do not have sufficient training to handle the complex issues they face daily such as refugees in national parks

· They are among the lowest paid professionals, not mentioning that most of their families become unstable because of their prolonged absence from home.

· During the first international Day of the Ranger, it is fitting to recognize the brave men and women who have died while protecting our shared resources from human greed, corruption and misguided priorities, and to pledge our commitment to support those who are putting their lives on the line daily - selflessly working and struggling to protect and manage the natural and cultural resources we all hold dear.

· Long live the Rangers

06/08 2007

Thin Green Line premiered by Park Wardens Across Canada

Shots from the premier of the Thin Green Line at Pacific Rim National Park

On World Ranger day, July 31, 2007, Park wardens in Pacific Rim, Jasper, Riding Mountain and the National Office in Ottawa all took part in the simultaneous World Premier of the documentary, ‘The Thin Green Line’. They joined with other rangers from around the globe in hosting a showing of this original documentary of Rangers working in the field throughout the world. For further information on the documentary visit the website

Here is how warden Melanie Hindle described the event at Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba, 'We held our event at the parks Canada visitor centre theatre, which is a heritage log building and seats about 55 people comfortably. We held a reception afterwards so people could forage and talk about the movie and local conservation efforts. We were hoping for 45 people and had 75. Some people traveled an hour to our town to see it and another former warden made the trip as well. We collected $384 in donations and we had a lot of positive feedback from the viewers. I was very happy to help bring this to our area and quite excited about the movie in general.'

At Pacific Rim National Park in British Columbia the film was well received with 109 people showing up at the Greenpoint Theatre. In Jasper National Park in Alberta the event was held at the Downstream bar. It turned out to be bigger than the organizers had anticipated and they ended up with standing room only. The local paper published an article that helped in advertising the event. They were able to raise $458.00 dollars through donations. Because of the great turn out the Jasper wardens are hoping to put on another showing.

In Ottawa, organizer Michel Villineuve invited all the Parks staff from the Parks Canada National Office and all the NGOs in the National Capita region. Although many people were on holidays at this time of year, there were still 20 for the French presentation and 50 for the English. Nik Lopoukhine, Chair of the IUCN (the World Conservation Union attended as well as John Waithaka, a Kenyan conservationist working in the Parks Canada National Office. John's comments were global in perspective and extremely moving. Even the CEO managed to take some time and view part of the presentation.

Thanks to all of you across the country who organized these premiers and helping to promote the role of rangers and park wardens around the globe.

01/08 2007

WORLD RANGER DAY July 31, 2007



The International Ranger Federation was founded to support the work of Rangers as the key protectors of the worlds protected areas. At the IRF Scotland World Congress of Rangers in 2006, delegates decided that July 31 of each year, beginning in 2007, would be a day dedicated to world rangers. This first World Ranger Day will fall on the 15th anniversary of the founding of IRF on July 31, 1992.


IRF is calling on its member associations, protected area agencies, individual rangers, sponsors, and the world public to initiate or join in an event or activity that recognises world conservation areas, and the professional staff – the Rangers – that form the “The Thin Green Line” around these most valuable resources.

The simultaneous World Premier of the Documentary, “The Thin Green Line” in hundreds of locations throughout the world on July 31 is the primary method to recognise World Ranger Day this year. We urge everyone to join, or better yet, host an event showing this original documentary of Rangers working in the field throughout the world. For further information, go to the documentary's website

Other ways in which you can recognise World Ranger Day:

· Pay a moment’s respect to rangers who have lost their lives in the course of duty.

· Mention the role of the world’s Rangers in a scheduled guided walk or talk with park visitors and partners.

· Host a special public event in or near your park dedicated to the work of Rangers in your particular area, and the similarities with Rangers around the world.

· Meet with your local communities, partners, and supporting groups to talk about the role of Rangers, the work of the IRF, and how they can help support Rangers and protected areas.

· Visit a school – engage the youth in the future of world parks, biodiversity, and conservation.

· Invite a Ranger from another country or park to join you and your co-workers for a week in your park, to include July 31.

· If you are a Ranger, meet with your colleagues to discuss World Ranger Day and the role of Rangers, including the work of IRF.

· Using World Ranger Day events, seek partners and donors interested in supporting and sustaining the work in your protected area, and the IRF.

· Have fun! Celebrate your role in protecting the world’s natural and cultural treasures.


