Alberta parks ranger behind 'bear rub' video retires after 36 years in the woods

The Alberta Parks conservationist and ranger who produced the viral video of grizzlies scratching their backs on trees in Kananaskis Country, has retired.

Longtime conservationist Glenn Naylor says goodbye to his wild career

Even after more than 30 years working in Kananaskis Country, Glenn Naylor still feels it's a place where people can see 'the wild.' (Pam Doyle)

The Alberta Parks conservationist and ranger who produced the viral video of grizzlies scratching their backs on trees in Kananaskis Country, has retired.

During his 36 years in the woods, Glenn Naylor had many encounters with wild animals.

There were bears, cougars, elk, moose, big horn sheep — and one seriously aggressive owl.

"All of a sudden it felt like someone hit me on the back of the head with a baseball bat," he said.

I guess a park ranger being attacked by an owl was a novel thing.- Glen Naylor

The year was 1986, and Naylor was out cross-country skiing one evening after work, in the dark, on Pocaterra Trail in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.

"There was blood streaming down my face," he said.

Luckily, the bird of prey only left him with a few minor scratches.

But what Naylor found when he returned to the scene of the crime the next day — still haunts him.

"My hat was underneath a big spruce tree with all these big owl prints all around it, and the owl had been picking my hat to pieces."

Glenn Naylor captured this photo of a cougar by hiding a camera in Bow Valley Provincial Park. (Glenn Taylor)

The story made news headlines around the globe.

"They were making fun of me on CBC, on the news, on the weather on all the different stations," said Naylor.

"I guess a park ranger being attacked by an owl was a novel thing."

Over the years, Naylor figures he spent thousands of hours by himself in the backcountry.

"I used to ski race, so I kept track of how many kilometres I skied. One winter I skied 1,500 kilometres!"

Naylor says although Kananaskis has developed a lot over the years, it's a place Albertans should not take for granted.

"It's definitely a place you can still come and see the wild. It's not changed."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.