When I was young I dreamed of being a forest ranger. Mom would take me to Banff National Park evening interpretive programs on family vacations. The nights were cold and there would be mosquitoes to slap. In those pre-Internet days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, picture shows were done with slide projectors and wispy audio. One night a cat walked back-and-forth in front of the projector obscuring part of the show.
I am not sure mom was as interested as I (maybe the campfire talks stopped the sibling squabbling for a couple of hours bracket) but those outings left me with a love of wildlife and national parks that’s never dimmed.
Fast forward a few decades and I’m an accountant-turned-travel writer who never became a forest ranger with the nifty wide-brimmed hat. With the wisdom of hindsight I realize I would have hated long days in the saddle. But I recently discovered The Wardens, a musical group that showed me what my life might have been like if I had followed my childhood yearnings.
The hobby has become much more as The Wardens perform a multimedia presentation across western Canada that include songs written by the trio, slides from their many years in Canada’s first national park, and stories about what it’s like on the other side of the badge.
The Wardens have released a new album, Sleeping Buffalo, to commemorate the recent return of bison (also called buffalo) to Banff National Park. The return of bison after almost 140 years is a big deal for first Nations communities who call the buffalo a brother and for park managers who are filling a hole in the ecosystem.
This album shares the emotion The Wardens feel for this momentous occasion at the park they dedicated their lives to protecting. If you’ve ever dreamt of being a forest ranger or are curious about Sleeping Buffalo check out performance dates and album info at http://www.banffwardens.com
Also published on Medium.