“I was chased by a moose once – it was rutting season.”
That’s all in a day’s work for Herb Janzen who says he loves the solitude of being in the backcountry alone with nature and wildlife.
Retired and turning 65 this year Herb is a BC Parks volunteer and a member of the Kootenay Backcountry Horsemen. A group he helped establish in 1985.
Herb and his fellow horsemen have spent a great many hours riding and cutting out historical trails in Kootenay provincial parks such as the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy, Top of the World and Height of the Rockies.
The Horsemen have a stewardship agreement with BC Parks. They take out wind falls and blow downs off the main trails. Two or three of them travel into the parks together for a week or two at a time packing in all their food and equipment on horses, or in Herb’s case, mules.
“I have three mules – one to carry the saw, fuel and the feed for the mules, one to carry my tent and food, and one to ride. We enjoy it, that’s why we do it.”
Herb says he probably knows the Kootenay parks as well as anyone because he’s “played” in them for 30 years. He wants to share his knowledge and he’s excited about BC Parks’ new volunteer program noting that it’s important to rely on volunteers who know and play in the parks around them.
“We’re very fortunate in the Kootenays that we have these parks, especially the Purcell Wilderness. It’s very remote. You’re dealing with nature and it’s wonderful.”
Over the years he hasn’t had a mishap but with no ability to contact anyone when he’s doing volunteer work in the backcountry, two years ago he bought a “SPOT,” a satellite GPS messenger that allows him to dial 911.
His wife sleeps better knowing that he has this lifeline.
Links to Provincial Parks: