Terrace’s new conservation officer knew he wanted to work in the field since he was a teenager, when he was approached by one himself in B.C.
“I was fishing and he came and checked my license, made sure I was all good. I thought that was the coolest job in the world,” says 24-year old Michael Geuze.
Geuze earned his conservation enforcement degree at Lethbridge College and worked two seasons as a park ranger in Alberta. He also worked in private wildlife conservation management before applying to the BC Conservation Service.
“I just wanted to make a difference and do a job that I love,” Geuze says. “I like using the resource and I want to protect it for future generations.”
Geuze was sworn in to the position last spring with 16 other new recruits, and then moved on to complete his training at the Western Conservation Law Enforcement Academy in Hinton, Alta.
After graduating, Geuze arrived in Terrace in July but officially began the full-time position on Nov. 1. The detachment covers Terrace, Kitimat, Prince Rupert, up to the Meziadin and Kitwanga.
Geuze will spend the next year training with a field officer to get accustomed to the communities, backcountry and countless miles of roads and trails.
The position at the Terrace office has been left vacant since 2017. Now fully-staffed, the team of four conservation officers can be more proactive, Geuze says.
“It’s another person that can respond to calls so they’re not so backlogged,” he says, adding that there’s more opportunity for officers to work in the field.
Increased cases of illegal dumping in the Terrace area, along with enforcing moose and wildlife hunting regulations regionally, are some of the areas officers are focussing on now, he says.
In his free time, Geuze is an avid steelhead and salmon fisherman, hunter and outdoorsman. He says he had always planned personal trips up to Terrace before getting the job.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better posting,” he says.