World Parks

In 1872, Yellowstone National Park in the United States became the world’s first federally designated national park. Since then, over 100,000 protected areas, representing more than 10% of the earth’s landmass, have been established around the world, according to the IUCN.

World Rangers

The English word “ranger” reflects the guardians of the Royal Forests in 14th century England, protecting the King’s lands from poachers. Today, Rangers in protected areas throughout the world continue this role. Rangers are the key force protecting these resources from impairment. They do this through law enforcement, environmental education, community relations, fighting fires, conducting search and rescues, and in many other ways caring for protected areas and their visitors.

“If a trail is to be blazed, send a ranger; if an animal is floundering in the snow, send a ranger; if a bear is in a hotel, send a ranger; if a fire threatens a forest, send a ranger; and if someone needs to be saved, send a ranger.”

– Steven T. Mather, First Director of the U.S. National Park Service, 1916.

As the principal guardians of the world’s premier natural and cultural protected areas, Rangers:

· Are the key force in the field between preservation and loss and destruction of those protected areas;

· Are uniquely positioned and qualified to monitor the health of resources, assess problems, and provide for future solutions based on current knowledge;

· Are the critical connection between parks and the public, with a fundamental role in educating the public;

· Are involved in complex and critical tasks in preservation, often living and working in dangerous conditions, and take risks in protecting these special places;

· Need continued government and public support in protecting resources for future generations.

The IRF defines a ranger as “the person involved in the practical protection and preservation of all aspects of wild areas, historical and cultural sites. Rangers provide recreational opportunities and interpretation of sites while providing links between local communities, protected areas and area administration.”


At the first IRF World Ranger Congress in 1995 in Zakopane, Poland, the delegates representing 35 nations on 6 continents committed themselves and the IRF to a series of principles. These have become the core mission of the IRF, and a key document supporting the work of rangers. Download the 8 principles of Ranger work.


At the second IRF World Congress in 1997 in San Jose, Costa Rica, the delegates adapted a Code of Ethics with 16 canons for the professional conduct of Rangers. All IRF member associations are encouraged to adopt the Code. (Código De Ética)


Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 IUCN Rio Earth Summit in Brazil, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a global effort to save biological diversity, promote its sustainable use, and ensure that benefits are distributed equitably. In the convention’s 8th Article, the CBD commits all government parties to establish systems of protected areas to conserve in situ biodiversity. In the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas, as well as in the approved recommendations from the Vth World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, the necessity to have Rangers and other skilled and well-trained staff to carry out fundamental roles in the management and conservation of protected areas was fully recognised. The IRF supports the work of the CBD and the Programme of Work on Protected Areas.

On June 6th the CEO announced that Parks Canada will not pursue a further appeal of the decision rendered by the Canada Appeals Office on Occupational Health and Safety. The decision to issue sidearms to Park Wardens now rests solely with Cabinet as per the Policy Governing the Issuance of Sidearms to Federal Law Enforcement Officers (click on the title above to see the policy). To see the full message from the CEO click on the Parks Canada Updates tab under the Warden Safety tab or click here:

12/05 2007

Park Warden Safety Issue

May 9 2007 HRSDC Appeals Officer Malanka determines National Park Wardens not safe performing law enforcement.

effective May 9 2007 Parks Canada CEO, Alan Latourelle, removes Park Wardens from all law enforcement duties.

Parks Canada CEO announces that RCMP will perform law enforcement in Canadian National Parks.

NPWA position Park Wardens, as highly-trained Peace Officers, should protect Canada's National Parks and visitors.


The Park Warden Safety Decision If you are interested in learning more about wardens being removed from law enforcement in Canada's National Parks, please click the tab on the left titled: WARDEN SAFETY ISSUE


for further information on this issue please contact:

Denis Boivin, PSAC Communications, (613) 222-4617 (cell)

and for Parks Canada Media Relations: 1-819-994-3023

Park Warden Safety Issue: Background

February 2001 HRSDC Health and Safety officer: 1.Finds law enforcement duties of park wardens place them at risk of grievous bodily harm 2.Orders Parks Canada to suspend all duties that constitute these dangers and to take measures to protect wardens

National Park Wardens had been performing law enforcement in Canadian National Parks for almost 100 years.

