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Photo: The waterway that separates Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, as well as Canada and the United States. We stopped for lunch at the State Forest near the little town of Alpena, which is at the head of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. After dinner a thunder storm snuck in, quickly drowning the campsite and downing a lot of branches in the park.
We ran into some local fishers who informed us that the lake is so polluted from the industry in Bay City that there’s now no way they would swim in it, which made us wonder about the fish they were taking. The morning was cloudy but humid as we left the lake, driving south on the back roads, which would take us back to the shoreline quick more quickly. Tagged alpena, black river, chemical alley, cheyboygen state park, harrisville state park, lake huron, lake michigan, lake superior, paort saniklac, port huron, sault ste. Photo: An uptight OPP officer has me assume the position after I lipped him off at a Canada Day celebration in Kenora.
As we pulled out of the Canada Day celebration in Kenora we employed our GPS, Susan, to find our way to Keewatin.
We walked the four blocks to Lisa’s place, arriving at what is one of the most spectacular properties I’ve seen in a long time.
Lisa and her husband, Gerry, are unabashed and, in some capacities, official, ambassadors for the area. We walked back to the unit after the fire works but there was still quite a bit of Canada Day partying going on so Janice decided we were going to head for the Walmart instead. In the morning we drove to the Acinabe Campgrounds at Kenora where, due to the holiday weekend, we were relegated to an overflow site. It was hot and humid when we got back to camp so Janice and I went swimming again about ten o’clock and then sat around in wet bathing suits until bedtime. In the morning, while I did my blogging, Janice went to drop off her Vietnamese Coriander plant for Lisa, in return for her hospitality. We lucked into outstanding weather for our couple of days in Kenora but we set back out on the Trans Canada under heavy rain, and most of the day was spent battling another monstrous thunder and lightning storm. We had planned to get an oil change in Dryden, but had to wait until the next day, so we drove out of town a short way to Thunder Lake at Aaron Provincial Park, where we got thoroughly drenched.
The north shore of Lake Superior, according to all accounts, is an area we should spend some time exploring so, as it was a glorious sunny day, we re-booked our space at Happy Land and spent the day exploring Thunder Bay. We continued eastward the next day along the lakeshore but it was foggy, and we couldn’t get much of a view of the famed Sleeping Giant. Photo: Janice at at the lookout at Quimett Canyon, following the hottest bike ride ever and an hour or so before her first dip in Lake Superior. Later we stopped at a cool little town called Red Rock where we tried to convince the gatekeeper at a private marina to let us camp there for the night.
I’ve always imagined the Great Lakes to be polluted, grey and rather featureless, surrounded by smoke-spewing industry. We camped right on the beach at Rainbow Provincial Park, very near the tiny town of Rossport. Lake Superior is three or four hundred feet deep in many areas and is at the top of the food chain, flowing into Lake Michigan, which flows into Lake Huron, then Lake Eerie and finally into Lake Ontario. We awoke to a beautiful morning and took a hike to the lookout before hooking up and heading out for White Sand Lake Provincial Park. We had planned to stay at Pancake Bay the next night but their only remaining site was too small for our rig so we stayed at Batchawana, near popular Pancake Bay Provincial Park.
While driving south along the shoreline of Lake Superior today we were reminded of Hawaii: beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. Since posting this blog I’ve had a few people comment that I was perhaps waxing too poetic about the Great Lakes, too many superlatives. Not thinking ahead, we had decided to head into the States via Sault Ste Marie, on a Saturday. We crossed the border into the US without incident, save for the red pepper the customs officer made us forfeit. Tagged 000 islands, 14, aaron provincial park, acinabe campgrounds, batchawana, dryden, good sam park at wawa, great lakes, happy land rv park, kakebeka falls, keewatin, kenora, lake huron, lake of the woods, lake superior, marina park, neys provinical park, north shore lake superior, ouimett canyon park, ouimett falls, pancake bay provincial park, rainbow falls provincial park, red rock, rossport, sault ste.
