Bazil Leonard
Bazil LeonardPresident & Founder
Bazil has been a guide since 1959. He got his start in Nordegg, Alberta, but moved to Grande Cache ten years later and has resided there ever since. In 1970 Bazil purchased an outfit from Ed Favero, a Nordegg outfitter and moved the operation to Grande Cache. He has been guiding and outfitting in Willmore Wilderness Park ever since. Bazil has extensive knowledge of this incredible mountain park. Bazil also holds a Registered Fur Management Area in Willmore Wilderness Park.

Bazil was the recipient of the 2015 Order of the Bighorn. Members of the Order of the Bighorn have distinguished themselves and enriched the lives of all Albertans through their commitment to the environment and Alberta’s world-renowned fish and wildlife. Bazil is also a recipient of the President’s Award for the Alberta Professional Outfitters Society.

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Willmore Wilderness Preservation & Historical Foundation is a non-profit society registered under the Alberta Societies Act in 2002. The Foundation became a Registered Charitable Organization in 2003.

The Willmore Wilderness Board of Directors is committed to preserve the history of the area; focus on the advancement of education of the park; restore historical packtrails and sites; and enhance the use of Willmore Wilderness Park for Albertans and visitors alike.
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Meet the Board of Directors

Herb Schmidt
Herb SchmidtVice President
Herb Schmidt has been travelling in Willmore Wilderness Park since 1983. He has been a cook, guide and wrangler. He has worked for Bazil Leonard of High Country Vacations and Gord Utri of Lone Pine Outfitting. He has travelled extensively throughout the USA promoting summer trail riding and hunting trips in Willmore Wilderness Park.

Herb has previously been on the Board as a Director. He is now Vice-President of the Willmore Wilderness Foundation.

Shawnna Nichols
Shawnna NicholsSecretary Treasurer
Shawnna and her family have experienced horseback packtrips in Willmore Wilderness Park. She has a love of the mountains and horses and is anxious to support the Foundation’s initiatives.

Shawnna currently resides in St. Albert with her two sons. She works full time as a Marketing Manager at a prominent business in St. Albert. Alberta. Shawnna is keenly interested in the historical research that the Willmore Wilderness Foundation is doing and has offered to support this initiative

Mark Wood
Mark WoodDirector
Mark Wood moved to Grande Cache in 1975. His first trip into the Willmore Wilderness Park was to the Muddy Water in 1978. He has hiked and ridden extensively, and is an avid sheep hunter.

Mark moved to Grande Prairie in 2014 with his family, and works for ConocoPhillips. Mark, his wife and children live on an acreage, and own several horses. He often returns to Grande Cache and enjoys his adventures and travels in Willmore Wilderness Park.

Mark is a valuable addition to the Board of Directors of the Willmore Wilderness Foundation.

Gord Leonard
Gord Leonard Director
Gord Leonard is a long-time resident and businessman of Grande Cache. He brings a strong business background to the Board of Directors. Gord owns and operates his own welding company.

Gord owns horses, which he keeps at the Rocky Mountain Riding Stables. He has travelled for many years on summer trail rides and hunting trips with his string of horses in Willmore Wilderness Park.

Gord is looking forward to another year as a member of the Willmore Wilderness Foundation Board of Directors.

Tom Thackeray
Tom ThackerayDirector
Tom Thackeray is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Arts and Heritage, St Albert, a non-profit society and registered charity. He brings a lot of experience to the Foundation. Tom was also the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of Culture, Community, and Voluntary Services.

Tom and his wife Kathy love Willmore Wilderness Park and have been on a packhorse trip, and have experienced the history, traditions and culture of the region.