2001-2002 RCMP cover law enforcement in National Parks, costing over $40 million. Some mounties refuse to patrol past 100 metres into any trails, citing insufficient training and equipment

May 2002 HRSDC Appeals Officer overturns decision, finding there was no evidence danger existed, as defined by Canada Labour Code

Parks Canada Agency instituted measures, as outlined in Directive 2.1.9 and Appendix A, that are claimed to adequately ensure safety of wardens

October 2003 Federal Court upheld May 2002 decision that wardens not considered to be in danger

PSAC (union covering Parks Canada Agency) appealed to Federal Court of Appeal

May 2005 Federal Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that May 2002 decision, that law enforcement duties performed by federal park wardens were not dangerous, "patently unreasonable"

2006 Parks Canada appealed this latest decision.

May 2007 HRSDC Appeals Officer Douglas Malanka determines Park Wardens not safe performing law enforcement. He notes that Parks Canada ignored the recommendations of in-house and third party studies it commissioned to the effect that sidearms be issued to park wardens conducting law enforcement.


12/05 2007

The Park Warden Safety Decision

If you are interested in learning more about wardens being removed from law enforcement in Canada's National Parks, please click on the tab on the left titled: WARDEN SAFETY ISSUE


May 9 2007

The most recent message from the Chief Executive Officer, Parks Canada

Subject :Park Wardens Safety Decision

Following Doug Stewart's note earlier this afternoon, I want to share with you the decision rendered by Appeals Officer Malanka regarding Park Wardens safety.

Mr. Malanka determined that Park Wardens, while conducting law enforcement duties, are exposed to danger as defined in Part II of the Canada Labour Code. The Agency is currently reviewing the Appeals Officer's decision.

In accordance with this ruling, Parks Canada Wardens have been immediately removed from their law enforcement duties. Park Wardens will continue their role as ecosystem managers and Parks Canada will work with other departments and agencies to ensure natural and cultural resources are protected in Canada's national parks. The RCMP or the local police force of jurisdiction will continue to be responsible for public peace and Criminal Code enforcement in national parks.

We are committed to the safety of all employees, as well as the protection of park users and national park resources.

Alan Latourelle


To see a copy of the ruling please go to:


Update March 27 2007

Some of our members may know Sean Wilmore. He actually filmed some of his movie (The Thin Green Line) in a number of Canadian National Parks, which will be featured in the film. Please check out his site and learn more. In 2006 Sean was presented with the Presidents award by the IRF in Scotland. Warden Ben Alderman has seen the 15-minute highlights version of the film and he promises there's a ton of awesome footage.


"This is the story of Park Rangers. A front line story of the human spirit fighting to save what is precious and rare. A story about the future, inspired by hundreds of Park Rangers from around the world, working on the frontline of conservation.

Sean Willmore, a Park Ranger from Warringine Park in Victoria, Australia sold his car and remortgaged his house 3 times to make this film. In 2003 he met his ranger colleagues from across the globe at an International Park Rangers Congress at Wilson's Promontory National Park, near Melbourne. It was here that he developed his vision to document and bring to the wider community the real picture behind the postcards of international parks and reserves.

The selfless commitment of individuals who face the real prospect of death from poachers, wild creatures and other challenges. By filming rangers at work he wanted to open up a different way of looking at and communicating the wonders of our world and the daily threats to its very survival.

Sean spent most of 2004 filming the lives and stories of rangers on 6 continents and 19 countries. There were some incredible experiences: volcanoes, ascents by horseback in Chile and Argentina, a charging elephant in South Africa, drowning rivers in Costa Rica, Mountain Gorilla protection in volatile Virungas of Uganda, helicopter rescues in the Rockies, dangerous anti-poaching patrols and chases in South Africa, Galapagos, Uganda and India, and violent threats by rebel soldiers, antagonistic poaching communities, and protesting fisherman. Sean counts himself lucky to be alive.

These experiences set the tone for the life stories and challenges facing the professional Park Ranger.

Filming the journey inspired Sean to deepen his belief in the devoted men and women who sometimes give their lives for their devotion to nature, people and conservation. The "Rangers' heart" helps them cope with corruption, poor re-sourcing, ignorance, politics and greed.

This documentary moves away from the cute, cuddly or dangerous animals seen in traditional wildlife documentaries. The animals themselves become the backdrop for the human face of conservation.