After graduation Walter worked in the North Bay District from 1972 until 1974 as a Resource Technician in Fish and Wildlife. Walter’s most recent position was District Intelligence and Investigative Specialist.
We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of Chantel Walkey, Mike Maguire and Bruce Stubbs. We would also like to thank all the people who have given us their support throughout this very difficult time-especially those who have worked closely with my father and have become more family than co-workers over the years. I can recall my father telling me many stories of his youth and all have focuses on his love of nature. Over the years he committed himself- vehemently at times- to protecting things he felt we could not afford to lose, from marsh and wetlands to woodlots and deeryards. It was a year before I could get to go with him to see it and in that time he would expound the beauty and importance of this site. I know that he had recently been working on his own time to have this area protected so protected so that another of nature’s wonder could be maintained for all to come. Now with his passing he is unable to see this project of his through and I would ask anyone able to help us to protect the last place my father felt we could not afford to lose- in His memory.
Wally started his career with the Ministry of Natural Resources in 1972 and worked as a Conservation Officer here in the Sault Ste Marie District since January 1975.From his very first day here he acquired knowledge of the local area. He knew about every fish, spawning area, every deer yards, past and present all of the flowers, trees, nesting sites, ferns, staging areas, birds, trails, waterfalls, mushrooms and everything else connected to the great outdoors. Walter was dedicated to his profession and no one was surprised when last year he turned down early retirement . There was only one thing that was more important to Wally than his job and love of the great outdoor and that was his son Matthew.
The crew had just headed out to the waiting helicopter at the slipway next door, and I had a moment to relax after rushing around organizing the equipment and briefing the crew before that day’s flight. As I stood at the wall map I heard a radio transmission, but was not close enough to hear it clearly. My name is Jacques Landry, and I am the Fish and Wildlife Technical Specialist in Sault Ste.
Our aviation service has been shocked by the loss of one of their yellow birds, and deeply saddened by the loss of their chief helicopter pilot Mike McGuire, and for our part Sault Ste.
The District office reopened last Thursday and those staff who had returned were attempting to get back into work but it was far from business as usual and it will be some time before things return to anything near normal.
Moose Aerial Inventories are a part of our regular work program in the Sault as we cover 4 Wildlife Management Units. I have been intimately involved in the planning and coordinating of these surveys for a number of years, and this year was no exception. We have already heard from Bob and Kip who delivered touching tributes to Mike, Wally, Chantelle and Bruce. He’d had less opportunity in recent years to get involved in these sorts of projects due to the shift in enforcement priorities, which resulted in Conservation Officers doing less management, oriented work. Over the ten days that the survey had been underway, I got to know Mike as we talked over the telephone each morning regarding the weather, determining if we would fly or not, and planning the flight for the day.
Monday, Jan 20th, a high-pressure system finally moved in clearing the weather and the day’s flight proceeded. The crew completed five plots that day and when the helicopter returned to the slipway that afternoon I waited for the crew to come back into the office so we could review the data.
On Tuesday, January 21st, I arrived at the office early as the individual scheduled to navigate that day had come down with the flu the previous evening and was not sure he would be able to fly this morning.
The navigator called to say he was still not well enough to fly and I started to look for an alternate. Mike McGuire called to say that he was so sure that we would be flying on such a perfect day that he had gone ahead and had the helicopter fueled and was ready to go.
I joined Wally and a few other staff in the coffee room where the windows face west and the helicopter would be seen approaching from the Sault Airport.
As we watched the helicopter approach from the west and land at the slipway, Bruce and Chantelle joined us. In those quiet moments of reflection in the days following this tragedy, I often wondered what kind of morning the crew had experienced while working plots GH22-01 and GH22-02.
My answer came this past Thursday when the plot maps recovered from the site came back into my possession.
