A Conservation Officer in the Columbia Valley will serve the last day of a 31 year career Wednesday.
Sergeant Lawrence Umsonst has been working for the Conservation Officer Service in the Columbia Valley since February 1986.
The CO spent nearly the entirety of his career working in the field and says the job has changed incredibly in that time.
“Officers from decades back have different experiences than the officers of today,” Umsonst says. “One thing that hasn’t changed is the great camaradarie. We are all willing to assist one another with getting the job done in order to protect the resource. Often the working relationships between officers continue well on afterwards, doing things outside of the work.”
He says there are countless memories that come from years of working with wildlife in the Kootenay-Columbia region, including two memorable incidents in 1995.
One of those incidents involved a stranded person stuck 50 kilometres up the Albert River squatting on the property. The other saw a grizzly bear kill two hunters in that same area.
Umsonst appreciates the connection the Columbia Valley has with wildlife and nature.
He adds he’s looking forward to enjoying the backcountry from a different perspective in his retirement.
– Sergeant Lawrence Umsonst, Conservation Officer Service
– Jeff Johnson