The aim of the film is to expose ‘The Thin Green Line’ in the hope that others will join Park Rangers to save what is endangered.

Each Ranger has threads to add to the story, from different locations, personal histories, cultural influences, and political environments. The making of this film has helped to unify rangers from many diverse backgrounds and cultures around the globe, all with the same inspiring goal: to try and save the planet."


January 12th marked the 5th anniversary of the accident that claimed Jasper Public Safety Warden Mike Wynn. Mike was a superb colleague and friend to many people throughout Parks Canada, and was a loving and devoted husband to wife Lori and son Joey. To honour his memory and celebrate the warm memories many of us hold, we arranged to have two bouquets of cedar roses and lilies made by Haida weaver and Haida Gwaii Watchmen Gladys Vandal. On January 12th, one bouquet was laid at the Canadian Police Peace Officer's Memorial in Ottawa, and one bouquet was presented to Lori and Joey Wynn in Jasper.


Michel Villeneuve helped organize the presentation in Ottawa. Here is what he wrote...


'We managed to have a very nice ceremony at the Memorial. Folks attending were Per Nilsen (Head of Resource Protection), Rick Kubian, Bud Andress, Mike Etches, Wayne Tucker, David Jivcoff, John Mckenzie and myself. Mike read, with some difficulty, that wonderful poem (see below), followed with a moment of silence. A few of the us reminisced on some of our warden misadventures involving Mike, I'm sure Mike laughed along with us, and we certainly looked westward towards Parkers Ridge in his memory.'


Here is the poem that Mike Etches read as suggested by Lori:


All is well


Death is nothing at all,

I have only slipped into the next room

I am I and you are you

Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name,

Speak to me in the easy way which you always used

Put no difference in your tone,

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household world that it always was,

Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,

Just around the corner.

All is well.

Henry Scott Holland


Canon of St Paul 's Cathedral


Thank you to everyone who contributed to the purchase of the bouquets. If anyone would still like to contribute we are still accepting donations. We are suggesting $10.00 as a donation but any amount will be appreciated. If any funds are raised beyond the $300.00 needed for the bouquets, they will be contributed to the Friends of JNP Mike Wynn memorial scholarship.


If anyone has any questions or would like to send a donation please contact me,

Thanks again,

Jon Stuart-Smith



19/12 2006

Warden Updates

Rick Getting Barreled

Update December 2006

West Coast trail park warden honoured for dangerous search-and-rescue work

Warden supervisor co-ordinates about 100 missions a season

A parks ranger who helps get injured hikers off the treacherous West Coast trail has received an award by the federal government.

Rick Holmes, 59, is the warden supervisor in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. He's part of a team of wardens that spends its summers based in Port Renfrew and patrols the trail that stretches up to Bamfield with boats and hiking boots.

He's one of seven people across Canada to receive a certificate of achievement for their efforts in search and rescue.

"It's been a wonderful career -- I've loved every day," said Holmes of his 26 years so far with Parks Canada.

"It's a pleasure to come to work. I work with a lot of really good, keen people."

Fortunately, he's fit enough to find the physical demands of the job enjoyable.

"The job keeps you fit and keeps you active," he said.

Sandra Mcculloch, Times Colonist

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2006

See the full article at


Past Updates

The New Colours

Update December 18, 2006

The Retired Warden Service Uniform To Be Donated

Plans are in place to recycle the 'old' uniform with the help of the IRF. Warden Art Laurenson of Banff National Park is heading up this program.

In order to keep the program cost effective they would ask warden staff to turn in old uniforms with flashes and identifers removed. Also use an indelible fabric pen and write sizes on shirt collar or pant waist. If they can also be washed that would be great. If they are washed please include a note saying that they are.

Members please log in to get all the details of the program. A link will appear in the nav bar once you have logged in, titled "How to Recycle Old Uniform".


Update September, 2006

The Canadian Police and Peace Officers Memorial

On Sunday September 24th thousands of police and peace officers from across the country gathered on Parliament Hill to honour colleagues who have died in the line of duty. Ten peace officers have lost their lives in 2006: Wildlife Protection Officers Fernand Vachon & Nicolas Rochette (Québec Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife); Constable Valérie Gignac (Laval Police); Constable John D. Goyer (Abbotsford Police); Corporals Matthew Dinning & Randy Payne (Canadian Military Police); Senior Constable John C. Atkinson (Windsor Police); Senior Constable Donald J. Y. Doucet (Sault Ste. Marie Police); Constables Robin L. Cameron & Marc J. D. Bourdages (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, SK). Twelve national park wardens joined in this tribute to remember. Some wardens also took the the opportunity to speak with Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day, RCMP Commissioner Zachardelli and Parks Canada's Director General of National Parks Doug Stewart.