For those of you who have taken part in surveys you know this is what moose surveys are all about – a textbook day. I salute them for the professionalism, the dedication, and the enthusiasm that they brought to this project, and to their employment with the Ministry of Natural Resources. The events of this tragic day, and more importantly the memories of these co-workers, will remain etched in my mind for the rest of my days. I transferred to Wawa as a Conservation Officer in 1975, not long after Walter Ceolin had been hired (1974) as a CO in Sault Ste. We used to hold fish check stations annually at Agawa Bay, in Lake Superior Provincial Park.
Up until the mid-1980s there were heavy spawning runs of rainbow trout on the Lake Superior tributaries. After I moved to the Sault to work in commercial fisheries enforcement, I had the chance to work with Walter more often, mostly involving night work looking for jacklighters around the time of the deer hunt. One other night, we had spent most of our time in some deer fields near Desbarats, east of Sault Ste.
Actually, it’s not so much the professional Walter that I remember, but the personal Walter. To my knowledge Walter never put his hand to anything without doing an expert job at it, and if he took an interest in something he would make a point to study up on it. Mike Hamilton and I were in the first supertruck to leave the burial at Mount Pleasant cemetery on the Gordon Lake Road. Knowing Walter, I recognized this was going to turn into an adventure so I decided I would take my son Luke along. I had mistakenly thought that we were going to dig up three trees somewhere on Walter’s property. As events in January unfolded many of us came to acknowledge that sometimes there is a very fine line between good luck and a disaster. I was again brought to realize how small the ranks of Ontario’s conservation officers really are. In a few short hours my knowledge of photography increased exponentially as I sat beside Ben Attard; waiting and finally watching an illegal moose being removed from an aircraft during Operation Storybook. If you wanted the adrenalin rush of your life then you had to try chasing deer jack lighters through the Rainy River District with Dave Forrester at the wheel. Russell Maa and Ed Blackstar were your go-to guys if you needed information on some violator residing in the Thunder Bay area. What little I know about undercover operations was learned in the field alongside Gary Warner as we infiltrated a deer hunting camp in south eastern Ontario.
Walter had many stories, so many in fact, that he chose the appropriate narrative to suit the person he was talking to. After much bantering and promises of things we were going to get done, it was time to get back to our respective investigations.
The Ontario Conservation Officers Association would like to thank the various enforcement agencies who were in attendance Officer Ceolin’s funeral. Many of Walter’s close friends and co-workers were involved in the organizing and participating in the funeral as well as well as assisting at other vigils and services. Although the guestbooks have been referred to and various queries made, I am sure the list of agencies is incomplete, for which I take full and sole responsibility, please accept my apologizes. By clicking Confirm bid, you are committing to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder, giving your express consent to share your contact information with the seller and authorizing the seller to contact you regarding this vehicle or similar vehicles.
By clicking Confirm bid, you are committing to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder and have read and agree to the Global Shipping Program terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. By clicking 1 Click Bid, you commit to buy this item from the seller if you're the winning bidder. Customs and Border Protection officer a few questions to establish your citizenship and the purpose of your trip. Lawful Permanent Residents can continue to use their Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) or other valid evidence of permanent residence status. We saw a couple of idyllic little picnic spots along the highway where we could have stopped for a swim but, foolishly impatient as I am, I had assumed there would be more along the way.

After lunch we continued south to Harrisville State Parkwhere the water was colder and choppy. One neighbour had a small tree come down right next to his trailer, the top resting on one of his camp chairs.
We went for a bike ride around the park and then drove south to Tawas City where we stopped in at the MacDonald’s so I could use the wifi to do my blog.
Back at camp we hosed ourselves down with the trailer’s outdoor shower before dinner before being driven inside by approaching thunder storms. We stopped for lunch at Port Sanilac, utilizing a public marina picnic table, and then followed the scenic waterfront route to Port Huron’s Township RV Park. It was the Canada Day long weekend and the campgrounds were mostly full, so we called Lisa, the sister of our friends Janice (Tweetie) and Art, from  Langley, BC. That town is an attractive, historic little place, but the streets are particularly narrow and, in many cases, steep. Built in 1889, it’s a very tastefully and authentically decorated, fully restored, period home that graces the waterfront at Keewatin, on Lake of the Woods.
