Judi Wingard and Merv Wingard Interview, February 17, 2024


Mark Huftstetler; C. Kjell Petersen; Beth Hodder



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Merv and Judi Wingard share their experiences as lookouts at Numa Ridge and Apgar in Glacier National Park in 1968 and 1969. Judi reflects on her idyllic childhood in Washington, filled with nature and supportive neighbors. Merv shares his love for nature and mountain climbing, influenced by his family's logging background and experiences in the mountains. The couple discusses life in a remote wilderness lookout. A constant in their lives was Ron, a seasoned packer for both Numa Ridge and Apgar. He provided food and entertainment with his unique personality. Judi and Merv discuss painting the interior of the lookout with Forest Service green, red, gray, and white, adding a racing stripe on the ceiling and floor. They mention cleaning the cabins, doing cabinetry work, and building a new outhouse at Numa Ridge. They remember the training they received before going to Numa Ridge, including a week of training with married couples. They share details about how they communicated with each other during their time at Apgar Lookout, including using the fire cache as a hub for communication. They recount learning how to use a fire finder and build a fire trail. They remember aerial observers would drop mail and supplies at the lookout, using precision to land near the stairway. They discuss the challenges of living without refrigeration, with limited access to fresh vegetables. Merv and Judi discuss their experiences with grizzly bears and the death of ranger Karol Hagen in a flooded river. Other highlights they mention were working on a film set and building a platform for a helicopter. They said from their experiences as lookouts they learned contentment and enjoying moments beyond the lookout.


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Document Type

Oral History


Numa Ridge Lookout; Apgar Lookout; Karol Hagen

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century; Twenty-first century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Northwest Montana Lookout Association Oral History Project, OH 453, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 453-029

Media Type

Moving Image; Sound; Text

Original Format

video/mp4; application/pdf; text/plain

Digital Format

video/mp4; application/pdf; text/plain

Run Time

01:05:00 minutes

Local Filename

OH_453_029.mp4; OH_453_029.m4a; OH_453_029.pdf; OH_453_029.srt

Judi Wingard and Merv Wingard Interview, February 17, 2024