Rundi Koppang

Senior Warden

Gulf Islands NPR


Update August 11. 2006

Friends, family mourn death of parks officer

"Friends and family of Philip Robinson, a parks officer who died two weeks ago during a climbing accident in Auyuittuq National Park, gathered to pay their respects on Saturday, Aug. 5 in Iqaluit’s Anglican Parish Hall.

Robinson was remembered during the tearful ceremony, where sobbing at times drowned out the choir, for living his life full of passion, especially while outdoors.

“I want to live the rest of my life the way he taught me,” said his father,Bryan.

Robinson, 26, was rapelling down the face of Mt. Thor — the longest sheer vertical drop on the planet —with a group of American climbers at the time of the accident.

Robinson often spoke of how he loved Mt. Thor, and wanted to climb the mountain one day, said one family friend at the ceremony.

“He has captured Thor.”

A second memorial ceremony was planned in Pangnirtung on Monday, August 7. Robinson’s ashes were buried in both Iqaluit and Pangnirtung."

John Thompson Nunatsiaq News

Update July 30, 2006

Patrol Officer Philip Robinson was fatally injured in a fall from Thor Peak in Auyuittuq National Park on July 25th. We are all in shock. Our condolances to his family and co-workers.


"Philip Robinson, 26, had worked for Parks Canada since 2001, first in Quttinirpaaq National Park on Ellesmere Island and later in Auyuittuq National Park, located between Pangnirtung and Qikiqtarjuaq. Robinson was originally from Igloolik.


“He was amazing. He connected to everybody. He was one of those larger than life people,” said Pauline Scott, a communications officer for Parks Canada in Iqaluit."


Update July 18, 2006

"Hello Canadian Wardens,

The World Congress in Scotland was all we expected - a jam-packed program and plenty of social activities after hours. I wish more of you had been able to attend. John McKenzie, Quebec, represented you well. After many calls and email messages from Congress organizers, the Canadian government decided they should send at least one warden and John was given about 3 days notice to go. Despite that, he was an active participant and we appreciated having a Canadian voice and perspective.

I'll still be in touch occasionally, in my new role as vice-president and I look forward to continuing to work with NPWA.

Best wishes,



Update July 16, 2006

A year has passed since we requested feedback on the proposed bylaws. These were developed a few years back during the creation of the NPWA. With some minor tweaks, the NPWA bylaws have been ratified by the temporary admin. We will be submitting the NPWA applicaton to be incorporated! (See Membership and Participation)


Warden Andrew Maher has been in discussions with ARC'TERYX and they are willing to offer their Pro purchase program to allow Full Time Park Wardens (and members of the NPWA) direct purchasing access to all of their products at their Pro discount of approx 40% off regular retail pricing.

Updates will be coming soon.


Update June 12, 2006

We are working on a significant update on the Warden Saftey Appeal Hearing. (See 2006 SAFETY APPEAL HEARING)PSAC and Parks are back in the hearings this week. We are allowed to post Factums and Hearing Arguements of both sides later this week after the sessions have been completed. We also have transcripts of past testimony which may be of interest to many members. Check back on the 15th for more details.


Update June 10, 2006

Oakley National Park Warden Association Program

Many of you may have heard about a pro deal with Oakley. Well it is true, Park Warden Andrew Maher has negotiated a deal that will see NPWA members receive a substantial discount on all Oakley products!

A members only page has been created. Simply log in and the Oakley Pro Deal page will appear in the nav bar to the left.


Update May 15, 2006

see an article on our wardens at:

You can also see another article in our news link.

Subject: Parks Canada honoured at Rideau Hall

I am very pleased to announce that five Parks Canada employees were recognized for their exceptional accomplishments. This morning, Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, presented the Peace Officer Exemplary Service Medal at an inaugural ceremony at Rideau Hall.

The Peace Officer Exemplary Service Medal was created to recognize peace officers who have performed their duties in an exemplary manner and have protected the safety and security of the public in Canada for 20 years or more.