On top of cooking us a very memorable gourmet meal, they were also in the position to provide all the straight goods for the region.
That was OK, it was a nice place, and we swam at the beach before Gerry and Lisa picked us up. Now, having seen the place that Art and Tweetie built together and lived in thirty-odd-years ago, it will be with newfound interest that we listen to stories of their tales of their past in Kenora.
We followed the storms to Dryden, Ontario, where the weather cleared a little but, disappointingly, the damp air was still dank with the noxious, sulfurous stench of the pulp mill. I took my glasses off for this shot and then, after they’d found their way to the ground, Janice stepped on them. We walked all around the bricks and mortar downtown, stopped for a forgettable donair sandwich at a side street cafe and then resumed our foot tour of Marina Park on the mostly industrialized waterfront. There were signs warning not to take any vehicle more than twenty-five feet in length up the extremely steep, curving road to the summit and the trailheads.
So, I could hardly believe the clarity of the water, the greens and blues, the immensity of Lake Superior. We stopped for lunch at White Sand Lake and took a hike to where we could see the lake from above. We had thought we might overnight there but we weren’t too impressed with it so we continued on to Obatanga Provincial Park. The beaches are white sand and the water is shallow, therefore causing the water to be a little warmer. First we stopped at a mall on the Canadian side to pick up a few items we thought we might not be able to get on the sparsely inhabited western shore of Lake Huron. Ever since his childhood he was enthralled with the natural world around him- and with that fascination came a deep and heartfelt need to protect it at all costs. About how it was likely one of the only glacially formed falls in Northern Ontario made entirely of white pudding stone and how it was surrounded by – and important to- so many plants and animals he held dear. He would often say that the things we do as human being are great and at times amazing but never compare to or replace those things that mother nature has created for us to marvel at and enjoy. He always emphasized the importance, of, and was able to achieve that magic balance between his management and enforcement duties. He quickly became the resident expert in everything and anything to do with natural resources. Whenever he dealt with hunters, anglers, trappers or members of the public he treated them all equally and with respect He never said a bad word about them, or anyone else. It wasn’t just his dedication, it was his love for the job and the fact he had so much fun doing it. The moose survey in Wildlife Management Unit 35 had been underway for almost two weeks but progress had been slow, hampered by poor weather. Those of you involved in moose surveys know how hectic it can be in the moments leading up to a flight. I want to take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you to our MNR family and to the entire OPS for the incredible support we have received during this most difficult time. What I observed were staff emerging from the initial shock of this terrible accident, and attempting to come to grips with the reality of this tragedy. Each year when I would send out an e-mail recruiting volunteers for an upcoming survey, there would be no shortage of individuals who wanted to participate in flying surveys, especially new staff who had not flown them in the past. They gave you some insights into each of these individuals and I would like to add some further insights from my involvement with them in this project.
Actually, if you really want to get to know someone spend 8 weeks on a picket line with them.
Shortly after her arrival she approached me and told me that she was interested in getting involved in Fish and Wildlife projects.
She also got involved in the bear bait line project, learned the ropes, and took that project over as well.
It was his first time working for MNR and he was involved in a variety of fisheries projects in the District. He first contacted me in early November of last year to let me know that he would be flying this year’s survey.
We were forced to cancel the flights due to the weather and when I called to advise them they were both disappointed. He had not realized how much was involved, and sexing those moose from the air was not as easy as he thought.
Chantelle and Bruce were already there and as soon as I walked in they asked if the flight was on. Wally was bragging about having had two breakfasts that morning – one at home and the other on the way to work.
I was nervous about viewing them, but as I did I took some comfort in what I saw and could not help but smile. I had boarded the Algoma Central train at Hawk Junction and rode the baggage car south to Sault Ste.
