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North Bay conservation officer named top in Ontario for 2023

A North Bay conservation officer has been recognized as Ontario’s conservation officer of the year.

Gearing up for a trip up north for a wildfire inspection, Staff Sgt. Tim Caddel pulls up in a Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry pickup truck to the fire management office.

A conservation officer for more than 20 years, Caddel said he is living out his dream.

"Back in the day my great uncle, or my grandpa's brother, was the chief ranger out of Espanola,” he said.

“He used to talk about what he used to do."

Growing up in the bush and on a lake, Caddel said he loves all things outdoors, including hunting, fishing, trapping, camping and snowmobiling.

His passion for the outdoors led him to become a summer student with the MNRF, keeping his eye on the prize: the conservation officer badge.

"I live and breathe this type of stuff,” Caddel said.

“I started out in the fire program back in the early ‘80s. It's still deep in my heart and also the enforcement."

Then, on a fateful day in 2002, Caddel’s hard work paid off when he was awarded that badge. Caddel was recently named Ontario’s conservation officer of the year.

He has led several complex investigations to a successful conclusion, including a recent conviction for an endangered species offence that resulted in $200,000 in fines.

Caddel’s research, consultation, monitoring and enforcement were instrumental in establishing the 2016 Lake Nipissing commercial fishing memorandum of understanding with the Nipissing First Nation to protect declining walleye population in the lake.

"My hat and thanks goes out to those folks, too,” he said. “Working with them was a real blessing."

When selecting the conservation officer of the year, the ministry looks at the whole person, not just the duties officers routinely carry out. Recipients must be those whose “character is beyond reproach.”

More than 50 letters of support were gathered as part of his nomination.

"He's a very compassionate manager,” said MNRF northeast regional enforcement operations manager Roch Delorme.

“He cares about his staff. He's very knowledgeable and does a very good job with the work he's doing.”

Delorme has known Caddel for more than 20 years and worked with him when he was a deputy conservation officer, as a conservation officer, as a district investigator and as a peer manager.

Caddel offers his time, both on and off the job, as a prison Bible leader, a judo instructor and a volunteer firefighter. He is the first to jump in to help with such things as the MNRF Christmas food drive, family fishing days, talks to school and youth groups and representing the ministry at Remembrance Day ceremonies.

“He’s involved in all kinds of different operations,” said Delorme.

“He manages 10 officers and has played a big, big role in their development.”

While Caddel is humbled by the recognition, he credits his family and the team of conservation officers, firefighters and pilots currently assisting in the wildfire situation for the support.

"They're second to none. Hats off to those guys," he said. Top Stories

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