Rejection Letter: Sheldon Birnie

From: National Parks of Canada
To: Kyle Lindy
Re: Assistant Park Ranger (seasonal)

Dear Mr. Lindy

Thank you again for your application for the seasonal assistant Park Ranger position. For this seasonal position, we received hundreds of applications from across Canada. Though your knowledge of the Lake Manawaka area and your enthusiasm for the natural world were apparent, we regret to inform you that in the end you were not our chosen candidate.

Your intended field of study (first year biology) and your years of prior work experience within the Park boundaries, albeit as a chef at the Pizza Place, were certainly an asset. While we would like to encourage you to apply again in the future for any seasonal position to which you may be qualified, I wanted to personally note that the hiring committee had a few … concerns regarding your interview.

Clearly, you have a genuine interest in the natural world, and the place of wolves within the parkland ecosystem in particular, which is important for anyone seeking employment within the National Park system (or should be, if you ask me). Although misunderstood for many years, and hunted to extirpation in the Parkland area in the early 20th century, the reintroduction of wolves to the Park decades ago has been a notable success. As you noted during our discussion, current research shows that they have proven to be a major stabilizing factor with regard to the elk and deer population, among others.

However, Mr. Lindy, when our conversation took a turn toward the decidedly unscientific realm of lycanthropy, I must admit that you lost the room and, as I hope you will understand, the job as well.

For nearly a century, Park Rangers and biologists have studied the wolf population within not only our Park boundaries, but those across the country as well. I can assure you that in those hundred years and more, not one has filed a report regarding the veracity, or even the suspected veracity, of werewolves. Not one. Not even in jest, Mr. Lindy, and Park Rangers are indeed a playful bunch (when appropriate).

Of course, as you made clear, the lack of any scientific evidence whatsoever has done little to diminish the considerable interest in the folklore on the subject. Nor do I deny the claims made by any number of untrained vacationers who fancy themselves naturalists or the odd hobby farmer operating outside of our jurisdiction to have witnessed some sort of half-man, half-wolven beast of the night. But the fact of the matter is that none of these claims have ever been substantiated. I repeat, not one.

Nor am I here to dismiss your own claims to have encountered something that you deem heretofore unbeknownst to the scientific community out back of a pizza restaurant last October. I’m sure, Mr. Lindy, that indeed you saw something in the shadows — a coyote, perhaps, or even a black bear. However, I can assure you that there is absolutely no evidence, scientific or otherwise, to support your theory that werewolves run wild within our Park boundaries, despite what your associate “Skeeter” or his uncles may have convinced you to the contrary.

Furthermore, and I cannot stress this enough, your repeated suggestions that Park Rangers “cautiously clawback” our long, successful history of conservation with regard to wolves were unsettling. Disturbing, even. Quite frankly, Mr. Lindy, the idea that the Park would invest in a “stockpile of silver bullets” would be laughable, were I not certain that you delivered the proposal in all sincerity. As I mentioned earlier, we consider our reintroduction of wolves to the Park a great success. We certainly are not about to undo that work at the suggestion, however passionate, of a would-be introductory biology student.

On behalf of the hiring committee, let me thank you once again for your application. We wish you all the best in your future endeavours, and hope that you may direct the passion towards lycanthropy which you displayed in your interview towards a more meaningful pursuit.


Mark Jacobs
Head Park Ranger
Lake Manawaka National Park


Sheldon Birnie is a writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada whose work has recently appeared in X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Cowboy Jamboree, Exoplanet, The Wicked Library, among others. He can be found lurking online @badguybirnie