He drove me to his home where some kind of family function was going on, fed me, and later drove me to the bus stop in Echo Bay to get me home again. One spring, the Sault officers and Wawa officers decided to hold a joint blitz to catch poachers, on all the rainbow trout streams from Wawa down along the coast to Goulais Bay.
I always looked forward to dropping in at his home on the way back from an evening of fishing. You could tell by the way he talked, and in the way he showed off every new piece of artwork that Matt produced. As we drove by, Mike remarked that with the grave being right beside the road, it would become a good spot to park and have a cup of tea with Walter. As I pour a coffee and look out through my front window, my eyes fall upon two clumps of birches.
First order of business when we arrived at Walter’s was the sit down at the kitchen table and the cup of tea to discuss events which were of importance on that day.
Not a good plan said Walter, he knew a better place where it was easier to get the trees and all the roots. Most officers can relate flying stories involving unexpected weather, mechanical failures or a slight error in judgement, but we managed to get home safely.
Many officer, with careers still ahead of them, have passed away in the past twenty years; some by tragedy, the majority by cancer.
Many of us are the sole repositories of some of Walter’s tidbits of history, problem solving or the antics of a violator. As usual, his timing was impeccable, I had been hunkered down all day going through an information to obtain a search warrant when the phone rang. A special thanks to the Sault Ste Marie Police Service who provided traffic control as well as a Drill Master for the mustering of officers.
Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount. Merchant Mariner Document when travelling in conjunction with official Maritime business or U.S. Did you know that the town on the American side of the border, across the channel from Sault Ste.
After pulling up camp we continued south along the lakeshore, hardly able to believe all the luminous light blues of the water. We toured the town on our bikes, stopping for an ice cream and then going for a swim in the chilly water before we had a nap. Janice went to the nearby Walmart for supplies where she got some help with her Spanish from the Greeter there. Huge Dow Chemical oil refineries and other chemical mega projects line the shore as far as the eye can see. We had never met Lisa but she immediately invited us to dinner at her place in Keewatin, the sister city to Kenora, and we readily accepted.
We got him to pose with me so that my buddy Bill wouldn’t get too bored with what he describes as the ‘milk and cookies’ aspect of the blog.
We ran smack into a Canada Day Parade and had to do a little steep uphill reversing with the unit. The grounds, true to the original landscaping, have the effect of taking one back in time, as columns, trellises and grand staircases lead the visitor off the enormous deck, down several grassy levels, to the wharf. There were several other over-nighters already on the lot, but, when we bedded down, we noticed that there was annoyingly loud music issuing from the store’s garden centre. We all boated to the island where we spent a brilliantly sunny summer day in another fantastic setting, with a lot of friendly and interesting people. We knew he had been diagnosed with cancer a couple of months earlier but understood that he was doing well. We found Happy Land RV Park just a kilometer up the road with a pool, hot tub, wifi, full hook-ups, nice showers and washrooms, all for $38.00. It was made even more memorable by our first-ever experience with fireflies, amazing little creatures that we don’t have out west. After dinner we Skyped with my mom and then with JR, whom I’ve played with in several bands over the years. Having lived in BC for 59 of my 61 years, I guess I’ve become rather smug about BC possessing the best of Canada’s natural beauty — blissful in my western, provincial ignorance as it turns out. I knew beforehand that it was the largest freshwater lake in the world but I had no idea of the impact it would have on me when I encountered it. Did I mention that Lake Superior is one of the coldest bodies of water you’ll ever find anywhere? Carrying on through another couple of little towns we settled in at Neys Provincial Park, again right on the water, where we walked the beach and rode our bikes. Again, we didn’t really care for the sites or for the minimalist facilities, so we went to the day use area for a swim and then carried on to a Good Sam Park at Wawa.
