Today’s post comes from Rebecca Rogge, Travel Resource Manager for the Northeast Zone.
I started working for the Northeast Area Resource Management Program in 2011. It seems like a lifetime ago.
At the time, it was a relatively new job at Ontario Parks. The program had only been around for a few years and few of us existed.
Several parks were created in 1999, most of which were “non-operational” provincial parks. They generally do not have facilities or dedicated staff. Many protect recreational waterways and nature reserves protect rare flora, fauna and geological landscapes.
This is where we, resource managers, spend most of our time. In these wonderfully beautiful and diverse places.
So what do we do?
Resource managers are like traveling forest rangers. From time to time, ranger students, who travel from park to park, also come with us. We document, map, provide education, and enforce rules in these largely underdeveloped places.
We are the eyes and ears of the park managers and the “boots on the ground.”
In the Northeast, we can work anywhere from Muskoka to James Bay, from the Quebec border to Lake Superior. It is a challenging job as we are in a new place almost every day.
It takes time to get to know these places: from reading management plans, looking at maps, talking to superintendents, planners and ecologists. So many moving pieces.
Removal of garlic mustard, an invasive species, from Killbear Provincial Park
All that said, it is very rewarding. We get to see a lot of what Ontario Parks has to offer and experience. We do a variety of things including:
- Installation of fences for species at risk.
- transport cleaning
- camp and trail mapping
- eliminate invasive plants
Get off the train to start a trip along the Missinaibi River
Given the remoteness of the places where we work, we must be self-sufficient and well prepared. Today you could take a canoe to work, tomorrow an all-terrain vehicle, next week a train or a plane.
Some memorable moments from my career as a resource manager include rescuing an exhausted, drowning fawn and helping several lost hikers and canoeists. These were some of the most rewarding.
I’ve cleared trails in remote parks after a storm blocked many transportation, and I’ve completed a train canoe trip on the Missinaibi River (our longest provincial park and a Canadian heritage-designated river).
Clearing trails is a never-ending process.
In my second season, a note was left on my truck at a pre-arranged trash pickup location warning me to watch the sky as a storm warning was in effect. Just as I finished clearing the Talon Chutes Portage for the next canoe race on the Mattawa River, a storm blew in and my partner and I took shelter as the trees around us and the rain made it almost impossible to see.
Ten minutes later, the storm passed, leaving us again to clear more fallen trees in the most difficult transport on this historic fur trade route.
most memorable moment
More recently, my colleagues and I helped firefighters put out wildfires in Lake Noganosh Provincial Park caused by abandoned campfires. We picked up the crew from a helicopter that landed on the side of the road and boated them and their equipment to the site.
Last season, my colleagues and I helped ensure public safety during the Parry Sound 33 wildfire near the French River, ensuring closed roads near the fire remained closed.
This year’s plan
This season, a student and I will be doing a lot of work assessing and removing invasive species in our parks. These plants are responsible for reducing biodiversity in these special places.
You can’t be afraid to get wet in this line of business.
Oh the places you’ll go
Since we started in 2007, the Resource Manager Program has changed a lot.
We are no longer just a handful of individuals in an unknown position in the northeast. Resource managers are now located in other regions of Ontario parks.
Installation of a new fence to protect species at risk
Over the years, many of my colleagues have become planners, conservation officers, and park superintendents.
The next time you see us in the field, don’t hesitate to come say hello and learn a little more about what we are doing in the area.