Brendan Cote

by FORP on June 24th, 2013

Ontario Park Warden, Algonquin Provincial Park
Partner and Supporter, 2011, 2012
Although I personally was never an Ontario Ranger, my experiences with the program both on and off the job have been amazing.

My first experience with Ontario Rangers came when I was 21 and starting as a Park Warden at Esker Lakes, where an Ontario Ranger camp was located. The difference the Rangers made even just in Esker Lakes was amazing. They were always lending a hand to the park whenever we needed them, especially in helping out with our annual Blueberry Festival, where the events they planned and facilitated were always a big hit with the campers. Just the mere presence of the Rangers in the park made it a livelier place – it was great seeing all these students working and walking around the park after work, laughing and having just the best summer of their lives. I took an opportunity to talk to the Rangers about working for Ontario Parks and they were all very interested in doing so and furthering themselves in the MNR, as they loved it so much.
The following summer, I was the Canoe Route Tech in the Temagami Backcountry Parks and was very excited to find out that we would be working with the Esker Lakes Rangers for three whole weeks that summer. As our interior crew was diminished to only two guys for the entire group of interior parks, having that crew of twelve Rangers and leaders to help us carve our way through the overgrown portages made a huge different. We worked those Rangers for 8, 9 and 10 hour days, pushing through overgrown trails in pouring rain, bugs and sweltering heat - with not a complaint from any of them. They just kept swinging their sandviks with smiles on their faces and the trails looked like new by the end of those three weeks. On one of the trips, the girls paddled their canoes into a stiff headwind for three hours until reaching the campsites we were destined for. The dedication from the Rangers and their leaders was simply amazing. We could not have accomplished nearly what we did that summer if it weren’t for the help of the Esker Lakes Ontario Rangers.
The Ranger leaders from Esker Lakes, who I have now known for two years, are the most fun, tight-knit and wonderful bunch of girls I know. The love they had for not only their jobs, but the park, each other and the Rangers they supervised every year was just incredible. Knowing how much they loved it there, I also know how devastated they are because of the cancellation of the program. It is a crime to take away the best part of the lives of returning Ranger staff and prevent young people in the future from even having the chance to experience being a Ranger.

I have worked with many people in my time in the MNR that started in Ontario Rangers, and the MNR will not be the same without it. The MNR must reverse its decision to close the Ranger program. There are many better ways to save a few bucks than to get rid of a remarkable program like Ontario Rangers.

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with 2011, 2012, Esker Lakes, Supporter, Partner


Gwen Hochheimer - August 7th, 2013 at 8:33 PM
Please consider asking the tourist outfitters in Temagami to speak on behalf of the FORP, because they depend on MNR resources for their success.Also, please consider contacting Charlie Angus, MP for James Bay - Timmins, which is the federal riding that Kirkland Lake (therefor Esker Lakes) is in.He was an environmental and social activist before he became a politician.Megan Leslie, MP(NDP) in Halifax used to live in KL and worked at Esker Lakes. She's agreed to support. GH. Esker Lakes '80

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