He felt and knew that once those wonders of nature have been lost they could never be replaced and it was for future generations as much for himself – that he followed his passion protecting and teaching about nature. He was a skilled investigator, and was equally adept at carrying out wildlife and fisheries projects. Knowing Wally I am sure if he could have a say in this now, he would tell us he lived a real good life in one of the nicest locales on this earth. Matthew, you and your family can stand proud knowing that your dad was a dedicated professional and that he had such a profound impact on so many.
It came into my field of view from the right and flew out over the river before making a wide turn to the west. I thank you for the opportunity to stand before you today and offer some comments on the tragic events of January 21. The true loss is beginning to sink in and as I’m sure you can appreciate, there is a wide range of emotions coming to the surface. But the risk and danger associated with these surveys is not something that any of us ever dwelled on. I will never forget Chantelle’s antics on the line, and the fun, zest, and energy she brought with her.
He saw these flights as important because of the data we were collecting and he always managed to collect extra data including camp locations, fishing activity, nest locations, timber cutting, or what have you. This year she came to me after reading my recruiting e-mail and said she was not sure how her stomach would fare again this year, but she was going to give it a try. I had not even started thinking about the survey at that point, I was still busy wrapping up other work but Mike was eager. Bruce had been up for one flight the previous week, but Wally had not yet flown this survey.
I gave the laptop a final check and made sure the maps and other equipment were ready to go.
They had been working 2 low-density plots – where we expect to see 5 or less moose per plot.
In the blink of an eye lives are taken away from us and the lives of family, friends, co-workers and even strangers are altered forever.
This spirit of generosity and willingness to put himself out for others was characteristic of Walter. Joseph Island, when we ran into a guy in a truck driving once too often past a good spot for deer. At the end of the shift we ended up driving down the Gordon Lake Road shortcut to Walter’s house where I was going to drop him off.

You couldn’t stop in for a quick visit without him sitting you down at the kitchen table and insisting that you have something to eat or drink. Matt painted a large portrait of Walter, coincidentally based on a photograph taken from an earlier moose survey flight. I thought that was a great idea, and I plan to do it often, to stop by and have a chat with Walter on the hillside overlooking the Soo Line Road and the fields where he spent those nights waiting for deer poachers. Not neglecting Luke he queried him about fishing, hunting and school as well as doling out stories and ideas. I am told if you ever pissed Walter off he would switch to his mother tongue, Italian, and let off a few expletives he would never have vocalized in English. He had delivered an ultimatum to the managers, one or the other, but not both and they seemed to have conceded. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable.
We continued down the west side of the lake, staying first at Cheyboygen State Park where the water is very warm and shallow, frolicking in the knee-deep water before dinner, and then had a fire, which followed a remarkable sunset. We also found that the house prices there were alarmingly low – a three-bedroom fixer-upper was just $34,000. Bay City is graced with hundreds of huge old Victorian wood frame houses, homes to shipping magnates from an earlier era.
Eventually we scouted out a good place to leave the rig, under some big trees, next to the elementary school. We were still trying to dry out last night when another storm rolled over us, taking out the power and ripping the neighbour’s awning from its’ moorings. Later, around the campfire, we listened to our neighbour, a very subdued but masterful guitarist, playing a classical sort of style. By the time we’d had lunch in the parking lot it was downright hot, the sun beating straight down.
The average temperature is forty-five degrees Fahrenheit, year-round or, seven-point-two Celsius for the Canucks and Europeans among us. Luckily, she didn’t stick around too long – something about how she had to ‘get to bed so she could be up with the sun’. The fog rolled in heavily off the lake at sundown so we went inside and watched the first of ten movies I had picked up along the way, all for $10. Wally’s generosity was well known, if you needed something he would lend or give it to you. And speaking of determination, he never gave up trying to catch a poacher or in putting together a difficult investigation . I watched it fly out of sight and left my desk to look at a wall map a short distance away.