Here are the five recipients who have been honoured for their exemplary work:

-Duane Martin, Law Enforcement Advisor to the Director General, Western and Northern Canada

-Derek Tilson, Manager, Law Enforcement Program, Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada

-Scott Ward, retired Parks Canada warden, Banff National Park of Canada

-Daniel Couchie, retired Park manager for Pukaskwa National Park of Canada and an expert in resource conservation

-Gaétan Synnott, Parks Canada warden, La Mauricie National Park of Canada.

Please join me in extending your congratulations to the five members of our team who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to preserving our national treasures and to ensuring the safety of the Canadian population.

Alan Latourelle


Update February 15, 2006

Log in to see an update posting on the Members Updates tab about the Officer Safety Hearings.


Update February 3, 2006

Wardens, there has been an update posted in the forum about the status of the new uniform. Forum>The New Warden Uniform>Uniform Discussion>Uniform Update


January 11, 2006

Members, log in and check out the updates at the Members Updates tab. (It is only visible to logged in users - immediately below the NPWA logo at left).

"Hearings resumed in Ottawa today on the appeal of Safety Officer Grundie's 2001 direction which took wardens out of law enforcement. Hearings started in November with the new Appeals Officer Douglas Malanka. This hearing is a re-enactment of Cadieux hearing resulting from a Federal Court of Appeal decision overturning Cadieux in May 2005."

International Rangers Federation

The International Rangers Federation are seeking nominations for the posts of International Officers and Regional Representatives. Click the IRF link to learn more

North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association

Message from the Region 1 Director putting out a request for NAWEOA Newsletter Submissions. Click the NAWEO link

November 25, 2005

Click here to go to the memorial webpage for Tom Linke where donations can be made and messages of condolence can be left.

November 14, 2005

It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of a very special husband, father, colleague, and friend

Tom Linke.

Tom, in the prime of his young life had a successful career as a National Park Warden, with everything going for him. Then suddenly his world was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1998. He courageously battled this disease with incredible strength and remained positive and witty throughout each and every surgery. His beautiful and warm smile will live forever in our hearts. Tom will truly be missed by all. Our wish for him is that the Lord bless him, keep him and provide him with peace forever.

Tom leaves behind his lovely wife Jennifer, and his two beautiful children Andrea and Nicholas.

Although details are not entirely complete, visitation will occur on Sunday, November 13, 2005 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at:

Reid's Funeral Home

14 Russell Street

Leamington, ON N8H 1T8

(519) 326-2631

The funeral service will take place at:

Leamington United Mennonite Church

78 Oak Street East

Leamington, ON N8H 2C6

For those who wish to make a charitable donation in Tom's name, they may forward to the following or contact Reid's Funeral Home.

Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada

Leamington District Memorial Hospital

For more information, please contact Reid's Funeral Home or visit the following website:

Mary McKeen

Point Pelee National Park of Canada


October 19 2005

Kluane wardens receive national recognition

By Matthew Grant, Whitehorse Star, October 11, 2005

Two park wardens from the Haines Junction area have received national recognition for their search and rescue efforts.

Kluane National Park wardens Rick Staley and Lloyd Freese have received a 2005 Search and Rescue Certificate of Achievement from the National Search and Rescue Secretariat (NSRS).

The certificates were awarded to six people across the country and were given out during the four-day SARSCENE 2005 national search and rescue workshop which finished Saturday in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

In an interview this morning, Staley said he felt honoured to receive the award

"I feel honoured and humbled. My perspective of the award is it is more of a team thing than an individual thing (but) I guess they had to give it to someone."

He said he’s made a number of rescues and recoveries over the years including the rescue of a Whitehorse man from a mountain top last year, and has found the work rewarding.

"When you save a life, that’s something that sticks out in your mind.

"Those sorts of things mean more to me than recovery work," he said.

Freese could not be reached for comment.

Both men have twice been recognized with honorary testimonials from the Royal Canadian Humane Association and twice with Parks Canada Awards of Excellence.

NSRS executive director Jean Murray said both Staley and Freese deserved to be recognized for their efforts.

"(Staley’s) hard work and dedication to search and rescue in working with schools to promote avalanche awareness and mountain travel safety an in organizing training sessions for the Kluane Search and Rescue Group," Murray said.

