The Meewasin Valley Authority has established an endowment fund in Wes Bolstad’s name to recognize his many contributions not only to the Meewasin Valley but to the people of Saskatchewan. It was Wes’ love of nature and administrative experience that led Leo Kristjanson, a Meewasin board member, to phone him in 1979 and ask if he would “help get Meewasin going.”
Wes saw Meewasin through its formative years, setting it on a path to become a world-renowned conservation agency. Wes was the executive director when Meewasin began work on the Meewasin Trail and helped to ensure that it was built keeping the ecology of the area in mind. He also oversaw the development of interpretive centres at Meewasin and at Beaver Creek Conservation Area. Wes was indefatigable in his support of Wanuskewin and ensured that Meewasin completed all the preliminary research that enabled the fundraising. Wes was executive director when Meewasin built Meewasin, Gabriel Dumont and Victoria Parks. Wes presided over the beginnings of Meewasin’s fundraising programs with the able assistance of then board chair Peggy McKercher.
Wes was a mentor to all at Meewasin, especially about policy governance. He set up policy governance at Meewasin before the term became trendy. He was an exceptionally clear and concise writer, something not always common in public servants. And he believed strongly in an independent and professional public service to execute policy on behalf of elected officials.
Even after he retired in 1988, he kept Meewasin and its values close to his heart. He volunteered for the Friendship Inn and worked with SIAST in both a board and a temporary administrative position. Wes embodied and demonstrated the ethic of public service; he tried to ensure that Meewasin was responsive to the community and accessible to everyone.
Wes was predeceased by his wife, Pauline. He is survived by daughter Jane Bolstad of Calgary, sons Bill and John, both of Regina, and Jim of Saskatoon. He spent his early years in Moose Jaw before earning an undergraduate degree at the University of Saskatchewan. He joined the Saskatchewan civil service in the mid 1950s as a budget analyst where he was quickly recognized for his ability. He earned a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard before returning to government work in Regina. Wes taught public administration to university students in both Saskatoon and Regina and became a founding director and eventually Dean of the School of Administration at what would become the University of Regina. Later he returned to government as cabinet secretary and deputy to the premier.
The Wes Bolstad endowment grew from the support of his many friends and colleagues. The proceeds will support work in the Meewasin Valley, and particularly the Meewasin Trail, in perpetuity.