Actually, most of us worried about our stomachs during these surveys rather than worrying about the risks. Those who can fly these surveys truly love doing so and look forward to doing so each winter. You were making a mistake if you tried to force your way through our line while she was on picket duty. He was one of those fortunate individuals with a cast iron stomach who was not bothered in the least by the rigors of moose flights. Initially he struck me as rather cocky, and had a smile on his face no matter what the situation. He was chomping at the bit to get going and every time we got a snowfall I would hear that he was ready to get started.
When I called Wally to cancel he told me he had really been looking forward to flying that day. He was impressed by the number of cows and calves on the one plot and how productive the area was. Waiting for word from the navigator I sat and chatted with Bruce, Chantelle, and a couple of other staff members as we watched the sun coming up over the St.
My stomach is not as strong as it use to be but I could not cancel a flight on such a perfect flying day. They had observed 23 moose on the first plot, and 18 moose on the first three flight lines of the second plot up to the point where the survey have been aborted.
Telling you that they had been having a great flight is not meant to detract from the tragedy that befell them in any way, but to reiterate that they died while doing something that they truly loved to do and were passionate about. For a change one evening I went with Walter to the Bar River east of the Sault to stake out the pickerel run in the rapids at Ford’s farm, as it was known then.
His behaviour and some stuff on the passenger seat, led Walter to conclude that he had dropped off a partner who was going to shoot one of the deer feeding on acorns there.
We had just passed a little roadside cemetery, and then the Soo Line Road and the Diamond Lake Road, when we saw a herd of deer in a field.
If you made the mistake of telling him that you had skipped supper, he wouldn’t let you leave till he made something for you.
He couldn’t look at a bee taking nectar on a flower without studying bees and starting his own hives. Obviously, given the proximity of Detroit, many of the fabulous waterfront homes would have been vacation retreats, which, in many cases, because of the recession, had to go. It was on a slight uphill incline but we figured it would be good enough later when we were tired. I guess Lisa and Gerry must have liked us well enough too because they invited us to their brother’s-in-law 60th birthday party the next day on an island off Kenora. He said they were just leaving BC so it would be three or four days before he arrived in Kenora.
Started with the Ministry of Natural Resources in 1971 as a Timber Technician in Whitney as a student. It was through his guardianship of nature that he extended his love best- for it was here he felt it could last on- he often said he wanted his grandchildren to marvel at the majesty of a white pine and wished that everyone for years to come would have the opportunity that he had- to become in awe of what nature had to offer- You could not walk through the forest with him and not be told the name and role of all plants and animals you encountered- and because of this those who knew him will always feel him near whenever we enter nature’s realm.
We will dig deep, regroup, and carry on, but I dare say that life at Sault District will never quite be the same. We have always had every confidence in our pilots and our aircraft and we will continue to do so. Bruce was a picket captain and I was impressed by his ability to stay in control, approaching every situation he was drawn into in his typical calm, cool and collected manner. They told her they were sending her in to check the baits in case a bear was present but she was not deterred in the least. I soon realized that he was just a really happy go lucky guy and nothing seemed to faze him – he always seemed to be smiling no matter what was happening around him. I can remember him telling me on one occasion that he had seen more moose the previous day than the observers had. We would start at 8 o’clock in the morning, pound our feet on the pavement till about supper when our shifts were supposed to end, and then work at least another 4 hours because there was work that needed doing. We parked the truck on a side road, and Walter started high tailing it down to the river, with me right behind him.
Walter dropped me off to wait for the ground hunter, while he ran up to the only bridge to the mainland to see if the driver left. He looked at the old plow furrows in the field in front of his house and then researched the history of every settlement farm around his property. Around Christmas, I had left a bottle of dark rum in his mail slot because he had allowed me onto his property to cut my winter supply of firewood. We were hot so we took a walk down to the jetty hoping we could find a spot to dive into the lake.
He was always ready to pitch in and lend a hand to a neighbour, a fellow officer or a friend.
