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Park wardens are responsible for implementing natural resource management, public safety, and law enforcement programs within Canada’s national parks system. They are involved in a variety of activities, including assisting scientists with research, monitoring wildlife, capturing and relocating animals when necessary, making public presentations, liaising with visitors, and providing first aid and search and rescue support. Park wardens use their educational background and work experience to monitor ecological concerns and maintain the environmental health of Canada’s national parks.
At a glanceImagine you are very slowly and very quietly approaching a 130-kilogram female grizzly bear. You are a park warden in Jasper National Park and you know how careful you have to be around these bears. This grizzly is a little anxious: she has been caught in one of your snares and has a cable wrapped around one of her feet to keep her in place. Once you are close enough, you shoot the bear with a tranquilizer dart. Within minutes, she is asleep. With the huge predator temporarily immobilized, you motion to the park's chief wildlife biologist that it is safe to approach. You help the wildlife biologist take some quick measurements and attach a GPS collar, after which you retrieve your tranquilizer dart and remove the snare from her leg. When the bear wakes up, she will be free to carry on, and you will be off on another task. As a park warden, you monitor and manage wildlife. This week, you are helping wildlife biologists attach Global Positioning System (GPS) collars to some of the grizzly bears that live in the park. This is the first year GPS collars will be used in Jasper and you're excited about the possibilities. These new collars use satellites to pinpoint and record the bears? location several times a day. Biologists can download this data and map the bears? movement, which will contribute to long-term management and conservation plans. For your job, though, you are more interested in the advantages of being able to tell at any moment precisely where a collared grizzly is. You will be able to see when bears are near hiking trails and warn visitors to be cautious or stay away. Or if one of these bears starts hanging around campgrounds and becomes a threat, it will be easy to find it with the GPS collar and relocate it to another area of the park. Considering that one of your major functions as a park warden is to protect wildlife and humans from each other, these GPS collars will certainly make your job easier.
Job dutiesDuties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as a park warden:
- Implement and monitor plans for resource management, vegetation management, and fire management.
- Enforce the Canada National Parks Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.
- Investigate complaints of non-compliance with natural resource laws, including polluting waters, destroying fish and wildlife habitat, importing endangered or non-native species, and poaching.
- Prepare files for court briefings, continuity of evidence, and consultations with the Crown Prosecutor.
- Conduct administration of Crown land, including road allowances, land issues, intercept feeding, and lake stocking.
- Advise the public on safety issues, for example campfires and potentially dangerous wildlife.
- Review and prepare documents according to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
- Supervise and conduct search and rescue operations when required
Work environmentPark wardens work in a variety of locations, including: In the office:
- Preparing paperwork and documenting complaints and actions taken
- Updating wildlife and other park databases
- Communicating on the phone and in meetings with government departments and the public
- Patrolling areas and investigating complaints
- Monitoring and enforcing compliance with environmental regulations, and issuing tickets to offenders
- Responding to emergency situations
Where to workMost park wardens are employed by national parks and federal agencies responsible for environmental legislation and enforcement
Education & requirementsIf you are a high school student considering a career as a park warden, you should have strong marks or an interest in:
- Physical Education/Outdoor Education
- Legal Studies
- Renewable Resource Management
- Natural Resource Management
- Fish and Wildlife
- Ecosystem Management
- Biology and Environmental Studies