October 16th was one of the most memorable days of district fish and wildlife officer Shane Ramstead’s career.
He was invited to attend the Grande Cache Tourism and Interpretive Centre’s 20th anniversary commemoration event, but little did he know he would be receiving honours from the Town of Grande Cache and the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. With 60 people in attendance, the mayor of Grande Cache as well as the director of the centre presented district officer Ramstead and several others with certificates of appreciation.
Back in the early 90’s, as a member of the founding committee, he worked hard for three years to bring the centre to life. Specifically, his role involved putting together all of the centre’s wildlife and fishery displays and educational components about the province’s natural resources.
“It was lot of work, but as you can see, this centre is still a gem and something to be proud of,” said district officer Ramstead.
The displays help visitors learn how to avoid encounters with dangerous wildlife. They also inform people about which species in the area are most vulnerable and the laws that protect them. For example, there are displays about cougar awareness and how to be BearSmart as well as one about Alberta’s official fish, the bull trout, which is classified as a sensitive species needing special management. Visitors to the centre can also find information on the history of the region and its reliance on the fur trade. District officer Ramstead and staff at the local fish and wildlife district office continue to provide the centre with guides to hunting and fishing regulations and any other literature they can.
Thousands of tourists go through the centre every year, and visitors from as far as eastern Europe have left enthusiastic comments and compliments. In fact, staff at the centre are liable to tell you that even the nearby national parks are impressed by (if not slightly envious of) the centre.
“I am really appreciative of this recognition. I am proud of this initiative, and I am truly happy if my efforts helped make a difference,” said district officer Ramstead.
In 2014, district officer Ramstead also received a prestigious award from the Aseniwuche Winewak First Nation, which you can read about here.