Blake Parker has always viewed his father as a hero.
Growing up in the north eastern city of Fort St. John, Parker would sometimes tag along with the B.C. conservation officer to investigate wildlife complaints, getting a first-hand look at what his father did for a living.
That experience, combined with a love of the outdoors, fuelled Parker’s interest to someday pursue a career as a conservation officer too.
Now, the 37 year old is following in his father’s footsteps and has returned to his hometown to work as an acting sergeant responsible for the B.C. Conservation Officer Service’s (COS) North Peace zone. He has also been named the 2018 conservation officer of the year, a recognition that makes his family proud.
“My dad is quite proud of me. I still look up to him,” Parker said. “People in Fort St. John know my name because of my dad and they know me from growing up there, so having pre-established relationships has been helpful. A lot of our work comes from people sharing information with us.”
Parker started his career with the B.C. COS in 2007. The first four months in the field were spent in Smithers getting a feel for the job before he moved further north to a one-man office in Dease Lake, where he worked for the next three-and-a half years.
Surrounded by wilderness, Dease Lake is a posting Parker describes as awesome for a new conservation officer to gain experience. Much of his time was spent conducting trapline patrols, angler patrols, helping RCMP with search and rescue operations, and wildlife enforcement during hunting season.
In 2011, Parker moved to Dawson Creek where he still spends many hours patrolling the wilderness, checking to make sure outdoor enthusiasts are complying with the law. One of the highlights of his career has been training the jet-boat operations and firearms team.
“It’s rewarding seeing other people grow and develop, making them safer and giving them more skills that can help them be more effective in the field,” Parker said. “I really enjoy field work and getting outside to do patrols. I hope to continue on this path and just stay positive, have fun and provide some guidance for other conservation officers to follow.”
Parker is the 27th recipient of the Outstanding Officer of the Year Award. Since 1992, the designation has been awarded annually to a conservation officer for going above and beyond the call of duty and exemplifying the values of the Conservation Officer Service: integrity, public service and protection of the environment.
George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –
“My thanks and congratulations to Blake on this well-deserved recognition of his outstanding dedication and work in the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. Conservation officers have a very difficult and very critical job. They are on the front lines every day responding to human-wildlife conflicts, conducting investigations and enforcing a number of provincial laws. They are also integrally connected to their community, delivering outreach services and public education. The work of Blake and other conservation officers is vital to communities throughout B.C.”
Doug Forsdick, chief conservation officer, B.C. Conservation Officer Service –
“Blake Parker is an accomplished officer in all aspects of the job. A leading firearms trainer with extensive backcountry experience, he is always courteous and fair in everything he does. Blake is always ready to share his experiences to help teach and mentor new, young officers. Practical and dependable, Blake can always be counted on to make the right decisions in the field. With a work ethic that is unparalleled, Blake exemplifies everything a model conservation officer should be and is absolutely deserving of this recognition.”
To learn more about the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/natural-resource-law-enforcement/conservation-officer-service