After two and a half years’ service across Grand Forks, Christina Lake and the West Boundary, game warden Mark Walkosky is moving on to this next post.
In his last interview with The Gazette, Walkosky said he applied for a transfer to the Conservation Office in Williams Lake, B.C. It was an opportunity to round out his field experience he said, adding that, at 28, he’s still young enough to move around the province.
He went on to call his move a “bittersweet” moment both in his career and his personal life. He’d started with the Conservation Officers Service (COS) in November 2018, when he joined his good friend and fellow game warden Kyle Bueckert at the service’s Grand Forks office.
The duo met at the COS academy in Hinton, Alta, where Walkosky said they formed a close bond over six months of training. Walkosky and his wife then came to Christina Lake, Bueckert and his family to Grand Forks. The two played baseball and hockey together and even managed to get in some hunting and fishing, despite their busy schedules.
“I always knew Mark had my back,” Bueckert told The Gazette Thursday, July 29, adding, “I couldn’t have asked for a better co-worker.”
Walkosky and Bueckert had been the first team on their beat. “Before us, it was a one-person show,” Walkosky said. Between them, Walkosky said he was glad to have forged strong working relationships with people from Christina Lake to Greenwood and Midway and beyond.
“What makes Mark a great CO (Conservation Officer) is that he knows what’s a serious offence and what’s not,” Bueckert explained. His easy-going demeanor reflects a lifetime spent hunting and fishing in the bush, he said.
Walkosky, 28, grew up in Nanaimo, B.C., where he graduated from Vancouver Island University with a Bachelor’s Degree in natural resource management and protection. He’s worked around 400 files in the Grand Forks and West Boundary areas since November 2018, around 100 of them with Bueckert.
Walkosky started at his new posting Tuesday, Aug. 3. Bueckert said he looks forward to working with Walksoksy’s replacement at their Grand Forks office.