New Fish and Wildlife Officer Catlin Gerard ready to get to work in the Crowsnest Pass. Nick Allen photo.
Nicholas L. M. Allen
Jun 21, 2023
“Everyone in the Pass has been super friendly, super nice and chatty.”
The Crowsnest Pass has a newly appointed Fish and Wildlife Officer in the district.
Catlin Gerard, the new Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officer, spoke about taking over from John Clarke and the legacy left behind by the previous officers who held his position and what makes him a good fit for the area.
He recognized there is a lot of history with the Fish and Wildlife presence in the Pass and credited Kirk Olchowy and Clarke for the work they have done as district officer over the years.
“When they got that dog program going... that’s huge for community relations and I think you just can’t work here without that. I would definitely say the predecessors I had made it easier to come in and have established community-type policing,” said Gerard.
Gerard is originally from Plamondon, a small hamlet in northern Alberta near Lac La Biche. He explained how he grew up outdoors which gave him the passion to pursue being a fish and wildlife officer as a career.
“I went to Lakeland College and then over to Lethbridge to finish my degree. I bounced around seasonally in Alberta Fish and Wildlife and did some consulting for wildlife biology for oil and gas,” said Gerard.
In 2017, he got a full-time position with Fish and Wildlife. Gerard started his career in Slave Lake where he got the opportunity to work with plenty of fisherman, but it wasn’t the career path he wanted to stick on. He said he has a passion for wildlife, especially doing predator work.
“It’s not by accident I ended up here. After about three years in Slave Lake, an opportunity opened in Grande Cache for a transfer, so I ended up transferring there and another opportunity came up to promote and then became the district officer,” explained Gerard.
The community of Grande Cache offers a similar type of enforcement area as the Crowsnest Pass according to Gerard. He said the location in the mountains offered many of the same wildlife conflict situations as well as a substantial amount of river fishing. After four years, he felt he needed to move to somewhere with “a little more happening” with the seclusion of Grande Cache.
“Ever since I was in college, I always liked this corner of the province. Originally, Pincher [Creek] was kind of where I was thinking, mainly because I wasn’t sure about Blairmore and how long that was going to be before an opening came,” explained Gerard, “When I found out that John [Clarke] was going to retire, it piqued my interest.”
He ended up putting in for a transfer down to the Pass and is “super pumped” to be here. Gerard explained he is looking forward to learning about the area and the people here.
“Everyone in the Pass has been super friendly, super nice and chatty,” he said.
According to Gerard, he is anticipating being a game warden amongst the combination of cattle farming, hunting and predators in the area. He spoke about how this has been his dream since he was young, having read books about a fictional game warden in Montana.
“It’s about a game warden in a small mountain town and it brings me back to dealing with the locals and creating that community relations aspect of this job, which I enjoy very much,” said Gerard.
He added the community has always been well educated, but he added as a reminder to the public the Report a Poacher line is their call centre for any Fish and Wildlife concerns. The number, 1-800-642-3800, is not only for enforcement but also for any serious wildlife conflict issues. To contact the local detachment during office hours, call 403-562-3289.