Staley has worked as a park warden for nearly 25 years, mainly at Kluane, and his duties also include resource management and law enforcement. He also heads the park’s public safety program.

"Lloyd Freese is one among many whose commitment to search and rescue continues to inspire new generations of volunteers. It is the dedication and record of achievement of all those working in the search and rescue field that we honour with these awards," Murray said.

Freese is a senior park warden at Kluane.


June 20th - Senate Report says arm border guards Article here...


June 2 - Featured Commentary From the Editor of Blueline Magazine

Parks Canada decision patently unreasonable

by Morley Lymburner

Parks Canada management has been slapped with a federal appeal court decision which described its intransigent attitude toward firearms for wardens as "patently unreasonable."

The pages of Blue Line Magazine have been strewn with many stories on the subject over the past five years. This final swipe by the appeal court, Justice Marshall Rothstein, should put Parks Canada management on notice that it needs an attitude adjustment. The judge in the matter could have used a lot of descriptors for management's attitude. In fact, he could have been neutral by simply telling them to go back and try again, but he chose the precise words that everyone who's spoken to Parks Canada management might have used.

"Patently unreasonable" really means something like stubborn and uniquely so. There are not many government agencies who could continue on under such withering criticism, but this department has certainly shown stiff resolve. It is a pity this resolve can not be re-directed in a way that is not so expensive for taxpayers.

The absurd decisions made in order to keep 400 wardens from wearing sidearms has been nothing short of an "Alice in Wonderland" tale. We were introduced to the problem in May 2000 while researching a story about the warden service in Canada. After it ran, I checked into a federal parks office and was greeted by a group of supervisors, who presented arguments against their wardens being armed. It was obvious their hearts were not really in the interview. One frustrated supervisor simply stopped in mid-sentence and gave me the Q&A sheet that was supplied by head office.

The initial ruling by Human Resources Development Canada - Labour Program advised that something should be done to protect wardens while they conducted enforcement functions was appealed. It was decided officers were not in "danger," as the word is understood by legislation, but in a confusing turn, Parks Canada was advised to do something to protect wardens.

Instead of simply arming them with sidearms, it chose to advise wardens not to do any enforcement activities. RCMP officers, already in short supply, were asked to take over this function. Although the Mounties liked the idea of getting an extra $33 million a year, getting qualified staff was another issue entirely.

Officers who were experts in drug interdiction or customs violations were now donning a uniform, getting a hair cut, taking up posts in a bush lot and told to keep a lookout for anything resembling a bad guy. The over simplistic rule was, if its flora or fauna. the wardens handle it; if it includes anything to do with humans, the RCMP handle it. Life was made interesting, and there were a few more twists for the Mounties. If it happens outside a park in Ontario, only the OPP handle it; in Quebec you can't even stop a car in the park for speeding or it will look like Ottawa is challenging Quebec's sovereignty.

Another twist to this tale came out of British Columbia, where a park warden took a leave of absence to work as an outfitter and guide. He was surprised to learn that he could apply to carry a sidearm, did so and was granted the authority. When performing duties in wilderness areas, park wardens - federally appointed peace officers - are prohibited from carrying these same firearms. Ironically, if he came back to work, donned a uniform and patrolled, he would have to do so without a sidearm. The other strange fact is that he could patrol with a rifle in a far more insecure fashion than a pistol, but the rifle is not for human consumption.

Other anomalies abound. Ministry of the environment officers can carry guns, as can federal fisheries officers. Provincial counterparts almost everywhere can carry sidearms. What lines are being drawn here?

So where does reason take a holiday when it comes to park wardens. Where ever it goes, it has lots of company. The same issues plague officers in the Canadian Border Services Agency, who also must stop random vehicles to see what nefarious activities the occupants might be up to. Both agencies must fight a bureaucracy that says their jobs are not "dangerous" under the meaning of some federal statute. It was this smallest dissection of this word that the Federal Court of Appeal has thrown back at Parks Canada senior management. They have been told to take a reality check instead of dealing with the semantics of a word.

"Patently unreasonable." Now there is a judge who chose his words carefully, but none other could better describe the attitude that runs rampant in Parks Canada's ivory tower.

© Copyright 2004 Blue Line Magazine. All Rights Reserved.


 Download the Federal Court of Appeal Ruling on the bottom of this page...


Contact The NPWA

Federal Court of Appeal Ruling


Download the FCA Ruling Here