Working as a National Park Warden to protect Canada’s first National Urban Park

Working as a National Park Warden to protect Canada’s first National Urban Park

By Stacie Hancock

Stacie Hancock is a National Park Warden with Parks Canada in Toronto, ON. Parks Life asked her to share her experience working to protect Canada’s first National Urban Park: Rouge National Urban Park.

Working as a National Park Warden

I wanted to work for Parks Canada because I love the outdoors and nature as well as Law Enforcement. I knew that by accepting the park warden role, I would be able to put my skills to good use and work in an environment I would really enjoy. I am a very outgoing person, I love a challenge, I love to talk to people and learn from others, and I knew that I didn’t want to sit behind a desk for my whole career; I like working out in the field. Being able to help protect the park, and everything in it, is very rewarding and I learn something new every day. 

Not only do I get to work at the Rouge, but I get opportunities to travel and work at other parks and gain experience from other park wardens across the country.

From the Trails to the Courtroom

Park wardens are part of the Law Enforcement Branch of Parks Canada. At the Rouge, we are responsible for the protection of the park’s flora, fauna, agricultural lands, cultural resources, and ensuring quality visitor experience. We deal with incidents in the park such as fishing violations, illegal dumping, illegal harvesting, illegal hunting and poaching, etc. Our responsibilities vary by the park we work in, as each park is unique and has different needs or concerns. Generally, park wardens fulfil a natural and cultural resource enforcement role, with a secondary focus on the maintenance of public peace.

We enforce various provincial and federal statutes, educate the public and help to ensure that rules and regulations are adhered to. At the Rouge we conduct foot, bike, vehicle and ATV patrols to encourage responsible park-use and conduct inspections of day-use areas, trails, roadways, etc. We investigate incidents, issue charges if appropriate, and compel offenders to court if required. Further, we conduct community outreach, such as educational sessions with schools, virtual and in-person career fairs, and liaising with our local partners and agencies to maintain excellent working relationships.

A Real-World Chicken Run

A funny memory I have working for Parks Canada as a park warden is when I was working a day shift and came across four chickens loose on a side road. There were no chicken farms around, so I knew they were loose and needed to be caught. My supervisor came to assist and between the two of us, we managed to catch all four chickens and relocate them to a local farm. It was pouring rain, I was sweating buckets, slipping and sliding through trees, branches and bushes, and I fell down multiple times in the mud trying to catch the chickens. In the end, it was worth it. The chickens got a new life, and they were protected from predatory wildlife such as coyotes.

Doing What She Loves

Being the first female park warden at Canada’s first National Urban Park, I hope to inspire other women who would like to pursue a career in law enforcement, conservation, or a similar field to pursue their dreams and never give up. I love working at Parks Canada because every day is different. We work in different environmental conditions, we come across things we never have before, and we get to meet a lot of different people and share experiences.

I am very grateful to be a part of the Parks Canada family and I am very happy I chose this career as I feel it suits my interests and skills very well. It truly is a dream job, and I’m thankful every day that I get to do what I enjoy.


National park wardens are committed to responding effectively to incidents in Parks Canada administered places. These wardens have been proudly protecting Canada’s national parks for well over 100 years.

Park wardens play a key role in supporting the Parks Canada mandate by providing law enforcement services focused on the protection of natural and cultural resources, public education and ensuring quality visitor experiences. They are responsible for enforcing all legislation related to Parks Canada’s full mandate on all lands and waters it administers.





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