Wally’s war stories, many of them hilarious, kept those walking the line or huddled around the fire barrels entertained for hours. Joseph Island, where he was the patrol officer for many years, he could recount in great detail all the events and all the people he had ever encountered at every field or two-track bush road that you passed. Within a minute, I ran eyeball-first into a thorn on a hawthorn bush, which dropped me like I’d been pole-axed and put me out of commission for a while.
Sure enough, the guy left the island when he knew Walter was watching him, but then turned around and drove onto the island again and into Walter’s waiting arms.
We found a disused farm lane and hid the truck behind an old building, then staked out the field from a brushy field edge. If he picked up an old woodworking tool like a wooden plane at a farm auction, he bought books and learned all about how wooden planes were made and used. The yard however needed to be broken up with trees placed strategically for a bit more privacy from the street. Although we openly shared information, I am still going to feel half blind when I go to deal with some unfinished business. Bruce came back to the District in 2001 with a permanent job shortly after Chantelle arrived. When I asked him if he was interested in flying he thought about it for about a few seconds and said sure, he’d fly and would take the coming Friday off instead.
The deer could see us, but the wind was from them to us, and some of them gave in to curiosity and walked right up close to check us out. Naturally, many an hour was spent in discussing how the MNR could be better run, but Walter also loved to sit and chat at that kitchen table, to reminisce, or talk about hunting or fishing or wildlife or trees or plants or frogs. Not only that, he would learn about who owned the plane, where and how they lived, and how they used that plane.
Then he stopped to show Luke a grown over path leading to the best bass fishing in the District.
Three technicians would be retiring in the near future and she saw opportunity to take over some of their projects. Figuring out Wally’s days off was much like trying to hit a moving target at the best of times.
We never did find the ground hunter but we heard later that he had spent a real cold night. Looking at the apple trees in front of his house, he learned all about the varieties of apples, and how to graft buds and branches from one tree to another. 3 – We didn’t have a tent and, as his whole family would be there, a tent was pretty well the only option.
I almost wanted to tie her to a chair to keep her still and to tell her to speak very s-l-o-w-l-y. I mentioned that he was not dressed to go up in such cold weather, but he indicated that he would find some appropriate clothes.
It was no surprise to anyone who knew him, that Walter had come in on a day off in order to assist on the aerial moose survey.
He knew every trail in his patrol area as well in the dark as he did in the daytime, and he spent years teaching other officers the same trails and other features in the Sault District.
Walter had good instincts, based on lots of experience, on just where and how to intercept poachers and how to conduct investigations. Of course, you couldn’t landscape the front yard without incorporating some of the local puddingstone, so off into the bush and part way up a cliff we went to find just the right rock.
We got some bottled water at the concession, locked our bikes, went for a shaded hike to Ouimett Falls and then had a fast ride back downhill to the unit. Chantelle would have been bouncing up and down in her seat talking a mile a minute every time she spotted another moose or track.
Then a stop to show me where some of the worst moose violators in the area sometimes camped as well as where a person could set up surveillance. Upon his return home though, due to complications from the cancer treatment, he died suddenly!
He converted his home from a cabin to a house, and built a small barn and a sugar shack and other outbuildings. Bruce was just 51 years old and had been the picture of health and vibrancy just a few months earlier. He was interested in many things and had an extensive library on those subjects, from which you could always borrow a book if you wanted to. I wanted birch, but Walter insisted people under-rated the beauty and importance of tamaracks so I might as well take a few of those. He wanted to be the flight navigator right off the bat and was rather disappointed when I told him that the navigator position was the senior position and that new flyers start in the secondary observer position until they build up hours. Her stomach had been starting to get queasy but then they saw 8 moose on the fourth plot and 14 on the fifth and she forgot all about her stomach. Mike would have been right in there as well, following Wally’s instructions and trying to place the helicopter in the best position to get a good look at the moose observed.
Wanting three trees I returned with over twenty, just in case, as Walter put it, one didn’t survive. He felt he had a lot of experience with moose, and with flying, and would have no problem sexing them from the air which was the navigator’s responsibility.

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